Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer was a relative unknown around the country until the past two months. Her handling of the response to the coronavirus pandemic in her state brought her into the national spotlight. She went from being just another politician to being on the shortlist of contenders for Joe Biden’s vice-presidential running mate.
But with the massive controversy surrounding her handling of the lockdown in Michigan, and with angry citizens accusing her of being an authoritarian, would she still be qualified to run alongside Joe Biden in November? Let’s take a look at her track record.
Whitmer served as a Democrat leader in the Michigan Senate before running for governor of Michigan in 2018. In that election, she handily defeated Michigan Attorney General Bill Schutte for the governor’s seat. I am personally very well acquainted with Governor Whitmer. I was a resident of Michigan in 2018 and cast my vote against her. She ran on “fixing the damn roads” (because if you’re from Michigan, you know there are two seasons: Winter and pothole season) but she still has not fulfilled that promise. Her solution for funding the road repairs was to institute a 45- cent gas tax, which was dead on arrival in the Republican-controlled state legislature.
She campaigned on being a uniting candidate that would “build bridges” to those on the other side of the aisle, which was a reference to the five-mile Mackinac Bridge which connects the Lower and Upper Peninsulas of the state. As governor, she has closed that metaphorical bridge and has been anything but a bipartisan governor.
Throughout the pandemic, Whitmer has been the most anti-liberty governor in the nation. Not only did she force businesses to close, but she also prevented families from visiting their rental properties in Northern Michigan, stopping them from visiting friends and family. She also shut down boating and fishing and even denied Michiganders the ability to buy seeds.
Our nation was founded on private property rights. The Constitution isn’t supposed to be suspended when there is a health emergency. By preventing people from traveling to their Northern properties, Governor Whitmer essentially tossed the Constitution into a paper shredder. It is just an outdated relic to her.
Full disclosure: My family has a cabin in Northern Michigan. I no longer live in Michigan, but I still travel to our cabin in the summertime. Whitmer’s order made me want to get on a plane and fly up there to stay at our cabin…just to see what happened.
That order has since been lifted, just in time for the Memorial Day weekend, which is the beginning of the summer tourism season in Northern Michigan.
Michiganders had enough and were the first state in which massive protests occurred at the state’s capitol. In Lansing, Operation Gridlock saw thousands of cars show up to honk their displeasure with Whitmer’s draconian executive orders and shut down the streets of the capital city. There have been several other protests on the Capitol grounds since that snowy day in April. (Yes, it snows in Michigan in April!)
And yet, at the same time in April, Whitmer told former Obama advisor David Axelrod on his podcast that, even during the lockdown, abortion is “essential to sustaining life.”
Um…what? THIS is the woman Joe Biden is considering picking as his Vice President?
Oh, please do it, Joe. Trump would have so much material to choose from between the two of them.
Whitmer told Axelrod that “we stopped elective surgeries here in Michigan. Some people have tried to say that that type of procedure is considered the same and that’s ridiculous. A woman’s healthcare, her whole future, her ability to decide if- and -when she starts a family is not an election, it is fundamental to her life,” Whitmer said. “It is life-sustaining and it’s something that government should not be getting in the middle of.”
Does this lady listen to what comes out of her mouth? This is the governor who has deemed that churches are not essential and buying seeds is a threat to public safety, but killing babies is essential. Talk about cognitive dissonance.
If Joe Biden is to win the presidency, he will likely need to turn Michigan blue again after President Trump shocked the political pundits in 2016 by defeating Hillary Clinton by a razor-thin margin in the Great Lake State. Whitmer has become a polarizing figure in the state and it isn’t clear at this point if she would help or hurt Biden’s chances of flipping the state back to the Dem side of the electoral ledger.
She may actually encourage more anti-lockdown voters to show up to the polls to cast a protest vote against her. Picking her as his VP might boomerang back on Biden.
On the plus side for Biden, Gretchen Whitmer is well-spoken and has a folksy Mid-Western personality that will appeal to voters in the “fly-over states,” part of the electorate that Hilary Clinton showed disdain for in 2016, particularly in Wisconsin. Clinton took the Badger State for granted and decided not to campaign very hard there, and it came back to bite her.
But despite Whitmer’s possible qualifications on paper, internal politics may make the Biden campaign pass her over.
Given Biden’s recent racist remarks, in which he said told African American voters that if they don’t vote for him, then “they ain’t black,” Biden has possibly backed himself into a corner. Depending on the public reaction to that remark, he may have no choice but to pick a black woman for VP as a way to show that he isn’t racist. White Candidates like Whitmer could be out of the running altogether.