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Victory for Trump, Disaster for Biden in Michigan Primary

Posted on Thursday, February 29, 2024
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by Walter Samuel
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36 Comments

AMAC Exclusive – By Walter Samuel

Biden Trump and Haley; michigan primary

Though President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump comfortably won their respective primaries in Michigan, the outcomes nonetheless painted a picture of two campaigns heading in opposite directions.

No one seriously doubted the outcome going into the contest, and media interest was focused not on whether Biden and Trump would win, but by what margin they would win. Ironically, the Michigan primary is the first in the 2024 cycle where the Democratic contest received more attention than the Republican contest, due to a very loud campaign by Arab Americans and left-wing activists to promote a vote for “uncommitted” to protest President Biden’s refusal to condemn Israel.

In the end, the results were the worst of all worlds for the Biden campaign. “Uncommitted” did well enough to show that the anti-Israel faction of the Democratic Party commands real support, but poorly enough to show that most Democrats disagree with that faction and any effort to appease them would backfire with the rest of the party.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump not only won, but received almost as many votes as the total number cast in the Democratic primary.

Here are a few takeaways from the results of the contest.

The Republican primary is over

This may not seem like a huge revelation. Nikki Haley has failed to win a single state, even losing the Nevada primary to “None of the Above,” and was recently abandoned by the Koch network.

Nonetheless, after the South Carolina primary, Haley provided a new rationale for her campaign: She had won nearly 40 percent of the vote, and while 40 percent was nowhere near 50 percent, it was, she argued, a substantial portion of the Republican electorate that deserved a voice.

The results in Michigan obliterated this argument. Donald Trump carried the state by 68.2 percent to 26.8 percent for Haley, winning every county.

Evidence already existed from New Hampshire and South Carolina that Nikki Haley was not speaking for 40 percent of Republicans at all. A substantial portion of her vote in those states appears to have come from Democrats who crossed over to vote against Trump but had no intention of voting for Haley in a general election against Biden.

Exit polls in New Hampshire and South Carolina show Trump won over 70 percent of self-identified Republicans, and the results in Michigan, where for the first time there was at least a half-hearted contest on the Democratic side, provide support for the supposition that Haley’s actual base of Republicans is closer to 25 percent of the primary electorate.

Nor can Haley blame the Michigan result on a low turnout, with more than 1.1 million people showing up to the polls. This was around 200,000 less than in 2016, but while Donald Trump increased his vote total from 484,000 to 756,000, Haley was unable to match John Kasich’s 321,000 in 2016, winning only 295,000 votes. She also cannot blame the Democratic primary, where turnout fell from 1.2 million in 2016 to around 760,000 in 2024. Those voters don’t care about her enough to bother to vote.

The conclusion is that Haley is dependent not on moderate Republicans but on partisan Democrats for her relatively “strong” performances.

Democrats Have a Unity Problem

In the lead-up to the Michigan primary, a campaign by far-left and Islamic activists to encourage votes for the option of “uncommitted” attracted widespread attention from a media desperate for a story now that Haley’s campaign was in its death throes. A similar effort in New Hampshire, encouraging voters to write in “cease-fire now,” had gone nowhere, attracting well under 1 percent of the vote.

But in Michigan, the activists were aided by media attention and the ability to attract support from elected officials, including far-left House member Rashida Tlaib.

The “uncommitted” campaigners were successful enough in creating at least the impression of widespread support that figures such as former Texas Senate, gubernatorial, and presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke publicly endorsed it, and traveled to Michigan to campaign. While O’Rourke’s skills at winning elections leave something to be desired, he is an expert on what appeals to online activists, and the things that will motivate them to send him money. There is nothing in his record to indicate an affiliation with the truly hardcore activist left, so the move is best read as an opportunistic calculation.

Superficially, it is not one that paid off. Joe Biden won the Michigan Democratic primary 81.1 percent to 13.3 percent, and as his supporters are apt to note, 10 percent is around the percentage that voted against Barack Obama in the 2012 Michigan primary.

