CLEVELAND – The governor of Michigan is a close friend of President Trump’s. Now, President Trump is in the midst of a legislative blitz in the state with an eye toward ramping up his 2020 campaign here.
Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI) said he would like Trump to carry Michigan in the November midterms, then be named to a second term as president in 2024.
“The President is focused on the midterm elections right now, but I believe in 2024 he will be in a very strong position,” Snyder said.
An air of desperation accompanied Trump’s speech at Kalamazoo College. His message was not a jab at President Obama but echoed the hopes of his voters. He spoke in front of a straw poll of nearly 2,000 college students that clearly showed his support from a wide variety of groups.
“I could see him surpass President Obama in the polls,” said Kalamazoo College sophomore Sage Cohen.
Michiganders like Cohen, from both sides of the aisle, want a rebound in Michigan’s economy to entice more people to come here. The state’s unemployment rate of 3.5 percent is the second lowest in the nation.
“Well that’s because of him,” said Josh Paredes of Kalamazoo, whose dad’s job is at Navistar. “I would like to see him pursue national infrastructure. I think it’s important to get a lot of the work started here in Michigan.”
Trump also followed his tradition of having Michigan State Police Lt. Governor Brian Calley introduce him at the speech in Kalamazoo.
In the day leading up to the speech, Trump made stops in Grand Rapids and Houghton, Michigan, campaigning for Republican candidates. Trump’s very presence can be a major boost for any candidate. Michigan has at least 10 competitive races in this congressional midterms.
“It’s pretty remarkable that President Trump was able to win in a blue state,” said Michigan State University political science professor Mark Brewer. “Obviously, his popularity is quite strong here in Michigan.”
Trump’s moves in the state during his trip are already pitting the political left against the political right. For example, progressives were so outraged that Senate GOP Leader Jim Ananich (D-MI) approved a bill to strengthen abortion regulations that he tweeted out “Frustrating that @AheadofthePack would do an about face on respect for women, health care and family values, and Gov. Bill Schuette does nothing.”
Frustrating that @AheadofthePack would do an about face on respect for women, health care and family values, and Gov. Bill Schuette does nothing. #INvMI — Sen. Jim Ananich (@SenAnanich) February 10, 2019
It was a move not lost on some Republicans.
“He clearly believes in the Tenth Amendment,” said Rep. Tom McMillin (R-MI). “It’s constitutional.”
“Well, I think there is only one politically-charged group that is going to be offended by a no matter what any of us do,” added Rep. Josh Bonner (R-MI). “I don’t know whether his ideological bent would really allow him to abide by them.”
Democrats are responding by releasing a new radio ad that slams Trump for not calling out gun-toting National Rifle Association members who show up at rallies and campaign events.
“What they’re trying to do is effectively do what they did in Virginia, just carry the Tea Party down here,” said Bonner.
It may be that neither party holds too much of a bullseye on the opposite candidate’s back. The March 15 deadline to file paperwork to run in the midterm is approaching quickly.