Opinion Lucky for Whitmer, the moderate Michigan GOP is an endangered species

cigaretteman

HR King
May 29, 2001
72,219
51,898
113
By Micheline Maynard
Contributing columnist
July 26, 2022 at 4:06 p.m. EDT
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) first term has been wracked by turmoil. She has dealt with a bitter backlash over pandemic restrictions, been the subject of a kidnapping plot and sparred repeatedly with former president Donald Trump. She has even taken heat over a private plane flight to visit her ailing father.
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But, as the state’s Michigan’s GOP gubernatorial primary nears on Aug. 2, the Democratic governor seems to be sitting comfortably above the chaos among her potential Republican challengers.
Five of 10 Republican candidates were kicked off the ballot last month for submitting fraudulent petition signatures, prompting the best-known among the disqualified, former Detroit police chief James Craig, to run as a write-in candidate.
One of the surviving five, Ryan Kelley, was arrested by the FBI for participating in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Kelley has pleaded not guilty, and an appeals court ruled he can stay on the ballot.
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The putative front-runner, Tudor Dixon, is a Grand Rapids conservative commentator who in mid-July held a within-the-margin-of-error lead. She is backed by the wealthy and politically influential Dick and Betsy DeVos (education secretary in the Trump administration). Dixon has fervently courted Trump’s endorsement — so far, unsuccessfully — and embraced plenty of MAGA-friendly issues. (She thinks Trump won Michigan in 2020, even though he trailed Joe Biden by 154,000 votes.)
All this has not exactly aided the GOP dream of unseating Whitmer. A recent Detroit News/WDIV poll showed the governor comfortably ahead of all her challengers in head-to-head match ups, including leading Dixon, 50.7 percent to 40.3 percent.
How could a state once known for producing moderate Republicans get to this point? Michigan, after all, gave us former president Gerald Ford, and governors George W. Romney and William G. Milliken, who, between them, kept the governor’s mansion in GOP hands from 1963 to 1983.
You can partly blame demographics. Many of the old-school Republicans of my parents’ era are dying or are retired (some might say hiding) from active participation. For whatever reason, their courtliness has not survived, perhaps because the swerve at the national party’s top was toward nastiness.
My mother, a staunch Michigan Republican, started worrying about this more than two decades ago. In 2000, watching the Bush-Gore race, she worried that the mean turn politics had taken, as well as intense scrutiny of politicians’ personal lives, would drive good potential candidates away. She wondered, “Who are they going to get to run?”
Now, in the wild Michigan GOP primary and in too many Republican races across the country, instead of men and women of distinction, we get amateurs who cry victim at every opportunity. That includes, astonishingly, when they fail to follow a basic civic rite that earlier generations had little problem handling: collecting petition signatures to win a spot on the ballot.
My mother approached this task with a reverence that matched her activity in our Catholic church’s Madonna Guild. As a child, I remember seeing her big brown clipboard, holding a petition with neat rows of spaces for names, addresses and signatures. When she filled a page, she signed it and turned it into the local party office for verification.
Contrast the care she and other campaign volunteers back then took with the sloppy approach that the disqualified GOP five delegated this crucial task. Lacking the networks that seasoned party veterans could boast, they simply hired petition circulators.
Instead of rounding up real voters, these paid collectors turned in page after page of fake names, not just for governor but for other races. Eye-popping stories have emerged of petitions left sitting out on picnic tables for anyone to walk by and sign.
The irony of this mess is that people in Michigan are fired up to vote. The Detroit News/WDIV poll found that state residents scored 9.2 on a scale of one to 10 when it comes to being motivated to go to the polls. People who consider themselves “strong Democrats” ranked highest, with “strong Republicans” right behind them.
In other words, the ousted Republican candidates didn’t have to cheat: If they’d put the time in, they could have landed on the ballot, legally.
Now contrast the Republican petition debacle with the largely Democratic-supported ballot drive to codify abortion rights in the Michigan constitution this fall collected the most signatures of any initiative in state history.
Although the flood of more than 750,000 signatures has yet to be verified, organizers of the Reproductive Freedom for All campaign are confident they easily met the threshold of 450,000 valid names required to make it onto the ballot.
The professionalism of that signature-collection campaign only underlined the cynical amateurishness of the GOP candidates’ petition effort.
If voters reelect Whitmer this fall, despite the tumult of her first term, it may be because she represents a calmer bet, compared with the alternative. For that, thanks in part will be due to the vanishing of Michigan’s moderate Republicans.

 

Menace Sockeyes

HR Legend
Sep 2, 2010
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59,457
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Michigan is pretty much opposite of Iowa: there the Republican Party is a mess and the Democrats know how to exploit it.
 

