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OPINION: Abandon Biden Movement Peels off Progressive, Young, Minority Voters in Key States

By Manzanita Miller

Date:

The Abandon Biden movement — a movement largely started by Arab activists in Michigan unhappy with President Joe Biden’s stance on Israel — has rapidly spread to other states and is a warning sign of the fragmentation that Democrats are experiencing.

In the Michigan primary [in late February], Democrats cast more than 101,000 votes labeled “uncommitted” — which accounts for more than 13 percent of the vote — in a vehement protest-vote against Biden’s stance on Israel. The protest vote, combined with the shares of the vote Democratic challengers Marianne Williamson and Rep. Dean Phillips secured resulted in [about 145,000] votes cast against Biden, and the president winning the primary [with more than] 200,000 fewer votes than he [received] in 2020.

The Abandon Biden movement has accelerated since Michigan’s primary and is becoming a larger tent for anti-Biden Democrats who are advocating abandoning Biden in the primaries and perhaps even in the general election.  

In the contentious Minnesota primary on March 6, [almost 46,000] votes, or nearly 19 percent of the vote in the Democratic party went to the “uncommitted” category, an even larger share than in Michigan.

North Carolina and Massachusetts, which also held primaries on Super Tuesday, showed a similar appetite for rejecting Biden at the ballot box. In North Carolina, 12 percent of voters selected “no preference”, and in Massachusetts over 9 percent of Democratic primary voters chose “uncommitted” on Super Tuesday.

While the movement is largely driven by Muslim activists critical of Biden’s stance on Israel, the movement is drawing support from other minority groups, younger voters, and progressive Democrats.

The movement is the latest in a series of blows to Biden, who is already facing tough reelection prospects, sagging approval ratings, and struggling with key coalitions of his 2020 base including women, minorities, and younger people.

The latest USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll finds Former President Trump beating Joe Biden 40 percent to 38 percent, and Biden with a current disapproval rating of 55 percent.

The anti-Biden sentiment brewing in contentious battleground states like Michigan and Minnesota could make Biden even more vulnerable in November. A growing share of disenchanted Democrats plan to vote third party or even flip their votes to Trump in the general election, according to some polls.

One poll by the Council on American Islamic Relations conducted after the Michigan primary found more Muslim voters would choose Trump (13 percent) over Biden (8 percent) if the general election were held that day. The majority wanted a third option.

The movement largely began as a foreign-policy protest vote focused on the Democratic primaries, but it’s worth considering whether a fraction of the movement will refuse to support Biden in the general election as well.

While foreign policy is at the core of the Abandon Biden movement, President Biden has not been polling particularly well among Democratic primary voters for months now, and the Abandon Biden movement appears to give Democrats an “out” from lending him their support.

How this movement will impact the general election in states with large Muslim populations, as well as active populations of younger voters and progressives, is yet to be seen. The Abandon Biden movement could peel off a significant share of Democrats that the president cannot afford to lose in battleground states.        


Manzanita Miller is an associate analyst at Americans for Limited Government Foundation, the research arm of Americans for Limited Government, a libertarian political advocacy group. The organization conducts policy research and publishes reports with the goal of reducing the size of the government.

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