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Swing State Voters Put Joe Biden on Notice

1 week ago 26

President Joe Biden continues to face a Gaza problem among tens of thousands of progressive voters who declined to support him during Tuesday's Democratic primary in the swing state of Wisconsin.

Biden won 88.6 percent (510,477 votes) of the vote in Wisconsin, according to the Associated Press, garnering 79 of the state's 82 delegates in the process. However, there were 48,091 votes cast for "uninstructed" (equivalent to "uncommitted" votes in states like Michigan), accounting for 8.3 percent of all Democratic voters.

The Biden administration has faced fury from the left for its foreign policy decisions regarding the ongoing war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, which began after the militant organization conducted the deadliest terrorist attack ever on Israeli soil on October 7. It has spurred a conflict that as of Wednesday has led to the reported deaths of 32,975 people in Gaza, many women and children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry as reported by the Associated Press.

Wisconsin Primary
A resident casts a ballot in the primary election on April 2 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. More than 48,000 Democratic Party primary voters cast "uninstructed" ballots against President Joe Biden over their opposition to helping... Scott Olson/Getty Images

Although Biden surpassed the required Democratic nomination threshold of 1,968 delegates on March 12, the Gaza issue is not going away and protesters are making it known—even during the president's $26 million fundraiser at New York City's Radio City Music Hall last Thursday that included Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

"Despite President Biden's slim margin of victory in 2020, his recent policy decisions, including the approval of weapon sales to Israel, have not aligned with his stated commitments, causing concern among our voters," Joseph Geevarghese, executive director of the national progressive organization Our Revolution, said after the primary. "Our supporters are ready to protest and hold the administration accountable unless significant policy changes are enacted.

"This discrepancy between words and actions must be addressed to win back the coalition needed in Wisconsin and other key swing states. If not, President Biden can expect to see demonstrators at his events, underscoring the urgency for policies that genuinely reflect the administration's rhetoric and meet the expectations of our progressive voter base."

Newsweek reached out to the Biden campaign via email for comment.

Geevarghese told Newsweek via phone on Wednesday that his organization, which is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and built in the mold of independent Senator Bernie Sanders and his 2016 campaign, has more than 8 million members and continues to express how Gaza remains "a major liability" for the Biden administration heading to November.

More than 45,000 prospective voters were contacted by Our Revolution via phone, text and email prior to Tuesday's election in Wisconsin.

"What's significant about the vote result in Wisconsin is that it greatly exceeds the margin by which Biden defeated [Donald] Trump in 2020," Geevarghese said. "That margin was about 20,000 votes.

"This pretty much presents a warning sign to the Biden reelection team, which is that a closely contested state like [Wisconsin]—where it's going to come down to where every single vote will matter—you've got a significant amount of progressive voters voicing their discontent of the president's foreign policy."

Our Revolution became involved in the "uncommitted" movement prior to the Michigan primary in which Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib conducted cold calls to voters, urging them not to cast ballots for Biden based on the ongoing turmoil in Gaza.

The group has conducted similar outreach in states like Minnesota and Washington.

Prior to the October 7 attacks in Israel, Geevarghese said his members' predominant main political issues were universal health care, climate action and the economy.

"Within a month after October 7, after we saw the Israeli response and the fact that it was a disproportionate response and continues to be to the original terrorist attack, this issue has risen to be the No. 1 issue that matters to progressives," he said.

"You're seeing that manifested not just through protests on the street, but now through this very powerful protest movement that is reverberating across the country."

The administration needs to "stop sending billions in bombs, jets" to the Israeli government, he added, and find more cogent solutions to domestic priorities. There is also a sense of "hypocrisy" based on rhetoric espoused by the administration that differs with continued foreign aid.

He is heading to Maryland to push the same messaging, which he and Our Revolution members expect to continue to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago this summer if the war in Gaza continues without a ceasefire.

"We will see protests and disruptions in Chicago," Geevarghese said. "That's gonna be a political problem for the president. The optics won't look good if he cannot unify his base."

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Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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