Is A ‘Red Wave’ In November A Sure Thing?
Question 1): Over the years, elections in the middle of a presidential term, either first or second, have tended to yield substantial gains for whichever political party is out of power. That means the Democrats would seem to be in trouble, especially with President Joe BIDEN’s “positive” polling numbers sinking to mid-30s percentages and voters believing that the nation (and Michigan) are headed in the wrong direction. That’s the way it was in 2010, when Democrats took a “shellacking,” in the words of then-President Barack Obama. But the Democrats didn’t have an incumbent Michigan governor atop the ticket a dozen years ago, nor a sitting Attorney General or Secretary of State as they do now. If they had, would they have held on to those offices? No one has the answer to that, which is one reason this year’s election is intriguing. Is it “highly likely,” “somewhat likely” or just “somewhat probable” that the 2022 election in November will be a ‘red-wave’ election in Michigan? Or is it maybe not likely at all?
Answer 1): Adrian HEMOND, CEO of Grassroots Midwest, got it about right when he answered this question last week for MIRS newsletter. Hemond opined that IF the answer is not ‘highly likely’ it represents political malpractice on the part of Michigan Republicans. Yes, abortion may become a late-blooming issue that could help Democrats, but otherwise the Dems’ prospects appear bleak: There is an unpopular Democratic President facing his first mid-term election, and inflation is running rampant through the economy. Yet, Gov. Gretchen WHITMER, Jocelyn Benson, and Dana Nessel all look well-positioned to be re-elected at this point. If that happens, it would underscore an absolutely shameful performance by Republicans. It’s possible that the GOP could hold onto control of the state House and Senate and gain a 7/6 R/D edge in the Congressional delegation, but it’s hard to see them picking up any seats on the state educational boards or regaining a majority on the state Supreme Court. Republicans could withstand losing to both Benson and Nessel, but a big Whitmer win at the top of the ticket could produce an anemic Republican down-ballot result like 2014, when Gov. Rick Snyder and U.S. Senate nominee Terri Lynn Land ran abysmal campaigns, squandering a national red wave environment that otherwise might have prevailed in Michigan.
Question 2): Even if the likely Republican nominees for Secretary of State, and Attorney General, Kristina KARAMO and Matthew DePERNO, prove to be as disastrous as seems likely, will it matter if 2022 ends up being such a ‘red wave’ year that any Democratic incumbent is bound to lose?
Answer 2): Yes, it will matter if the GOP nominees for those two offices are ‘disastrous.’ It’s almost impossible to beat an incumbent SoS or A.G. under any circumstances — it’s happened only once in 38 contests since 1954. No ‘red wave’ is going to propel flawed nominees like Karamo and DePerno to victory, even against Benson and Nessel.
Question 3): What would be a bigger handicap for a Secretary of State candidate in 2022 — a Republican nominee on record claiming the 2020 election was fraudulent or a Democratic nominee being opposed to voter I.D. requirements?
Answer 3): Claiming the 2020 election was fraudulent would be disqualifying. The vast majority of voters, outside of paranoid corners of the Republican base, think such a charge is just plain crazy. Supporters of this theory come across as conspiracy-minded and cult-like in their beliefs. The GOP is right about one thing — most voters favor some sort of voter ID, while Democrats are on the wrong side of this issue. However, beware of false equivalency in this choice — a candidate who resists demands for increased voter ID will not alienate voters the way a nominee’s Trump-like insistence that the 2020 election was ‘stolen’ will.
Question 4): In spite of the large field of GOP gubernatorial candidates, is it actually down to just two or three bona fide contenders, with everyone else simply long shots?
Answer 4): Is there an 80-1 Kentucky Derby-like Rich Strike in this field? Hardly, but it’s also true that we can’t yet be sure who the top contenders are going to be. For one thing, we don’t know whether they will all qualify for the ballot. The charges of fraudulent or flawed petitions must be taken seriously. Candidates have been thrown off the ballot before, either by the Board of state Canvassers or the courts, and we won’t get an answer on that issue until the end of this month. We also don’t know yet whether Donald Trump will make an endorsement. If so, who gets it and when? Trump entered the fray in Ohio shortly before the GOP primary in the Buckeye State, and it seemed to work — J.D. Vance, Trump’s choice, catapulted from third place in the polls to Election Day victory in a multi-candidate field. The number of Republican candidates in Michigan looks likely to be much larger, so Trump’s impact could be even greater for whomever he picks. Trump obviously likes Tudor Dixon but is reluctant to back a candidate who languishes in low single digits in the polls and can’t compete with multi-millionaires Perry Johnson or Kevin Rinke for money. It seems increasingly unlikely James Craig can stay the course, whether he’s allowed to be on the ballot or not — his candidacy has proven to be the most inept of any serious gubernatorial contender in recent Michigan political history. Only a Trump endorsement could save Garrett Soldano, but that seems highly unlikely to happen, and even then probably wouldn’t be enough. As long as Trump stays out, RINKE stands a chance although his messaging after what was a clever opening TV ad (the Yugo) has been unable to break through, even with the increased recent quantity of his ads. In sum, there are nearly three months until the Aug. 8 primary, so it’s far too early to claim that the race for the GOP nod is down to a couple of candidates. At this point, there are likely four or five candidates who have a viable path to the nomination depending on who gets on the ballot.
John C Stewart says
so “on-point” that it hurts for this moderately-conservative Republican. You know Jocelyn Benson will have absentee ballots in the mail in 4 months. Republicans will NOT win statewide again unless the Party turns to a moderately-conservative candidate.
Hey Bill et al-the 93rd annual Holland tulip-time parade is this Saturday, May 14. True hard fact: The Governors Luncheon is canceled this year. Three years ago, Gov. Whitmer started her speech, “I want to thank you for the 5 votes I received from this side of the State.” Absolute verbatim quote. We all know her “tart” sense of humor, but instead of politicizing the talk, how about some positive credit to the west side of the State. (2nd. largest EV battery plant in Holland) Finally, GOV. WHITMER IS NOT WALKING IN THE HOLLAND PARADE ON SATURDAY, MAY 14, 2022.
Cheryl Krapf Haddock says
Totally agree Bill!!
Mark M. Koroi says
We remember when Candice Miller defeated 28-year incumbent Richard Austin to become Michigan Secretary of State.
She was the only Republican nominee ever to win Wayne County for a seat for statewide office.
Kristina Karamo is no Candice Miller.
Mark M. Koroi says
I am one of the 28 candidates that has been the target of petition challenges and do not know who is behind the challenge. Other judicial candidates – such as Regina Triplett and 3 challengers that filed against an incumbent in a Jackson County district court also are facing challenges.
Democrats as well as GOP candidates are facing challenges. Some have suspected some pro-Trump vote group is causing these challenges – however the Democrats are clearly and admittedly behind the challenges to Perry Johnson, James Craig, and Tudor Dixon.
“2,000 Mules”, by Dinesh D’Souza. Watch it. Trump DID win, the election WAS stolen, it appears.
“Claiming the 2020 election was fraudulent would be disqualifying. The vast majority of voters, outside of paranoid corners of the Republican base, think such a charge is just plain crazy.”
No, no, no. More than 70% of the Republican base thinks they 2020 election was stolen.