'Abandon Biden': The new 'MAGA' being used to pull Arab American voters from the president

Joe Biden's popularity is taking a hit as he maintains his support for Israel's offensive against Hamas, ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers reports

There is a new slogan which has just been launched among a key demographic in the US.

This time, it's not Make America Great Again, but something more specific: Abandon Biden.

It began when Minnesota Muslim Americans demanded Biden call for a ceasefire by October 31, and has spread to Michigan, Arizona, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Florida.

In Michigan, one of the critical battleground states in next year’s election, the message is landing well with America’s biggest Muslim population.

Winning in Michigan in 2020 helped propel Biden to the Presidency. But he’s now facing resistance.

There are a quarter of a million Arab Americans living there and many are furious at his handling of Gaza.

We flew into Detroit to gauge the feeling in one area which is home to more Muslim’s than anywhere else in the country: Dearborn.

It’s predominantly working class, where many work in the auto industry.

Muslim leaders in several swing states have pledged to withdraw support for Biden due to his refusal to call for a ceasefire in Gaza. Credit: AP

Dearborn is where Henry Ford founded his car empire. It’s also where more than half the residents identify as Arab American.

In the busy Yasmeen bakery, delicious Middle Eastern pastries and breads are being prepared. Many of the customers here speak fluent Arabic.

Some have been in America all their lives - some are recent arrivals from Lebanon or the West Bank.

Everyone we spoke to was withering about Joe Biden, with many feeling he has betrayed their community with his staunch support of Israel. 

It’s the same story at one of the local mosques where I struggled to find anyone who’d say something positive about the 46th president.

This is significant because many turned out for Biden in 2020, helping him to clinch this swing state.

Nationally last time, 64 per cent of Arab American’s voted for Biden.

In Michigan it was more like 70 per cent.

He won the state by 154,000 votes in 2020.

There are some 200,000 registered voters who are Muslim but up to 300,000 claim heritage from the Middle East.

Editor of the Arab American News, Joe Siblani said the presidential election is a choice between 'dumb and dumber'. Credit: AP

It is an influential demographic and their support could be vital to secure the 16 electoral college votes up for grabs here.

The winning candidate needs to win 270 of the 538 available.

But in most states the results are forgone conclusions, because their electorates consistently and reliably vote for either the Democrat or Republican candidate.

So the result of the Presidential election boils down to just a handful of states and Michigan is one of them.

The editor of the local paper, the Arab American News, Joe Siblani castigates Joe Biden’s handling of the crisis in Gaza.

He tells me his readers will "bury Biden in 2024" and claims many will never again vote for a Democrat.

When I ask if they would really be prepared to withhold their vote and potentially allow Donald Trump back into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, he is blunt.

It’s a choice between "dumb and dumber" he says.

“Joe Biden has shown a lack of leadership… we cannot trust him to be President of the United States again and that’s why we have asked our community not to vote for him in 2020.

"We are finished with him."

When I challenge him that by not voting for Biden, the community may hand Trump a second term, his response is equally frank: “So what?”

This is especially surprising given Trump’s previous attempts to introduce a Muslim travel ban, involving sweeping immigration restrictions from a vast swathe of the Levant.

It’s not that many Arab American voters like Trump. Many hate him. But they now feel compelled to protest against Biden.

When I pushed some they admitted they may hold their nose and vote for Biden next November. Plenty more though appear to have made up their minds.

They will either refuse to vote or vote for a third party candidate, if one is available.

Gaza is without doubt the issue which has incensed the community here.

But many also say they aren’t feeling the benefits of surging job creation and falling inflation.

Prices might not be rising as quickly as before, but the cost of living is unbearably high and people feel worse off than they did four years ago.

The battle for votes in Michigan was always going to be tough, but for Joe Biden, Gaza has made it harder.

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