Andy Levin

Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) speaks during a press conference in Washington, D.C. on February 6, 2020.

(Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Levin to Biden: 'If We Don't Change Course' on Gaza, 'We Can't Win' in November

"Frankly, I don't care what a bunch of talking-headed pundits say" about the push for Michigan Democrats to vote "uncommitted" in the primary. "We're here on the ground in Michigan and they are dead wrong."

Labor organizer and former congressman Andy Levin on Sunday became the latest progressive to lay out the facts on the ground in the key swing state of Michigan for U.S. President Joe Biden and issue a stark warning: If he doesn't end the government's support for Israel's bombardment of Gaza and demand a permanent cease-fire, he runs a serious risk of losing the presidency on November 5.

While Democratic pundits have complained in recent days that Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and other Michigan leaders are doing a disservice to the party by pushing voters to vote "uncommitted" in the state presidential primary on February 27, Levin made clear in an MSNBC interview that his support for the effort is the best way he can help Biden position himself for a victory in November.

While the progressive group Our Revolution and a coalition of Michigan leaders called Listen to Michigan are organizing the push for voters to vote "uncommitted," the groups are not "whipping this up," Levin told anchor Ayman Mohyeldin.

"People are not going to vote for Joe Biden on February 27 because they are really mad at him," said Levin. "Their cousins are dying. Their friends are dying."

With 200,000 Muslim voters and 300,000 people with Middle Eastern and North African ancestry in Michigan, which Biden won just only 154,000 votes in 2020, Levin is among those who say that in addition to the moral case for ending U.S. support for Israel, the Biden campaign must pay close attention to the political case as well.

"We have 1.4 million African Americans" in the state, Levin said, noting that the African Methodist Episcopal Church Bishops Council last week demanded Biden suspend military aid for what it called Israel's "mass genocide" of Palestinians.

"And then you've got 370-some thousand 18-to-24-year-old voters, all of whom are very upset," said Levin. "Now these are somewhat overlapping groups. But Ayman, Joe Biden won Michigan by 150,000 votes in 2020. We need these people to vote for Joe Biden on November 5th."

Levin was undeterred as Mohyeldin pointed out that political strategists and commentators have claimed the push for Michiganders to vote "uncommitted" in the primary will backfire and help former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican candidate.

To the contrary, Levin told The New York Times last week, warning the president about the stakes in Michigan is "the best way I can help Joe Biden."

"Frankly, I don't care what a bunch of talking-headed pundits say on MSNBC," Levin told Mohyeldin on Sunday. "We're here on the ground in Michigan and they are dead wrong."

With two-thirds of Americans supporting a cease-fire, including three-quarters of Democrats, Michigan voters are among those who are angry over Israel's U.S.-backed killing of nearly 30,000 Palestinians since October, as both Israeli and American officials have repeatedly claimed the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are targeting Hamas and not civilians.

"We can't stand on 28,000 people being killed," said Levin. "Women and children being killed at the fastest rate of any conflict since World War II. The most journalists being killed of any conflict on record... Two thousand-pound bombs, provided by the U.S., being dropped on places, according to The New York Times, where the IDF told civilians to run to, and then our military officials say we wouldn't use those bombs at all on such a dense population... I mean, people are super upset about this."

Blaming voters for not supporting Biden in the primary is "totally useless," added the former congressman. "What we're all saying is, 'This is a catastrophe in Gaza. We have to change course. Let's do it now and then November will take care of itself.'"

"I'm afraid if we don't change course then we can't win on November 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."

Historian Barbara Ransby on Monday applauded Levin and Tlaib for their vehement support of the Listen to Michigan movement.

Richard Yeselson of Dissent magazine also applauded Levin's explanation of the movement in Michigan.

"This is the leverage—if you want Biden to win, you should not be prematurely pissed off about this!" said Yeselson. "Pressure Biden to do what is right, then vote."

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