Vote Uncommitted Edition: The TakeAction News Digest

On Tuesday, March 5, 46,000 Minnesotans showed up at the polls and voted “Uncommitted” in the DFL presidential primary. I was one of them. Together we were 19% of the vote and we sent a clear message to President Joe Biden: permanent ceasefire now. 

Voters from every corner of Minnesota, from diverse backgrounds and across generations, took action for peace. The uncommitted electoral strategy is about winning a permanent ceasefire and stopping a genocide. It’s about us, our communities, and what we expect of our elected officials.  

For the past four months, TakeAction members and allies have come together every Tuesday to call other members, build community, and take action for a permanent ceasefire. In a sea of horrors and immense grief, we reject despair and choose hope through our words and actions. Thousands of us have made calls, sent emails, and rallied. We organize for peace in the streets, in the halls of policy making, and, yes, at the ballot box. 

At TakeAction we believe in using every tool in our toolbox to win the world our children and children across the globe deserve. Some are worried that an Uncommitted vote helps Donald Trump. It doesn’t. It’s a vote for peace, a vote for a permanent ceasefire, a vote to send a message within the Democratic party and to President Biden that our country must change course. It’s working. The Biden Administration’s rhetoric is changing and we must keep pushing forward for action.

Here’s one way you can act now. Many states still have upcoming primaries, including Wisconsin on April 2. Spread the word about the Uncommitted campaign to your friends and loved ones by sharing this blog post.  

There is no doubt that Donald Trump poses an immense threat to our communities and our democracy. You are not confused about that and neither am I. Our democracy is strongest when more people are participating. So, this is not a moment to lean into fear and hand wringing. It is a moment to dig in and to organize bigger, bolder, and with more courage than ever. 

For me, I will vote for the best candidate on the ballot in November. Frankly, I expect to be disappointed with my options. But I am planning for it to be my smallest political act of the year. Everything we do before November 5 and everything we do after is how we put our faith, our values, and our vision for the future into action. 

So what can we learn from Uncommitted that can support us in organizing toward November? Let’s dig in.

1. Local leaders advocate for the power of Vote Uncommitted 

Ahead of Super Tuesday, local leaders made the case for why voting uncommitted is powerful and necessary. They are worth listening to: “Voting uncommitted is an action to hold our president accountable—an action that is at the very heart of our democracy. It is a call for compassion, not for Democrats to abandon their voting plans in this election year—but for President Biden to not abandon the 80% of Democrats who support an immediate and lasting ceasefire. So far, over 30,000 Palestinians have been killed, as Americans watch the toll of death and devastation rise every day. Voting uncommitted is a plea to President Biden to end the suffering of Palestinians.”

2. Gov. Tim Walz affirms Vote Uncommitted

In this clip, Gov. Tim Walz echoes the sentiment behind voting “uncommitted,” affirming, “They are asking to be heard, and that’s precisely what they should be doing. Their message is clear – they consider this situation intolerable, and they believe more can be done. The president is listening.” Walz emphasizes the potential to regain the support of those who took this action, contingent upon President Biden undertaking appropriate measures in response.

3. Young voters turn out

The momentum behind voting uncommitted has notably resonated with younger voters, who have big discontent with many Biden Administration policies. This not only signals potential challenges for Biden’s re-election but also underscores a growing shift in the political landscape.This sentiment among young voters reflects a broader trend of nuanced engagement, versus the conventional assumptions that young people are “low information voters.” 

4. Shaping democracy on our terms

The vote uncommitted movement exemplifies our multiracial, multigenerational movement meeting the moment we are in and demanding a politics that represents our values. It underscores our shared expectation of a higher standard from elected representatives. The Minnesota victory is a lesson that we can do our politics on our terms. See where the movement is going next and how to support other states with a vote uncommitted campaign

5. Endorsing a permanent ceasefire

Uncommitted DFL voters are actively choosing to participate and we should celebrate that. Our danger in November is not that too many people will show up for an authoritarian candidate, but that too many pro-democracy voters will choose to sit this election out. The choice to vote uncommitted is grounded in a sharp analysis that President Biden wields the authority to promptly institute a lasting ceasefire in Gaza, presenting a tangible opportunity for him to regain support. As succinctly articulated by our own Walter Fromm our desire is for Biden to demonstrate a fervent opposition to the prospect of Donald Trump returning to office: “What I want more than anything is for Joe Biden to act like he doesn’t want Donald Trump in office.”

6. Organizers advocate for Vote Uncommitted

Experienced organizers, well-versed in the workings of the Democratic Party and the electoral process, are among the staunchest advocates for Vote Uncommitted. Their deep engagement lends weight to this call for action: “As someone who has organized Democrats for the better part of my adult life, it makes my job harder when the president uses genocidal rhetoric. This is a multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural, multifaith coalition of people who are saying, ‘We do not want to be funding a genocide,’ And we want our president to listen now.”  Asma Mohammed, who led the Vote Uncommitted MN organizing, is raising the alarm inside the DFL. The multiracial, multigenerational coalition Democrats need to win in November is fraying and the person who can hold it together by changing course is President Joe Biden. 

7. We expect more

“But isn’t Biden already working for a ceasefire?” Maybe. And President Biden and our Federal delegation can do more to stop the US from fueling the fire: The Biden Administration has secretly approved and delivered more than 100 arms sales to Israel since October, including precision-guided munitions and small arms. Today, more than 30,000 Palestinians – half of whom are children – have been killed using those weapons. Contributing more than $3.3 billion to fund a genocide is no small act on Biden’s part. 

8. Up next in Washington: 

In Washington’s upcoming primary, calls for voting uncommitted emphasize that voter support should not be presumed but earned. Bothell City Councilmember Rami Al-Kabra: “It is time for us to hold our president accountable, and that’s by using the most precious tool we have — and that is our right to vote…Voting uncommitted will “let President Biden know that our votes are not to be taken for granted.” The campaign earned the support of Macklemore and is going full steam ahead. 

9. “Focus on the people, not the figureheads.”

Here is an amazing video from Imani Barbarin, TikTok creator, @crutches_and_spice, asserts that the only path to democratic victory is through the people.

10. Working Families Party responds to President Biden’s State of the Union Address:

Last night, the Working Families Party responded to the State of the Union Address in words that greatly encapsulate what it is we’re organizing for in our actions. “Wars in Palestine and Trump-era immigration policies are out of step with our values and endangering the coalition that elected you. The coalition you need to come together again. But, here is the good news: there’s still time for you to unite that coalition — if you heed the calls from the people.”

11. “We don’t want his legacy to be genocide”

A powerful statement from Asma Mohammed Nizami, an organizer with the Vote Uncommitted MN campaign in this piece in Rolling Stone. As I (Elianne) shared in the article, the ballot box is another tool to get through to President Biden and save lives in Gaza.

12. Protest-vote movement gains traction across states

“One of the coolest comments that I’ve read is people saying this is the most organized they’ve seen Democrats in a really long time,” said Asma Nizami, a spokesperson for Minnesota’s “uncommitted” campaign. “We’re doing it across state lines and we’re doing it together.

13. We are clear about the threat of Trump

“What we are up against in November is a really dangerous candidate in Donald Trump, who will do immense harm to our communities, and is a real existential threat to our democracy — that is real and we see that. But right now, we’re focusing on sending a message to President Biden, who is in control right now.” This was a key part of the Vote Uncommitted MN analysis that I (Elianne) pointed to in this New York Times piece

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