CHICAGO: Leaders of the #AbandonBiden movement said Thursday they are planning their own convention — in August or September — to find candidates who would run against Joe Biden in the Nov. 5 presidential election.

Launched on Oct. 31, 2023, the #AbandonBiden campaign has grown and partnered with coalitions in several states including “Listen to Georgia” and “Listen to Minnesota,” said Farah Khan a co-leader of the #AbandonBiden movement.

Khan said a date for the anti-Biden convention has not yet been set but will be held sometime in August or September after the Democratic and Republican parties conclude their conventions.

She said the #AbandonBiden movement will partner with the other anti-Biden coalitions to consider “all of the candidates” before making a final endorsement for the November elections.

Khan said the movement’s voters will not accept Biden’s “repeated gratuitous promises,” calling them a “desperate effort” to “save his presidency.”

“Biden won Michigan and several other states on the back of Arab and Muslim votes and he turned his back on us. He was deaf to our cries and our concerns. We gave him a deadline of October 31 to stop the genocide and he did not.

“He crossed that red line. Killing our brothers and sisters in Gaza is a red line. He is beyond redemption. He is not coming back. We are not supporting him now and we are not going to support him in November,” Khan told Arab News Thursday evening as Biden delivered his annual State of the Union speech.

“We are done choosing the lesser of the two evils. Why do they, the Democrats, have to bring in bad candidates? Why can’t the Democratic Party be the Democratic Party for all of the people? You take our votes and then you turn a deaf ear to us? And there is no concern for us? They are not listening to us. How can they continue to support the killing of civilians? How does killing civilians align with anyone’s principles?”

Khan rejected Biden’s promises of support for Palestinians in Gaza calling them “empty words” and “desperate efforts” intended to derail the #AbandonBiden movement and shore up his reelection chances.

During his State of the Union speech, Biden condemned the Hamas attacks on Oct. 7 and accused the militant organization of hiding behind civilians. Biden said Israel has a “fundamental responsibility to protect civilians in Gaza,” and reaffirmed his commitment to the two-state solution. Biden said the US will build a “temporary pier in the Mediterranean” to facilitate the delivery of “large shipments of aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.”

Khan said that Arab and Muslim voters, and their supporters, will not be moved by “belated promises” to assist Gaza’s displaced civilian population.

“We are very happy with the turnout so far and it keeps growing. More than 100,000 voters voted uncommitted in Michigan. That speaks volumes. And not every voter comes out to vote in the primary elections as they do in the general election. Just imagine that almost 1.5 million Muslims and over 300,000 Muslims with lineage from the Middle East will vote. That is significant,” Khan said of the #AbandonBiden voter turnout over the past two weeks in more than 20 state primary elections.
“We’re not just talking about Arab and Muslim voters. We are also talking about a movement that is growing with support from others who share our opposition to the violence in Gaza. It is not just Arab and Muslim concerns. We’re working with Christian leaders and activists, Jewish leaders and activists.”

Khan added: “If Biden thinks it is just Muslims, he is gravely mistaken. People have woken up. They know what our president is doing. It is shameful for us. We feel he has made us complicit in the genocide because our tax dollars are being used.”

Leaders of the “Listen to Georgia” coalition released voter data from Tuesday’s elections that showed at least 253,000 people voted “uncommitted” or “no preference” in the eight states with an option to do so.

Republican and Democratic voters went to the polls in 16 US states Tuesday to nominate their respective candidates for the Nov. 5 presidential election.

Trump swept 15 of the 16 states in the Republican primaries forcing his last remaining major challenger, Nikki Haley, who edged him out in Vermont, to formally withdraw as a candidate. Biden faced no major rival and won easily in all 16 states.

Although Biden is seen as winning the Democratic Party nomination, Khan and #AbandonBiden leaders said their movement will undermine Biden if he faces-off with Trump “or any other candidate” in the presidential election.

In the Minnesota Democratic presidential primary, over 45,000 voters (20 percent) chose the “uncommitted” option, seen as the results of a last-minute organizing campaign. In North Carolina, over 88,000 people voted “no preference” (13 percent) and over 54,000 (Massachusetts) also selected “no preference,” according to the #AbandonBiden coalition. More than 19 percent of voters in Minnesota cast “uncommitted” votes, they said.

Only some states allow voters to cast an “uncommitted” or “no preference” vote in their election primaries. In other states, the only option is to cast a vote for other minor alternative candidates to Biden or Trump.

But those “uncommitted,” “no preference” or alternative candidate votes will have a direct impact on the expected Biden-Trump contest and could deny Biden the edge he held in 2020, activists argue.

Hassan Abdel Salam, a co-leader with Khan of the #AbandonBiden campaign, called growing opposition to Biden’s Gaza policies “a pivotal moment for the campaign, which has been advocating for voters to remain uncommitted in response to President Biden’s handling of the ongoing crisis in Gaza. The campaign emphasizes the need for leadership that prioritizes a permanent ceasefire and the safeguarding of innocent lives.”

The election nomination process, called primary elections, will continue with Trump and Biden leading the Republican and Democrat primary contests on March 12 in Georgia, Hawaii, Mississippi and Washington state, March 19 in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Kansas and Ohio, and in 21 remaining states through June 4.

Both the Republican and Democratic parties will hold their conventions this summer in Chicago and Milwaukee to formalize their likely nominations of Trump and Biden for the November elections.

Activists of the #AbandonBiden movement have been buoyed by the results of a telephone exit polling of 568 Muslim voters conducted in a March 5 survey by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The CAIR survey found that 37 percent of Muslim voters prefer a third-party candidate over incumbent Biden (36 percent) or Republican presidential nominee frontrunner Donald Trump (27 percent).

The CAIR survey also showed 72 percent of Muslim Super Tuesday voters reported “disapproving” of Biden’s handling of the Israeli government’s war in Gaza.

Robert S. McCaw, the CAIR’s government affairs director, cited a “notable surge” in the number of registered Muslim-American voters, totaling 2.5 million people.

“This primary season marks the continued rise of American-Muslim voters, who have asserted their presence in our nation’s democratic process and ensured their voices are being heard,” said McCaw. 


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