There is a reason that supporters of the “uncommitted” campaign generally ignore their vote percentage in favor of the vote totals: “uncommitted” won more than 101,000 votes, while Donald Trump won the state over Hillary Clinton by 10,000 in 2016, and lost it by 150,000 in 2020.

Neither comparison is particularly flattering for the effort. In 2016, Bernie Sanders won 598,943 votes in the Michigan primary, meaning “uncommitted” not only failed to draw a fifth of the 2024 Democratic primary vote, but also failed to draw a fifth of Bernie Sanders’ 2016 primary vote.

Furthermore, rather than focusing on the 10 percent “uncommitted” won against Barack Obama in the 2012 contest, it might be worthwhile to compare it with the 19.6 percent Dean Philips won in New Hampshire this year. Philips won a mere 2.6 percent in Michigan, so the strong implication is that 20 percent is around what a generic, non-Biden option will receive in a contest where a campaign takes place.

Philips campaigned and spent money in New Hampshire, just as the “uncommitted” campaign did in Michigan. That “uncommitted” did substantially worse than Philips in New Hampshire implies “uncommitted” or “Drop Israel Now” is less popular than a generic anti-Biden figure like Philips.

There is no real evidence that “uncommitted” attracted anyone with its message who didn’t want to make a protest vote anyway, and plenty of evidence that it repelled at least some who might have been open to opposing Biden.

This is not entirely good news for Biden. If “uncommitted” had performed as Philips did in South Carolina, winning around 3 percent, then the Biden team could safely ignore the sentiment behind it. If it had outperformed and won around 25-30 percent, clearly drawing from actual mainstream Democrats, rather than merely consolidating part of the 18 percent willing to vote against Biden, then there would be an argument that by pivoting on the issue toward supporting a “ceasefire,” whatever that means other than pressuring Israel to appease Hamas, Biden could reunite the party.

However, it is clear that whatever support Tlaib mobilized for her cause, more Democrats came out to vote against it. The six percent who voted for Williamson and Philips had the option to vote for “uncommitted” and actively chose not to. Appealing to Tlaib and her cohorts would merely drive far more voters away, as it appears the embrace of Hamas and other radical causes has already done to legions of former Sanders voters.

Turnout was poor for Democrats

The biggest problem for Biden is not that too many people voted for “uncommitted,” but rather that almost no one did so. While turnout for the Republican contest fell from 1.32 million in 2016 to 1.1 million in 2024, turnout for the Democratic contest fell from 1.2 million in 2016 to 768,000 in 2024. This becomes dramatic when we look at some of the candidates:

Donald Trump 2024 received 275,139 more votes than he did in the 2016 primary.

Joe Biden 2024 received 41,640 more votes than Hillary Clinton did in the 2016 primary.

Nikki Haley 2024 received 24,787 votes less than John Kasich did in the 2016 primary.

“Uncommitted” 2024 received 497,507 votes less than Bernie Sanders did in the 2016 primary.

Donald Trump is the only candidate to gain a substantial number of votes from comparable candidates in 2016. Joe Biden barely improved on the numbers Hillary got while losing the state to Sanders, while Haley failed to match Kasich, who came third in 2016 behind Ted Cruz.

These numbers are even more stunning if we compare them to 2020, when the Democratic primary was contested and the Republican primary was not:

Donald Trump 2024 got 118,340 more votes than he did in the 2020 primary.

Joe Biden 2024 got 216,945 votes less than he did in the 2020 primary.

“Uncommitted” 2024 got 475,490 votes less than Bernie Sanders did in the 2020 primary.

Despite having won over 93 percent of the vote in 2020, Donald Trump still gained raw votes this time around, whereas Joe Biden this year lost a substantial number from his 16 percent victory over Sanders in 2020. At the same time, “uncommitted” utterly failed to mobilize more than a fraction of the old Sanders electorate on the Israel issue. Republican turnout increased from under 700,000 to 1.1 million, whereas Democratic turnout fell almost in half, from nearly 1.6 million to 760,000.

