Bernie Sanders Wins Big in Michigan with Muslim Population

Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Arab-American Muslim voters seal Bernie Sanders’ Michigan Primary victory.

The Bernie Sanders win in the Michigan Primary Tuesday has sent media pundits and political commentators into a frenzy. The statistics say it all: Dearborn, MI resident democrats voted overwhelmingly for the Democratic presidential nominee. This is surprising to many as Dearborn has a 40 percent Arab-American Muslim population. His win is impressive with 59 percent of the votes. In contrast, Clinton garnered only 39 percent. The media could not get wrap their collective heads around the fact that a predominantly Muslim area could support any Jewish candidate.

Arab Americans of all hues, including Chaldeans have mobilized and are closely watching the political process all across Michigan. A few of them are understandably anxious after Trump spouted his anti-Muslim rhetoric and some of them are trying to make their voices heard. Sanders spoke multiple times to a full theater which included a sizable portion of Arab-American Muslims. A few women wearing the hijab were also spotted. The Arab-American News endorsed Sanders during the last week of February.

The occurrence of Arab-American Muslims giving their votes to any Jewish candidate has struck a number of observers on social media as a unity symbol at the time of division. Not all Middle Easterners, however, support Sanders. The Iraqi Catholic or Chaldean community in Detroit has thrown their support behind Republican candidates. The Chaldean-American leaders met John Kasich- Republican presidential candidate and Governor of Ohio, to express concerns about the terrible state of Iraqi Christians. The community has also cooperated with Senator Marco Rubio- another Republican candidate and hailing from Florida. A person from the Chaldean-American community even expressed misgivings about the Christian plight in Iraq.

When it comes to Sanders attracting Muslim votes, television pundits like Chuck Todd and Lawrence O'Donnell marveled that the Democratic candidate was dominating the vote patterns. Brian Lehrer, the WNYC radio host, tweeted that the dominance of Sanders was a headline. Another media event dubbed the events as yet another more unusual data point in an election teeming with them.

This assumption that Muslims will never vote for a Jew was clearly not applicable in this particular case. It was clear that the mainstream media’s own prejudice was reflected in its editorials and the way reporting was done- utterly naïve and unsophisticated. The media has until now assiduously promoted a caricature of Arabs and Muslims. They were shocked that residents of Dearborn did not cry “intifada” against the Jewish Bernie Sanders.

Resources

Follow the Conversation on Twitter