'Uncommitted' Michigan primary campaign blasts Whitmer for saying vote could boost Trump

While organizers of the “uncommitted” campaign in Michigan spent the weekend calling, canvassing and rallying voters, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer − who serves as co-chair of President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign − took to the airwaves to warn voters that the effort could provide a boost for Trump.

“A second Trump term would be devastating not just on fundamental rights, not just on our democracy here at home, but also when it comes to foreign policy. This is a man who promoted a Muslim ban,” Whitmer said on CNN Sunday.

The Listen to Michigan campaign, along with the progressive political organizing group Our Revolution, launched a last-minute campaign calling for a protest vote to pressure Biden to demand a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war by voting “uncommitted” in the Democratic presidential primary Tuesday.

Listen to Michigan pushed back on Whitmer’s latest comments on their campaign. “Governor Whitmer could instead use her platform to align with the majority of Democrats who support a cease-fire and an end to Biden’s funding of Israel’s horrific war in Gaza,” reads an email from the campaign Monday morning.

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Whitmer first raised concerns about the “uncommitted” push a couple of days after the Listen to Michigan campaign to ditch Biden in the primary kicked off. When asked by the Free Press whether she thinks it’s a mistake for Democratic leaders to support the effort, Whitmer said she wants to remind voters what’s on the line in this year’s presidential election in which Michigan could play a decisive role.

“There’s a lot at stake in this upcoming election, and I would just encourage people not to lose sight of that, too. A potential second term for the former president would be very hard on all the communities that are still being impacted by what’s happening overseas as well, and that’s something that shouldn’t be lost on people’s calculation, too,” Whitmer told reporters earlier this month.

Over 30 elected officials in Michigan have backed the Listen to Michigan “uncommitted” campaign. While Whitmer worries it could boost Trump’s electoral prospects, others argue it could strengthen Biden’s re-election campaign heading into November if it pressures him to demand a cease-fire, a course of action backed by a majority of Michigan Democrats, according to a recent EPIC-MRA survey.

“I’m afraid if we don’t change course that we can’t win on Nov. 5, and that’s why I’m pouring my energy into this because we cannot allow Donald Trump to be anywhere near the White House again,” said former U.S. Rep. Andy Levin, D-Bloomfield Township, during a recent interview on MSNBC about his endorsement of the “uncommitted” push by Our Revolution.

Michigan presidential primary: Uncommitted voting campaign targets President Biden over support for Israel in war in Gaza

Without a policy shift in the Biden administration’s handling of the war, some Michigan voters who backed Biden in 2020 have said they don’t know how they will vote in November in a likely rematch against Trump.

During a Listen to Michigan rally Sunday in Hamtramck to mobilize the “uncommitted” vote, Metro-Detroit Political Action Network co-founder Ahmed Ghanim blasted the Democratic leaders for using “fear tactics” to pressure voters to defeat Trump instead of motivating them to back Biden.

“You’re not going to motivate us by fear anymore, and this is why we are not going to vote for Biden this primary election,” he told the crowd gathered in Zussman Park. “Our message here to the establishment in the Democratic Party: there is only one way to defeat Trump,” he said. “Only one single way is to provide candidates that represent people on the ground.”

Contact Clara Hendrickson at chendrickson@freepress.com or 313-296-5743. Follow her on X, previously called Twitter, @clarajanehen.

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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: What does voting 'uncommitted' mean? Michigan protest vote, explained