Joe Biden’s issue is not that the left is opposing him and backing his opponents. If that was the case, he could rely on Tlaib coming back on board in the fall. Rather, Tlaib and her friends in the Squad seem to have alienated 80 percent of the electorate Sanders built on the party’s left, turning their faction into a cult. This means Biden cannot appeal to the left through their leaders and has no clear path to mobilize them in other ways.

That is Biden’s challenge in November. Haley supporters such as New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu have made clear they will endorse Trump in the general election. It does not really appear it will matter if those who ran the “uncommitted” campaign endorse Biden. They have no sizable constituency.

The Democrats, then, have a choice between Biden, who offends anti-Biden voters, and left-wingers, who offend everyone else and can deliver few votes. That is the serious challenge Michigan revealed for Democrats.

Walter Samuel is the pseudonym of a prolific international affairs writer and academic. He has worked in Washington as well as in London and Asia, and holds a Doctorate in International History.

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Dan W.
Dan W.
1 month ago

The real question is how many of the “Uncommitted” voters will return to Biden versus how many of the Haley voters will return to Trump in the general election ? That, as well as turnout, will tell the tale in Michigan.

Melinda
Melinda
1 month ago

Interesting statistical comparison. The only way Biden can win anything is by cheating, and we know they’re willing to do what it takes.

Dave S.
Dave S.
1 month ago

Don’t expect the vast majority of media to interpret the Michigan results the way Mr. Samuel did. They’ll reject the obvious and repeat the same anti-Trump, anti-conservative screed as always. When a similar result turns up in Massachusetts, they might have no choice.

Jeri
Jeri
1 month ago

Not sure what the Arab uncommitted voters have in mind. They are worth watching closely.

Robert
Robert
1 month ago

I’m starting to wonder if Nikki Haley is hoping Biden decides to dump Kamala Harris and pick her as Vice President instead? Very unlikely I know, but do any of us really believe Haley would turn down such an offer?

Westhus092
Westhus092
1 month ago

Unfortunately, the communists will most likely do what they always do and vote lockstep for Brandon in November. I hate to say it, but the ‘uncommitted’ vote seems like a stunt right now, will be different come November. In any case, everyone better hope and pray for a Trump victory in November or the consequences are going to be even worse than what we’re seeing right now.

Patriot Will
Patriot Will
1 month ago

Haley has no chance of winning the nomination unless President Trump is judged to be guilty by some kangaroo court/courts of criminal misconduct. Perhaps, Haley is staying in the race for the nomination, because she thinks there is a chance that the deep state will knock out President Trump from the nomination as the Republican presidential candidate.
If that is Haley’s plan, she should start mending her relationship with President Trump. There is no need for her to keep on bad mouthing President Trump. The Marxist Democrat thugs do not need her help in destroying President Trump.

Wayne
Wayne
1 month ago

I used to like Haley but ever since she decided to run for president I have grown to dislike her. I also used to think that she would make a good VP for President Trump. Now not so much. Haley needs to pick up her hat and coat and go home.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
1 month ago

“Uncommitted” Democrat voters? I think all of them should be committed… you’ve got to either be insane, on the payroll of, or just plain stupid to vote for Biden.

Bruce
Bruce
1 month ago

Wow, that was a lot of totally unnecessary more than/less thans. People are voting by emotions now and a huge part of that is hatred for the mean man. Biden will buckle under to these left wing fanatics. It’s a good thing Biden has no control over what Israel does since he would have them just give up while they’re winning. Palestine started this war and they’re getting their rear ends handed to them now. This is how war works, folks. If Israel stops now, Palestine will regroup, rearm, and attack again; it’s what muhammad told them to do, it’s their religion, they’ll stand by it until they’re dead and joining satan.

Moonpup
Moonpup
1 month ago

According to most of the MSM, the fact that Bribem didn’t sweep the state doesn’t mean anything – heck, they would have said that if he got fewer votes than Haley,

Thinking
Thinking
1 month ago

This article is too confusing to comment on. What I see in the Michigan primary race still 3/4 of a million people voted for ole Joe. That is still too many. The uncommitted vote didn’t materialize which is a powerful statement that the smart voter sees antisemitism rising in this country and rejected it.

