Rantz: Why are Washington primary voters going ‘Undecided’ over Biden? It’s a scam

Mar 11, 2024, 5:55 PM | Updated: Mar 12, 2024, 8:48 pm

Washington primary uncommitted...

President Joe Biden speaks during an event about lowering costs for American families at the Granite State YMCA Allard Center of Goffstown on March 11, 2024 in Goffstown, New Hampshire. (Photo: Sophie Park, Getty Images)

(Photo: Sophie Park, Getty Images)

UPDATE (3/12/24, 8:45 p.m.): Washington Republicans pushed Donald Trump over the finish line, giving him enough delegates to clinch the nomination.

Uncommitted voters in the Democrat primary came up far short of the necessary 15% to earn any delegates but delivered 7.6% with about 48,000 votes, according to preliminary vote tallies.

PREVIOUS COLUMN: Washington State Democrat voters are ready to send a message to President Joe Biden by voting as “uncommitted” in the primary. Activists believe they can deliver at least 20,000 votes for uncommitted delegates.

Progressive and socialist activists are upset with Israel’s war against terrorist organization Hamas. Since Oct. 7, these activists have taken to the streets to condemn Israel. They’re demanding that Biden do more to guarantee a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. They accuse him of funding a “genocide” against Palestinians.

Uncommitted activists are passionate about their positions. Antisemitism is real. But less real is any threat to Biden winning Washington either during the primary or the general election. This entire effort is a giant scam.

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Why are primary voters choosing ‘uncommitted’ over Joe Biden?

Activists believe by vote uncommitted over Biden will put political pressure on the president to flip on Israel. And they’re sending a not-so-subtle message.

“President Biden has been a successful candidate in the past by representing a broad coalition, but right now, he’s not representing the vast majority of Democrats who want a ceasefire and an end to his funding of Israel’s war in Gaza,” activist organization Uncommitted WA said on its website. “He is not representing many of us, including young people and voters of color who turned out in record numbers to put him in office — but who are now out protesting his policies in the streets.”

Democrats know Biden is vulnerable amongst youth voters and “voters of color.” A recent Fox News poll shows former president Donald Trump beating Biden amongst young voters. And the latest New York Times/Sienna poll shows Latinos are headed to Trump.

Activists believe by bringing up these crucial voting blocs that the Biden campaign will feel threatened enough to change his tune on Israel. But no matter the pressure, Biden isn’t losing in Washington State and he knows that.

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Joe Biden will overwhelmingly win Washington primary despite uncommitted campaign

Washington is an aggressively and overwhelmingly blue state. While the number of uncommitted voters may earn some negative media coverage that can, in theory, impact voter perception of Biden elsewhere, it will make no difference in the results of the Washington primary.

There are 92 Democrat delegates up for grabs in Washington. They are awarded proportionally, if a candidate wins 15%. According to the Washington State Democratic Party rules, any candidate “falling below a 15% threshold shall not be awarded any delegates or alternates.” Biden will easily take the state. He won with nearly 60% of the vote when up against Trump in the 2020 election and 38% in the primary when up against Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

While it’s theoretically possible that undecided votes exceed 15%, it would take a herculean effort.

In Michigan, where there was a considerably more active uncommitted primary campaign, along with a much larger population of Arab Americans (2.10% vs 0.49%), the activist effort pulled in a little over 100,000. If the 2024 primary turnout is similar to the 2020 numbers, the uncommitted voters’ campaign would need over 230,000 votes. Turnout is unlikely to be as high this year given Biden will be the nominee, but it would have to be awfully low for uncommitted voters to eke out anything more than about 2%.

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The Washington uncommitted primary voters will coalesce in November

There’s little doubt that the uncommitted voters’ campaign is filled with progressive voters who will coalesce with Biden in November. The Uncommitted Washington website, in the Frequently Asked Questions portion, subtly implies this when answering a question about whether or not this effort helps Trump.

“This is a primary where Democrats are trying to have their voices heard by the man who claims to lead OUR party,” the site read. “We are well aware that Trump is not our friend. There is a long time between now and November for Biden to change his policies and earn support from Democratic voters. This vote is not about Republicans. It is about sending a message to the leaders of the Democratic Party.”

Unlike what some uncommitted voters have said outside of Washington, there’s little chance our uncommitted residents vote for Trump. As is usually the case with local activists, especially those out of Seattle, they just want to be a part of something. They love to jump on progressive movements; it gives them something to do between shifts at Starbucks or Gap. But when all is said and done, they don’t impact statewide results and this will be no different. If Biden is to be worried enough to change his stance (as he’s already changing some of his rhetoric), it’ll be a result of states like Michigan where the general is expected to be tight. Washington state? Not so much.

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Rantz: Why are Washington primary voters going ‘Undecided’ over Biden? It’s a scam