It’s official: In Michigan’s Great Arab Revolt, Joe Biden has nothing to fear but fear itself. But if he insists on fearing that fear—well, supporters of his reelection ought to be afraid.

Last night Biden competed in the Michigan Democratic presidential primary against three opponents: Rep. Dean Phillips, the ghost of Marianne Williamson (she dropped out of the race three weeks ago, but has reportedly “unsuspended” her campaign based on her showing in Michigan), and Uncommitted.

That last candidate, Uncommitted, was the one with all the media hype. Generally speaking, in Michigan Uncommitted is a “none of the above” answer but in a way that enables voters to cast a ballot rather than make their point by staying home. You have to be committed to voting Uncommitted, in other words. It usually gets, in noncompetitive years, about ten percent of the vote.

Last night, Uncommitted was the beneficiary of a campaign: The state’s large Arab-American population wanted to send Biden a message on his support for Israel’s war against Hamas by encouraging voters to choose Uncommitted as an explicit protest on behalf of Gaza. That message was supposed to be: You need us in November, so bend the knee.

What would that mean, specifically? Well, if Uncommitted received 11 percent of the vote against Barack Obama in 2012, it would have to far surpass that number against Biden to account for the fact that Biden’s low approval numbers mean there is a full menu of reasons to vote against him in a party primary, and one cannot assume every such vote is a vote for abandoning Israel.

Berkeley lecturer and political analyst Lakshya Jain translated that into numbers: “If [Uncommitted] hits 20%, that’d be a more unambiguous and unequivocal sign that the Gaza protest vote campaign was a big success.”

In the event, Uncommitted got 13 percent. It didn’t get 20 percent anywhere—including Dearborn’s Wayne County, where it topped out at 17 percent (as it did in one other county). Williamson—who, again, wasn’t technically a candidate anymore—got 3 percent. Phillips got just under 3 percent. Biden received 81 percent statewide. That means he reached his benchmark while keeping Uncommitted well below its own goal. If you add Williamson and Phillips, 87 percent voted for a candidate instead of Uncommitted, votes that are almost sure to go for Biden in the general.

The state’s Arab-American voters aren’t numerous enough to flip the state on their own, which is why they needed to expand their petition into a statewide movement. Nate Cohn put it in clear terms: “Imagine, for a moment, that in the last election Mr. Biden had lost every single voter in Dearborn, Hamtramck and Dearborn Heights—the three Michigan townships where Arab Americans make up at least 30 percent of the population. He still would have won Michigan—and still would have won it by more than he did Wisconsin, Arizona or Georgia.”

The question now is: Will Biden take “yes” for an answer?

In recent weeks, Team Biden has acted increasingly nervous about losing Michigan over Gaza. This was because the squeaky wheel gets the grease—progressive activists and the media want Biden to toss Israel under the bus, and they have amplified the call to do so well beyond the proportional representation of the electorate who share their view.

So Biden sent emissaries to Dearborn to grovel; he signed an executive order creating a special sanctions category for Jews who live beyond the Green Line; he chastised Israel’s counteroffensive as “over the top”; he has increasingly picked fights with Benjamin Netanyahu over ancillary issues.

The numbers never really supported this panic, but now that we’ve tested it in the field, we can finally move on. Can’t we?

What’s the harm in not moving on, in dwelling on this vocal fringe and trying to appease them? The answer is that Biden would be trading down, vote-wise.

Coinciding with yesterday’s Michigan primary was the latest Harvard/Harris monthly poll of Biden’s presidency and the issues that impact it. According to the poll, consistent with its past results, the country remains pro-Israel. Israel aid is more popular than Ukraine aid, two-thirds support Israel’s ground invasion of Gaza, and a supermajority believe there should be no ceasefire without the return of the hostages held by Hamas.

Now, in a sense, the president shouldn’t need this poll, because dropping his support for Israel would be a moral outrage of a fairly high order. We support our democratic allies against genocidal terrorist regimes. But it’s also true that it’s in his interest and that reversing course would cost Biden more votes than he’d gain from the Detroit-Metro area for throwing Hamas a lifeline.

The larger concern about Biden is that he is tearing up the playbook that got him here in the first place. “Get off Twitter,” he told Donald Trump during a 2020 debate. That was emblematic of Biden’s approach: His rivals were varying degrees of Extremely Online—addicted to the dopamine hits of social media and unable to see outside that extremely unrepresentative bubble. But this time, Biden’s campaign is too online. They are trapped in a prison of their own making, like a doomsday prepper stuck in his safe room long after the all-clear.

You can’t out-online Donald Trump. Biden used to know this. If he’s given up on Joe being Joe, the voters will respond in kind.

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