Biden and Trump Cruise Despite Discontent

A quick scan of the headlines at memeorandum

demonstrates yet more attempt to create a sense of drama where there really isn’t any.

It’s true that he protest organized by Michigan’s large Arab population that I highlighted yesterday was somewhat successful. But not that successful.

POLITICO : “Biden won the Michigan primary decisively — but not by enough to calm Democratic angst.”

President Joe Biden scored a decisive win in the Michigan primary on Tuesday evening, clearing an organized protest vote against his handling of the Israel-Hamas war though not necessarily by enough to calm Democratic jitters.

Tens of thousands of Michiganders on Tuesday cast their ballots for “uncommitted,” putting them on track to garner more than 10 percent of the vote statewide. That figure seemed likely to exceed past levels of “uncommitted” votes in Michigan Democratic primaries, though fall short of sparking a political earthquake.

Democrats were divided over how to treat the outcome, noting that Biden continued to dominate the primary in ways similar to, or even exceeding, past incumbents but also wary that significant pockets of discontent in the party could prove fatal in the general election.

“I don’t see a pathway for them to win Michigan with that many people not voting for them,” said Wa’el Alzayat, CEO of the Muslim advocacy organization Emgage. “I just don’t.”

In his statement late Tuesday evening, Biden thanked “every Michigander who made their voice heard today,” noting that “exercising the right to vote and participating in our democracy is what makes America great.”

He discussed abortion, union jobs, prescription drugs, and the need to protect fertility treatments. There was no mention of Gaza or Israel or the cease-fire demands that sparked the “uncommitted” protest vote campaign.

But, as of this writing, POLITICO shows 98.5% of the vote in with Biden winning in a landslide:

While one imagines that there are indeed some significant portion of those who would show up to cast a protest vote in a party primary who will sit out the general election, I’m skeptical that it’s a huge number. Biden won the state by a little more than 150,000 votes last go-round. So, even if all 101,000 of these folks stayed home—which they won’t—it wouldn’t be enough to change the outcome.

In fairness, the POLITICO report continues,

On the Republican side, a similar debate about party unity has taken place. Donald Trump also won the Michigan primary convincingly on Tuesday. But the former president continues to face a faction of Republicans who refuse to back his candidacy despite his chokehold on the nomination.

The fissures in both parties have sparked concerns over how each candidate will fare in this critical swing state in November.

For Trump, the threats have been both political and legal in nature. His unbroken swing of early state victories has given him a commanding position in Republican politics. But he remains embroiled in court cases stemming from his business practices and his time in office. And he continues to slash at primary rivals — past and present — even after they have ceased to threaten him politically.

Still, his sole remaining opponent got roughly twice what “Uncommitted” did in the other primary:

This is not exactly a live contest.

The AP gives us similar treatment in “Michigan takeaways: Presidential primaries show warning signs for Trump and Biden.” And, this much is surely true:

Joe Biden and Donald Trump easily won their party’s primaries in Michigan, but Tuesday’s results showed that both candidates have cause for concern in their bid to win the swing state in November.

An “uncommitted” vote in Michigan’s Democratic primary was the first indication of how backlash over President Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza might impact his reelection campaign. Trump won his primary by a large margin, but support for rival Nikki Haley once again showed that some Republican voters may have misgivings about giving the former president another four years in the general election.

Indeed, I strongly suspect that the 81% and 68% figures by which Biden and Trump, respectively, won their primaries greatly overstates the enthusiasm their co-partisans have for seeing them in office another four years. But, presuming they’re both alive, free, and on the ballot in November, committed partisans will nonetheless overwhelmingly vote for their party’s nominee.