In a year of unprecedented crises, President Trump’s message isn’t resonating with what Michiganders care about most.
MICHIGAN — President Donald Trump has taken stances recently that have alienated fellow conservatives and even his own allies as the nation overcomes the deadly pandemic and now demands police reform through protests.
It’s happening in Michigan, too — a critical swing state.
Here’s a look at Trump’s handling of the three biggest issues of the moment in 2020 and how it’s not aligning with most Michiganders’ core beliefs.
Trump’s Hostility Toward Protesters
Demonstrations nationwide in the wake of George Floyd’s death have been a target of Trump’s fury. His attitudes toward the protest have drawn sharp criticism from moderates, reports Vox. And those moderates include two conservatives deeply tied to Michigan.
Rep. Justin Amash (I-Cascade Twp.) has introduced legislation to make seeking justice by suing police officers more attainable, and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), son of Michigan Gov. George Romney (R) has joined marches calling for justice for Black Americans.
Michiganders have also been engaging in demonstrations from coast to coast. From walking an iconic Detroit bridge to walking alongside police in Flint to facing down tear gas in Kalamazoo, demonstrators have made urgent change a clear and resounding issue in the state.
And Michigan is already working on reforms to policies practiced by the Michigan State Police, and new legislation has been introduced that aims to reduce issues like implicit bias among police. Michigan’s reformist approach stands in stark contrast to Trump.
Trump’s Coronavirus Strategy
Trump’s approach to the coronavirus pandemic has been wildly unpopular in Michigan, The ‘Gander reported. This is especially clear when contrasted to Michigan’s Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who has emerged as a national political leader during the pandemic.
Gov. Whitmer has testified to Congress about states’ lack of federal support as they’ve attempted to manage the crisis, and she has charted an approach to economic reengagement designed to operate in phases to mitigate the risks of a second wave. This in contrast to the approach favored by Trump: reopening quickly and staying open, even if a second wave of the pandemic does come.
Worse, the lack of leadership from the federal level has likely cost lives, according to national leader on the pandemic Dr. Anthony Fauci. With Detroit being one of the worst-hit cities in America, that lack of leadership is keenly felt in Michigan.
Readers of The ‘Gander also wanted to see a shift in leadership style when Trump visited the state last month, calling on him to wear a mask like Ford employees at the factory he visited were required to. Trump refused to do so in public, saying he didn’t want to “give the press the pleasure” of seeing him in a mask.
Trump’s Opposition to Vote-by-Mail
While Michigan was dealing both with a once-in-a-century pandemic and an even rarer extreme flood, Trump threatened to withhold an undefined form of funding to the state because of Michigan’s policy allowing and encouraging vote-by-mail during the pandemic.
As The ‘Gander reported, Trump got into a Twitter feud with Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson who corrected inaccurate information he was tweeting about Michigan’s vote-by-mail policies. Those policies were part of citizen-led initiatives passed in 2018 to make voting more accessible. Twitter itself has even fact-checked Trump’s claims.
In May, Michigan overwhelmingly showed its support for mail-in voting. In an election that traditionally gets a small fraction of voter turnout, Michigan smashed records with one in four eligible voters casting a ballot — and nearly all of them did so by mail. There is no evidence of the massive mail-in voting fraud that Trump insists exists.
And it’s a conspiracy that doesn’t resonate with Americans as a whole.
Pew found that 70% of Americans think that anyone who wishes to vote by mail should be able to do so, regardless of reason.