AuroraHawk

HR Heisman
Dec 18, 2004
6,313
8,386
113
By Micheline Maynard
Contributing columnist
July 26, 2022 at 4:06 p.m. EDT
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) first term has been wracked by turmoil. She has dealt with a bitter backlash over pandemic restrictions, been the subject of a kidnapping plot and sparred repeatedly with former president Donald Trump. She has even taken heat over a private plane flight to visit her ailing father.
Sign up for a weekly roundup of thought-provoking ideas and debates
But, as the state’s Michigan’s GOP gubernatorial primary nears on Aug. 2, the Democratic governor seems to be sitting comfortably above the chaos among her potential Republican challengers.
Five of 10 Republican candidates were kicked off the ballot last month for submitting fraudulent petition signatures, prompting the best-known among the disqualified, former Detroit police chief James Craig, to run as a write-in candidate.
One of the surviving five, Ryan Kelley, was arrested by the FBI for participating in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Kelley has pleaded not guilty, and an appeals court ruled he can stay on the ballot.
ADVERTISING
The putative front-runner, Tudor Dixon, is a Grand Rapids conservative commentator who in mid-July held a within-the-margin-of-error lead. She is backed by the wealthy and politically influential Dick and Betsy DeVos (education secretary in the Trump administration). Dixon has fervently courted Trump’s endorsement — so far, unsuccessfully — and embraced plenty of MAGA-friendly issues. (She thinks Trump won Michigan in 2020, even though he trailed Joe Biden by 154,000 votes.)
All this has not exactly aided the GOP dream of unseating Whitmer. A recent Detroit News/WDIV poll showed the governor comfortably ahead of all her challengers in head-to-head match ups, including leading Dixon, 50.7 percent to 40.3 percent.
How could a state once known for producing moderate Republicans get to this point? Michigan, after all, gave us former president Gerald Ford, and governors George W. Romney and William G. Milliken, who, between them, kept the governor’s mansion in GOP hands from 1963 to 1983.
You can partly blame demographics. Many of the old-school Republicans of my parents’ era are dying or are retired (some might say hiding) from active participation. For whatever reason, their courtliness has not survived, perhaps because the swerve at the national party’s top was toward nastiness.
My mother, a staunch Michigan Republican, started worrying about this more than two decades ago. In 2000, watching the Bush-Gore race, she worried that the mean turn politics had taken, as well as intense scrutiny of politicians’ personal lives, would drive good potential candidates away. She wondered, “Who are they going to get to run?”
Now, in the wild Michigan GOP primary and in too many Republican races across the country, instead of men and women of distinction, we get amateurs who cry victim at every opportunity. That includes, astonishingly, when they fail to follow a basic civic rite that earlier generations had little problem handling: collecting petition signatures to win a spot on the ballot.
My mother approached this task with a reverence that matched her activity in our Catholic church’s Madonna Guild. As a child, I remember seeing her big brown clipboard, holding a petition with neat rows of spaces for names, addresses and signatures. When she filled a page, she signed it and turned it into the local party office for verification.
Contrast the care she and other campaign volunteers back then took with the sloppy approach that the disqualified GOP five delegated this crucial task. Lacking the networks that seasoned party veterans could boast, they simply hired petition circulators.
Instead of rounding up real voters, these paid collectors turned in page after page of fake names, not just for governor but for other races. Eye-popping stories have emerged of petitions left sitting out on picnic tables for anyone to walk by and sign.
The irony of this mess is that people in Michigan are fired up to vote. The Detroit News/WDIV poll found that state residents scored 9.2 on a scale of one to 10 when it comes to being motivated to go to the polls. People who consider themselves “strong Democrats” ranked highest, with “strong Republicans” right behind them.
In other words, the ousted Republican candidates didn’t have to cheat: If they’d put the time in, they could have landed on the ballot, legally.
Now contrast the Republican petition debacle with the largely Democratic-supported ballot drive to codify abortion rights in the Michigan constitution this fall collected the most signatures of any initiative in state history.
Although the flood of more than 750,000 signatures has yet to be verified, organizers of the Reproductive Freedom for All campaign are confident they easily met the threshold of 450,000 valid names required to make it onto the ballot.
The professionalism of that signature-collection campaign only underlined the cynical amateurishness of the GOP candidates’ petition effort.
If voters reelect Whitmer this fall, despite the tumult of her first term, it may be because she represents a calmer bet, compared with the alternative. For that, thanks in part will be due to the vanishing of Michigan’s moderate Republicans.

My brother in law lives in Grand Rapids area and has been a life-long conservative. Bitched and moaned about Whitmer during the early part of COVID. Ridiculed Obama incessantly. Called me after watching some of the 1/6 hearings and SCOTUS' Dodd opinion and informed me that until MAGA is stripped from the current GOP, he'll vote Blue. Firmly believes that it will be the only way to rid the GOP of (his words) "the f--king bat-shit crazy."
 

Menace Sockeyes

HR Legend
Sep 2, 2010
41,779
59,457
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Want to see a big part of why Trump lost Michigan? The old school, Dutch Reformed West Michigan Republicans don’t like him. Here’s the Republicans in Districts 1, 2, 3, and (the crazy outlier) 6:
3-E2965-B6-8-E87-4-B2-E-B400-D9-E79-C3-FF704.jpg
Useful map ^
My brother in law lives in Grand Rapids area and has been a life-long conservative. Bitched and moaned about Whitmer during the early part of COVID. Ridiculed Obama incessantly. Called me after watching some of the 1/6 hearings and SCOTUS' Dodd opinion and informed me that until MAGA is stripped from the current GOP, he'll vote Blue. Firmly believes that it will be the only way to rid the GOP of (his words) "the f--king bat-shit crazy."