Muslim leaders from several swing states on Saturday descended on Dearborn, Michigan, to launch a national campaign against the reelection of President Joe Biden — a response to his handling of the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Organizers from Michigan, Minnesota, Arizona, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania are calling the campaign #AbandonBiden, vowing to ensure that Biden is a one-term president. These leaders have run separate pressure campaigns in their respective states, members of the coalition said, but they felt now was the time to coordinate their response ahead of the 2024 election.
“We’re looking into finding ways to build a mechanism of coordination between all the swing states so that we’re constantly working together to ensure that Muslim Americans will come out in all of these states, and that Mr. Biden will lose each and every one of them,” said Hassan Abdel Salam, a professor at the University of Minnesota and a member of the #AbandonBiden National Coalition during a press conference Saturday. “Right behind me, what Mr. Biden should see is 111 electoral votes. And he won last time with 74.”
It’s unclear how expansive or successful the campaign will be, but its creation speaks to the mounting political pressure facing Biden amid the conflict in the Middle East. For nearly two months, Muslim and Arab leaders have pushed the president to call for a cease-fire, and now, with more than 15,000 dead in Gaza, this new coalition is dialing up the pressure.
The bubbling anger among Arab and Muslim Americans could threaten Biden’s chances of reelection in many of the swing states in 2024, all of which contain key pockets of Arab American and Muslim American voting blocs.
“We are not powerless as American Muslims. We are powerful. We don’t only have the money, but we have the actual votes. And we will use that vote to save this nation from itself,” said Jaylani Hussein, a member of the coalition and the executive director of CAIR-MINNESOTA.
The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The growing Muslim American population is roughly 3.45 million people, according to the Pew Research Center. In 2020, roughly 59 percent of Arab Americans supported Biden, according to the Arab American Institute, but recent polling suggests this support has continued to deteriorate.
The leaders said Saturday they are not voting for Donald Trump next year, though they recognized that their effort to rally support against Biden could elevate the former president. They said they’ll continue to have discussions as a community about which candidate to throw their support behind as the primaries rapidly approach.
“We’re not supporting Trump,” Hussein said. “We’re not going to make the same mistake of thinking about President Biden the way we thought. We don’t have two options. We have many options, and we’re going to exercise that.”
The political challenge facing Biden has only intensified as progressive-minded Democrats ramp up calls for a cease-fire. The U.S. has been working to secure the release of more hostages, and Biden has said he’s urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to focus on reducing the number of casualties while trying to eliminate Hamas.
Several administration officials say the recent deal to release several hostages is evidence their strategy toward the war is working, but pleas for Biden to go further and call for a cease-fire have only grown louder.
“This is a dangerous president for Americans,” Hussein said during Saturday’s press conference. “And for those who are watching at home, you want your sons to be sent to another war that we know will never end? No. Most Americans agree with us that a ceasefire and bringing peace is the right action.”