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Biden & Trump Triumph In Michigan Primaries But Major Weaknesses For Both Are Exposed

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump both easily claimed victory in their respective parties’ Michigan primaries on Tuesday. Each candidate has now dominated in the early voting portion of the election cycle and have their sights set on Super Tuesday on March 5, when 15 states will hold primaries, and beyond, to the general election, as neither has had any real competition in their quest for their parties nomination.

Trump defeated Nikki Haley easily, as he has done in the four previous primaries, but Haley’s continued ability to draw substantial percentages of the vote raises questions about Trump’s viability as a candidate in the general election when his base will command less voting power than in the primaries. Despite her loss in Michigan, where Haley was not able to match her vote shares from New Hampshire and South Carolina, she insists she’ll stay in the race until Super Tuesday.

Biden dominated in Michigan, a state he turned blue in 2020, but not without a clear message from Democrats about his standing on the Israel-Palestine conflict. Over 100,000 voters turned out to vote “uncommitted” on Tuesday in an act of voter protest organized by the group Listen to Michigan.

The group says on its website, “We are filling out the ‘uncommitted bubble’ because we strongly reject Biden funding war and genocide in Gaza.” Their goal was to get 10,000 votes for uncommitted, the margin Trump won Michigan by in 2016. They surpassed that by 10 times and as a result, will send two delegates from Michigan to the Democratic National Convention representing uncommitted. Michigan holds one of the largest Arab populations in the country.

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Neither Biden nor Vice President Kamala Harris mentioned the conflict in the Middle East during their statements on the Michigan victory. However, a Biden campaign official said on Wednesday that the results of the primary showed “Biden’s core group of supporters are still behind him.”

Both candidates have made it clear that Michigan, one of the last true swing states, is important, even critical to their campaigns for the presidency. Trump won the state in 2016 by just .23%, and Biden won in 2020 by just under 3%.

Michigan Democratic officials have promised to do more to win over voters after Tuesday night. Biden Michigan campaign manager Mike Frosolone said efforts would pivot to the general election, with door knocking, phone banking and opening several offices in the state.

In remarks to the Michigan Republican Party Tuesday night, Trump said, “We win Michigan; we win the whole thing.”

Clark Franzman

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