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Rep. Rashida Tlaib urges Michigan Democrats to vote against Biden in the primary

The Michigan congresswoman urged voters to “vote uncommitted” while she stood outside an early voting site in a video posted to X on Saturday.
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Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., is urging Democrats in Dearborn, Michigan, to vote against President Joe Biden in the state's upcoming Democratic primary.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, center, greets activists supporting Palestine in Rayburn Building to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, on Thursday, February 15, 2024.Tom Williams / AP

“If you want us to be louder, then come here and vote uncommitted,” Tlaib said in a new video posted to social media on Saturday while standing outside an early voting location.

She joined growing calls from progressive activists in Michigan to vote “uncommitted” in the state's Democratic presidential primary on Feb. 27 instead of voting for Biden.

The video of Tlaib was posted to the X account of “Listen to Michigan,” a group urging voters to vote uncommitted in the primary.

Tlaib, who is Palestinian American, cited her dissatisfaction with the Biden administration's role in the war between Israel and Hamas as her reason for urging people to vote.

“It is also important to create a voting bloc, something that is a bullhorn, to say, ‘Enough is enough. We don't want a country that supports wars and bombs and destruction. We want to support life. We want to support life. We want to stand up for every single life killed in Gaza,’” Tlaib said.

She added, “This is the way you can raise our voices. Don't make us even more invisible. Right now, we feel completely neglected and just unseen by our government.”

Tlaib has been critical of the Biden administration's role in the war since it began and has repeatedly called for a cease-fire in Gaza.

At a press conference in December, Tlaib directed remarks to Biden, saying, “I say this over and over again because I hope you hear me. You might — you must listen to the voices of the majority of Americans and the majority of Democrats, who worked their butt off to get you elected. You have to represent all of us, Mr. President. Not just some. Call for a cease-fire now.”

In November, one month after Hamas attacked Israel, Tlaib was censured on the House floor for certain remarks she made about the war, including her use of the phrase “from the river to the sea,” which has been used by Hamas and has been condemned by Jewish groups as an antisemitic call for the elimination of Israel.

Biden won Michigan in the 2020 presidential election by just 3 percentage points, and the state will likely again be crucial for his potential path to victory in November.

Asked about Tlaib's message urging voters to vote uncommitted in the Democratic primary, Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lavora Barnes reiterated support for Biden.

“President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were elected because they promised to deliver for Michigan’s families, workers, and communities — and they kept their promises,” she told NBC News.

Since the war in Gaza began, though, Biden has been criticized by Muslim and Arab American leaders in Michigan, which has a large Arab American population, particularly in the city of Dearborn.

Earlier this month, White House officials visited the state to meet with Muslim and Arab American leaders. Biden himself also visited the state earlier in February, but the purpose of his trip was to meet with autoworkers on the heels of an endorsement from the United Auto Workers union.

On Wednesday, Our Revolution, a progressive political organization founded by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., also urged Michigan Democrats to vote “uncommitted” in the primary. (Sanders has distanced himself from the group’s position, saying he supports Biden’s re-election bid.)

The group did make clear, though, that while it's pushing its members to vote against Biden now, it will back him again in November.

“Our Rev supporters can push Biden to change course on Gaza now and increase his chances of winning Michigan in November — because we MUST defeat the right wing Trump agenda!” an email to supporters from Our Revolution said.