Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s (D., Mich.) sister is leading an effort to pull primary voters away from President Joe Biden in protest over his support for Israel’s war in Gaza.
Layla Elabed is the campaign manager of Listen to Michigan, which is encouraging Michiganders to vote “uncommitted” in the state’s Democratic primary later this month, according to the New York Times.
“If we can demonstrate our political power and discontent through as many uncommitted votes as possible in the Michigan Democratic primaries, then the hope is that Biden would feel more at risk of losing Michigan in the general election,” Elabed told the Times. She hopes to encourage the president to “shift his policy to support a ceasefire, at least,” or put restrictions on aid to the Jewish state.
Elabed said her effort could be a “powerful force.”
“Michigan voters are sending Biden a clear message in the February 27 Democratic primary that he can count us out,” the group’s website reads. “We are filling out the uncommitted bubble because we strongly reject Biden’s funding war and genocide in Gaza.”
Elabed is one of several Arab-American community leaders who have soured on Biden over his support for Israel. Dearborn mayor Abdullah Hammoud (D.) declined a meeting with Biden’s national campaign manager late last month due to the war in Gaza.
“Our immediate demand is crystal clear: the Biden administration must call for a permanent ceasefire to a genocide it is defending and funding with our tax dollars,” Hammoud said on X. “Dearborn residents have tirelessly protested and organized in demand of a ceasefire. As their mayor, I follow their lead. … I will not entertain conversations about elections while we watch a live-streamed genocide backed by our government.”
Dearborn is home to a number of Arab and Muslim Americans, a constituency that could influence the fate of Michigan’s 15 electoral votes in November’s general election. National support for Biden among Arab-Americans, which stood at 59 percent in 2020, has fallen precipitously, according to a late October poll.
Hammoud’s decision to decline the meeting came after the State Department tapped him to be a part of its Assembly of Local Leaders program, as the Washington Free Beacon reported. He has previously called Israel an “apartheid system.”