Then again, the very fact that Trump is president at all shows that holding the high ground, though nice, is hardly an insurmountable advantage. Kid Rock is a long shot, but that hardly means he has no shot. As with Trump, name recognition goes a long way. Hundreds of millions of people know who Kid Rock is, and millions of them are Michigan residents eligible and willing to vote for him. As with Trump, an unknown but significant bloc of voters is open to voting for a celebrity who represents himself as bucking the system. However one defines it, the system is in terrible shape, and it’s Trump’s system, but scapegoats for failure still abound, and Congressional Democrats have an approval rating even lower than Trump’s. Kid Rock’s lack of political experience is a selling point no less than a demerit, and his absence of a prior record in office shouldn’t conceal the fact that, as a diamond-selling pop musician, he has a gift for crafting punchy slogans and keeping an audience in thrall. Though he’s fallen from the prominence he commanded in the Y2K period, he still maintains a loyal fan base that’s kept him comfortably afloat in an industry facing dire times.

As New York’s own Ed Kilgore accurately notes, Rock’s libertarian rhetoric of simplifying law codes, tax codes, and health care has an uncommonly high hat/cattle ratio. But simple messages, delivered frequently and repeated with enthusiasm, help win elections far more than fact-checking and bet-hedging. The Michigan Senate election is Stabenow’s to lose, but if she and her party fail to offer clear policy prescriptions (Medicare for all being an obvious example) of their own, it’s possible, if not quite plausible, that she could lose it.