With primary races for Congressional seats heating up in Metro Detroit, some candidates have seen now unprecedented amounts of outside campaign funds pumped into their coffers.
Most notably, those funds, raised by pro-Israeli occupation and pro-big business entities, have been directed to mainstream, pro-Israel Democrats in order defeat candidates associated with the progressive wing of the party: Rashida Tlaib and Andy Levin.
This week, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), in his endorsement of both candidates, took a jab at the outsider funds funneled in to defeat them.
New maps that came out of a citizen-led, independent redistricting effort have created new districts, with new constituencies and voting bases, for both candidates.
For example the Palestinian American Tlaib, who was known for representing a Detroit-heavy district, is now running for a district encompassing Dearborn and Dearborn Heights, but also northern cities like Southfield, which have previously been represented by a pro-Israeli occupation member of Congress.
The pro-Israel Urban Empowerment Action has planned to spend upwards of $1 million in campaign funds on one of Tlaib’s opponents in the August Democratic primary, Detroit City Clerk Janice Winfrey, for the newly formed 12th District. Winfrey is also being supported by the Pro-Israel America PAC.
It is no surprise… that a billionaire-funded super PAC is planning to spend $1 million to try and defeat Rashida in her re-election campaign. — U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
The Urban Empowerment Action PAC has received funding from a New York-based hedge fund. The hedge fund’s founder, Daniel Loeb, has donated money to right wing, pro-Zionist groups like the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces, Democratic Majority for Israel, Birthright Israel Foundation and more.
Sanders said this week that with corporations raking in massive profits and raising prices, working families need “fighters in Washington who are willing to take on the corporate greed in our country and the corrupt political system that sustains that greed.”
“Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib has been that fighter,” Sanders said in his endorsement message. “Over and over again she has taken on powerful special interests and fought for the working people in Michigan and across the country.
“It is no surprise, therefore, that a billionaire-funded super PAC is planning to spend $1 million to try and defeat Rashida in her re-election campaign. When members of Congress like Rashida take on special interests, the billionaires and their super PACs want them out. We cannot let that happen.”
Levin, who has criticized increased annexation and settlement building by the Israeli government in occupied Palestinian lands, but may not be as vocal about other Israeli atrocities as Tlaib, has seen the ire of the right-wing Israeli lobby American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
AIPAC’s political action committee has spent more than $300,000 on Haley Stevens, more than the PAC has directed to any other candidate in the 11th Congressional District race. Stevens has also received an endorsement from the Democratic Majority for Israel PAC.
“The right wing-funded super PAC run by AIPAC has found its newest progressive target in Congressman Andy Levin,” Sanders said. “Once again, these extremists are pouring millions of dollars into a congressional race to try to ensure the Democratic Party advances the agenda of powerful corporations and the billionaire class.
“Andy Levin is a strong pro-labor voice in Congress and he is the only Democrat in the race who understands that we have to be a party of the working class. He is not afraid of taking on powerful special interests and I am proud to stand with him.”
The right wing-funded super PAC run by AIPAC has found its newest progressive target in Congressman Andy Levin. — Bernie Sanders
AIPAC has also thrown support behind candidates in the pro-Trump wing of the Republican Party, especially those who have carried the conspiracy allegations of widespread voter fraud, which has never been proven, in the 2020 election that the former president lost.
Both Sanders and Tlaib have had wide and enduring support among Arab American voters in Metro Detroit, especially in Democratic voting bases in Dearborn and Dearborn Heights.
Levin also enjoy support from progressive Democratic groups, as well as Jewish leaders and organizations, including an ongoing strong relationship with the local Arab American population and local PACs like the Arab American Political Action Committee (AAPAC).
The Democrats are hoping to hold on to a thin majority in the U.S. Congress this August, with recent issues like abortion rights likely galvanizing voters to stave off another Republican wave.
The Michigan primary will be held on Tuesday, August 2.
Voters can see what candidates and proposals are their ballots, as well as register to vote and more, by visiting the Michigan Voter Information Center at Mvic.sos.state.mi.us