Bacon Nivison
Bacon Nivison
1 month ago

In other words, the number of demonicrats.

Sallo
Sallo
1 month ago

Not to mention having the voting system all fixed and honest by November (right!)

FreeMarketsWork
FreeMarketsWork
1 month ago

Remember, Biden had “no visible means of support” in 2020, and yet was crowned President by judges illegally changing election laws to allow ballot harvesting, drop boxes, mass mailing out of ballots, and proven ease of voting machine manipulation, for example. The excuse was COVID-19, a virus that even when contracted by the most vulnerable populations (over 60s) was around 97% survivable.
The DEMarxist Propaganda media has been talking about Virus X for months already. Funny how a new and “deadlier” virus shows up every presidential year…
The point is, if you love your individual liberty, don’t get lulled into counting your chickens by polls and primaries. It ain’t over til the fat lady sings; or should I say til the Democrats refuse to certify the Electoral College vote. Wasn’t that the excuse for the January 6th Fake “Insurrection” committee?
Consider: If the DEMarxist Machine wants to replace Biden, as some of them have talked about already, how might the Trump Derangement Syndrome crowd do it to cause the most damage to the America First movement? They’ve already shown they’ll do anything to win power. Every time good people think “they can’t get any worse”, they do get worse, and exponentially so. The smug Politico reporter Heidi Przybyla let the cat out of the bag on MSNBC last week, saying that “Christian Nationalists – not Christians, by the way -” believe our rights as Americans don’t come from Congress or the Supreme Court, they come from God. Not only do DEMarxists like her disrespect the Declaration of Independence, they don’t respect or fear God. They clearly believe the highest power on Earth is government, which always leads to totalitarianism.
So if they decided Biden should be replaced and he refuses to step aside, to what lengths would they go to beat Trump & Co.? Who would the Fake News propaganda machine blame if Creepy Uncle Joe suddenly “left the building”? And who would then hold the reins of federal power, if only for a few months, without even getting on her knees? Can you imagine the damage a Kamala Sutra presidency could do in the run-up to November 5th? Just the unconstitutional ones should terrify you.
With all the lies, lawfare and character assassination they’ve already shoved down the throats of the American people – from the Russian Collusion Hoax to the False Flag Fake Insurrection to unconstitutionally denying Trump due process by removing him from ballots – who can say how evil their Dirty Tricks might get, especially without a belief in God to stop them?
Again, don’t count your chickens. Share Lara Logan’s 13-minute Senate testimony on Freedom of Speech with your fence-sitting friends, that can’t imagine voting for a Republican. The future of our Republic depends on your activism.
Keep the Faith, Speak the Truth, Do the Next Right Thing – NEVER SURRENDER

Sean Rickman
Sean Rickman
1 month ago

First,I did think Haley was an upstanding person until she came off as a romney rino and that is not meant to be a compliment.Second with the supreme court letting voters decide who gets voted in,the democRATS will push the cheating boundaries to keep their liberal leftist control.Watch them try to let criminals,illegal aliens,deasesed people,ballot harvesting and whatever else they can create to sneak a liberal,leftist democRAT into office.Remember,they have no ethics when it comes to destroying conservatives.

Fred
Fred
1 month ago

Yes, Victory for Trump, and Joe didn’t know where he was, again while Haley, like Joe doesn’t have clue and thought those Dimocraps were voting for her!

zoe frost
zoe frost
1 month ago

Agitating useful idiots, posting multiple useless garbage comments to AMAC articles (akin to spam), is beyond annoying. Most people don’t unlike, they just move on…or minus #s would be in the hundreds instead of just a few.

John Shipway
John Shipway
1 month ago

One wonders if “Neo-Con Nicky” is actively trading sex for votes. Though to date her numbers are pretty small…………well, time is short I suppose but still the creature must be getting awfully sore

Jon
Jon
1 month ago

Haley got 40%, and many of those are Never Trumpers. Trump might win the nomination, but he’s very unlikely to win in a general election. Haley is hanging on to be available to replace Trump if he should take a fall. Haley might beat Biden. Trump never will.

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