DETROIT — President Joe Biden will visit Michigan on Thursday to celebrate recent support from the United Auto Workers Union, but his time in the critical battleground state with the nation’s largest concentration of Arab Americans will be overshadowed by growing anger over U.S. support for Israel is in danger of remaining. The war in Gaza.
Biden’s meeting with UAW workers in the Detroit area will come just days after union President Shawn Fain announced his support for the group. Ahead of the president’s visit, Fain highlighted Biden’s ties to the working class, saying: “The UAW knows where we stand and who is on our side – Joe Biden.”
But the Democratic president’s Michigan schedule does not include any meetings with Arab Americans; This adds to growing frustration in the key voting bloc for its all-out support for Israel in its war with Hamas.
“Why not have a meaningful conversation about how to change course with a community of first-hand accounts of what it is like to live in countries where your decision-making has improved?” Abdullah Hammoud, mayor of Dearborn, one of the largest Arab American communities in the country, said:
Michigan has become increasingly Democratic in recent years, with the party controlling all levels of state government for the first time in four decades. Biden is trying to further leverage that power as he seeks re-election and the state’s critical 15 electoral votes.
His visit to Michigan comes ahead of the state’s Feb. 27 primary election. The president faces no serious challenge in the primary, but his campaign is trying to gather energy for a much tougher fight in the fall. Michigan was part of the so-called blue wall of three states, along with Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, that Biden returned to the Democratic branch when he won the White House in 2020.
There are now concerns within the party about rising tensions between Biden and Arab Americans in the state; although Biden has sought to capitalize on his support among union members.
The UAW’s early support was a clear victory for Biden, who came to Michigan last year to stand with striking auto workers. His latest meeting with union members came on the heels of Donald Trump’s visit to Washington on Wednesday with the Teamsters, another of the United States’ most influential unions.
Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., a longtime Biden ally, said Democrats need to take care of multiple Michigan districts to hold on to the state in 2024.
“Michigan is a purple state. “I tell this to everyone,” he said. “Obviously the Arab American community is important. But young people need to come forward. They were very decisive in voter turnout two years ago. Most union leaders supported the president, but we need to get into union halls and do the dissent so people really understand what this is about. We must also ensure the participation of women and independents. “You know, we are a competitive state.”
Biden campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez led a group of campaign advisers to the Dearborn area last week as part of her ongoing efforts to meet with core groups of supporters across the country. He met with some community leaders, but the trip ended abruptly when Arab American leaders refused to come to the meeting with him.
Hammoud was one of the leaders who refused to visit Chavez Rodríguez, calling it “inhumane” to focus on the upcoming elections while people in his community were losing family members in the war in Gaza. Hammoud said the community was interested in meeting “decision makers” and that it “should have nothing to do with what happened this November.”
Ahead of Biden’s visit, demonstrators held a community rally in Dearborn on Wednesday night to protest the administration’s policies supporting Israel. More than 26,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have been killed in Gaza since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7.He is applying to the Ministry of Health in the region under Hamas rule.
“People in Middle Eastern society are not confused. “They are very clear about how Palestine is handled versus Israel,” said Sherry Gay-Dagnogo, a former Democratic state representative from Detroit. “Just coming and visiting them without changing your location will not move them. African Americans are not confused either. So you can’t just visit. A visit is not enough,” she said.
Biden and his aides said they did not want to see any civilians die in Hamas-run Gaza and that the United States was trying to negotiate a new ceasefire to allow critical aid to reach the region.
During his visit to Tel Aviv in October, Biden warned Israelis not to “sway into anger.” But the president and his aides have also said he believes Israel has the right to defend itself and has asked Congress for billions of dollars to help Israel in its war effort.
Concerns about Biden’s handling of the situation in Gaza extend beyond the Detroit area. Across the state, Grand Rapids resident Maryte Worm said Biden would be better off visiting Arab communities in Michigan and focusing on ending the war.
“I don’t know how we can continue without a ceasefire,” he said.
A December AP-NORC poll found that 59 percent of Democrats approved of Biden’s approach to the conflict; this rate was higher than 50% in November. But Democratic voters in the New Hampshire primary are roughly divided on how Biden has handled the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to AP VoteCast.
Democratic state Sen. Jeremy Moss, the third-ranking Democrat in the chamber who also represents one of the largest Jewish communities in the state, said he doesn’t think Michigan voters will go back to the old election when it comes down to Trump versus Biden again. Republican.
“Is the situation risky right now? Of course. There’s no doubt about that,” he said. “But we’re getting really close to that binary choice. There will be Trump, there will be Biden. And I have to trust a lot of people who don’t want him to be Donald Trump again. “Second, we will recognize Joe Biden’s accomplishments over the past year.”
It has long been reported from Washington. AP Writer Fatima Hussein in Grand Rapids, Michigan, contributed to this report.