Fear of Commitment

Mayor of Dearborn, Michigan, Abdullah Hammoud delivers remarks at an "Uncommitted for Joe Biden" primary election night watch party on February 27, 2024. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

The biggest political story in America as I write this is the share of Democrats in Michigan who preferred to vote for “uncommitted” in Tuesday’s primary than for Joe Biden. When the smoke cleared, 13.3 percent had done so.

The share of Republicans who voted for Nikki Haley over Donald Trump was precisely twice that.

For days, Trump’s critics on the left and right have complained of a double standard in which the media plays up Biden’s electoral weakness while downplaying his opponent’s. If an incumbent president were to lose 40 percent of the primary vote in an early state, they argue, newspapers typically would screech with alarm about dissension within his party and electoral doom looming in November.

Well, Trump is—basically—an incumbent president for Republican purposes. And he lost 40 percent in South Carolina.

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