Although President Joe Biden has long clinched enough delegates for the Democratic presidential nomination, there remains a persistent thorn plaguing his campaign.

At the August Democratic National Convention, there will be a small contingent of uncommitted delegates, serving as a reminder that the Democratic Party remains split over the IsraelHamas war.


So far during the noncompetitive Democratic primary season, more than 682,000 people have cast an “uncommitted” vote or opted to write in a candidate.

It’s a notable showing given that the national uncommitted movement was mostly based in a handful of states, including Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Wisconsin, and Washington.

Other states created “Abandon Biden” or “Leave it Blank” movements with the similar goal of protest voting against Biden due to the Israel-Hamas war.

There are currently 35 uncommitted delegates as of late May compared to Biden’s 3,664 delegates, according to the Associated Press. That number will likely grow the closer the convention gets, and it represents an increase from just two uncommitted delegates that resulted from the Michigan primary. (There are also seven delegates that have not been assigned).

Andra Gillespie, Emory University professor and political analyst, cautioned that the small number of delegates would not disrupt the convention in August.

“This group of uncommitted delegates certainly will have a voice and will certainly be represented and exists to kind of highlight the concerns that folks and the progressive wing of the Democratic Party have with the administration’s response to the war in Gaza,” Gillespie said. “But when you only have a few dozen delegates, out of thousands of delegates, you don’t have the type of pool to demand, for instance, a seat at the table.”

The protest votes against Biden began in earnest during Michigan’s primary in late February when more than 101,000 Democrats, including liberal Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), snubbed the president and voted “uncommitted.”

It was the first major testament of Democratic displeasure with Biden’s handling of the crisis in Gaza, and the movement to vote “uncommitted” spread to Super Tuesday states and beyond.

The coalition of those voters abandoning Biden in the primary — Muslim, Arab, progressive, and young voters — make up a sizable portion that could either lift Biden up to reelection or sink his campaign in the seven crucial battleground states that will determine the election. They could also use the 35 delegates and counting as leverage during the convention.

Minnesota produced 11 uncommitted delegates, the highest of any state so far that has held presidential primaries. The Trump campaign recently indicated the state is in play for 2024 though Biden campaign officials downplayed those statements.

In Kentucky, which recently held primaries Tuesday, there were eight uncommitted delegates, the second-highest of the states that have voted.

Individual states have not yet announced the names of the 35 uncommitted delegates, as they are still deciding representation.

For instance, Rhode Island’s one uncommitted delegate won’t be selected until June 9, when the state Democratic Party convention is held. Minnesota’s delegates won’t be chosen until the state party convention scheduled for May 31-June 2 in Duluth.

Michigan delegates won’t be chosen until a June 1 meeting of the Michigan Democratic State Central Committee.

A recent YouGov poll commissioned by Americans for Justice in Palestine Action showed one in five voters in five battleground states is less likely to vote for Biden because of the Middle East conflict. In contrast, at least 40% of voters in each state said that Biden imposing a lasting ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, conditioning aid to Israel, and ensuring humanitarian aid would make them more likely to vote for Biden.

The poll surveyed 500 Democratic and independent voters each in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Arizona.

In Pennsylvania, likely the most important battleground state Biden has to win in 2024, 45.8% of voters said imposing an immediate and permanent ceasefire would make them more likely to vote for Biden.

“The results are clear, even more voters in PA remain conflicted about casting their votes for
Biden due to his handling of the crisis in Gaza than were represented in the primary election
results,” Miracle Jones, an organizer with Uncommitted PA, told the Washington Examiner in a statement.

More than 60,000 Democrats opted not to vote for Biden during Pennsylvania’s primary in late April, instead opting to write in a candidate.

The results surpassed the goal of Uncommitted PA, the group that spearheaded the campaign, which aimed for at least 40,000 “uncommitted” votes during the primary. Biden narrowly defeated Trump in the Keystone State by a little over 80,000 votes.

The protest votes against Biden did not ultimately end up with any uncommitted delegates from Pennsylvania after the primary results were released.

“The poll clearly names moving towards de-escalatory policy in Gaza will not hurt Biden’s vote share, but not doing so will,” Jones continued. “The mounting death toll of the Palestinian people, journalists, and aid workers coupled with the findings of international human rights organizations and the mass approval for ceasefire and confirmed aid to Israel should be enough to push Biden to change course. When Pennsylvania shows up to the polls for the historic November election, we will inevitably see fractured Democratic election results if Biden refuses to drastically change course now.”

Another recent poll from Harvard CAPS-Harris showed only 36% of participants approved of Biden’s handling of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

On the Republican side, former President Donald Trump has 2,219 delegates, while former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has amassed 97 delegates despite dropping out of the race, and there are 12 delegates that have not yet been assigned.

At roughly this point in the 2012 presidential cycle, when former President Barack Obama was running for reelection, there were 36 uncommitted delegates.

Ultimately, by the time of the 2012 convention, there would be 72 uncommitted delegates. Yet, Obama would go on to win the election.

The August convention will be the first in-person convention since 2016 due to the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Organizers are working to ensure pro-Palestinian activists won’t derail the Chicago meeting by protesting outside and are working to ensure their voices are heard.

“Our convention will be a celebration of all that unites us as Democrats because though we may not see eye to eye on every issue, we all operate from the same set of shared values,” Emily Soong, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Convention, told the Washington Examiner in a statement.

“At the end of the day, the vast majority of delegates attending the convention will be there to enthusiastically support the Biden-Harris ticket,” Soong continued. “But we will continue to work around the clock to plan a successful convention, welcome all our delegates to Chicago in August, and bring the story of our party and president to the American people.”

Ahead of the convention, both Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have called for an immediate ceasefire in the conflict after their reluctance to do so in the wake of the Oct. 7 surprise Hamas attack against Israel.

But the administration has wavered on cutting off American financial and weaponry support to Israel, a key demand for ceasefire activists. Republicans have pounced on Biden’s attempts to create conditions for aid to Israel and the intraparty tensions Democrats are facing.

It is unclear how many “uncommitted” voters will hold out against Biden in November, although the weeks leading up to the convention present a chance for the Biden campaign to assuage concerns.

“Some of them probably are truly uncommitted and will not support or vote for Biden in the upcoming election,” Gillespie said. “But I think some of them are using the primaries as an opportunity to express their dissent now because they intend to hold their nose and vote for Biden, despite the disagreement on these issues.”

The Biden campaign did not respond to the Washington Examiner‘s request for comment.


But Democratic National Convention Committee spokesman Matt Hill told the Washington Examiner in a statement the party will build upon the 2020 convention, which was all virtual, for a more cohesive 2024 experience.

“Our plan for the convention is about pulling in more Americans than ever before,” Hill said. “Democrats are building on the success of the virtual 2020 convention while reintroducing the traditional and beloved elements of conventions past, including the seating of delegates on the floor of the United Center.”