How did this Michigan city with a high Arab-American population vote for both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump?


Dearborn, Mich., has one of the largest Arab-American populations in the U.S. So how did Donald “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” Trump win the city?

Trump pulled in a plurality of Dearborn’s Republican voters during the state’s primary election on Tuesday while on the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders also received a majority of the votes on his way to winning the state’s delegates.

The Dearborn Press and Guide shows Trump topping the Dearborn polls by a few hundred votes—3,196 to John Kasich’s 2,447. Sanders’ win in the city was more solid, beating Hillary Clinton 7,258 to 4,837.

The Sanders win is understandable, even if polls prior to the primary seemed to suggest he might not win. He made a big push in Dearborn prior to the election, holding rallies and even releasing an Arabic-language radio ad. We don’t know the exact numbers of how Dearborn’s Muslims voted, but it’s hard to imagine he won the city by more than 2,000 votes without Muslim support

Where did the Sanders campaign get this idea that he can win Michigan?
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) March 2, 2016

But how did Trump win in a city estimated to have a 30% Muslim population, where The Daily Beast found extensive anxiety over the Republican’s candidacy on the eve of the primary?

“A lot of people are terrified, if you want the truth,” Michigan immigration lawyer Muna Jondy told The Daily Beast. “One of his main campaign points is targeting Muslims. And already we feel like we’re targeted, even with a Democratic president for eight years.”

A survey by the Council on American-Islamic Relations did find that Donald Trump was the most popular Republican candidate with Muslim voters. But at 11%, that puts him below both Bernie Sanders (25%) and Hillary Clinton  (46%).

The poll lends credence to the possibility Dearborn’s Muslim voters flocked to the Democratic primary instead, leaving Trump to get his narrow 749-vote victory with the remaining voters.  And if that CAIR poll is accurate, there’s still 11% of Muslim voters CAIR says support Trump. Democratic voters did outnumber Republicans in Dearborn’s primary, 60 to 40%.

The #MuslimsforTrump hashtag could also be responsible, but judging on the handful of tweets using it, that seems unlikely.

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