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Arab Americans in Michigan: Did We Do That?

posted on: Mar 9, 2016

BY: Fred Shwaery/Contributing Writer

Our weekly column, Arab America Picks a President, has been about providing information you can use to get involved in this election. We’ve left the late-breaking news to the major news outlets and one-sided comments to the political influencers.

What happened last night in Michigan changed things. Did our community move the Democratic primary to a Bernie Sanders win? Many Arab Americans think so.

For weeks, polls had Hillary Clinton with a comfortable lead with Michigan voters. Last week, her polling numbers gave her more than a 20 point lead. Sanders chipped away at it until he caught her last night. More than 1.1 million Democrats voted in the primary and Sanders won by 14,353 votes or about 1% of the total vote.

This morning, The Detroit Free Press wrote about Arab American involvement in this race. Arab America talked with Arab Americans involved with the Sanders campaign. They noted that Sanders took 63% of the vote in Dearborn, a city well-known for the high percentage Arab Americans living there.

Arab Americans in Detroit tell us that there was unity in the community. Community elders, youth, and scholars came together to back Sanders. They support his positions both domestically and internationally. One Sanders backer said that “Many of our people have seen revolutions in the Arab world and are willing to back a revolutionary leader here.”

The fact that the Arab American News endorsed Bernie Sanders certainly had an impact on the primary outcome.

It will be interesting to see if the Arab American voter turnout has an impact on other locations with large Arab American communities. Pay attention to the Arab American turnout next Tuesday in Ohio and Florida elections.

Regardless of which candidate we vote for, it is important that we vote. Candidates and political party officials will notice and reach out to us as we continue to be influencers in elections.