The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press (MCT)

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder coasted to victory Tuesday in an election to decide whether the Republican had earned a second and final term or Democratic challenger Mark Schauer gets a chance to undo much of what Snyder did in the last four years.

With 42 percent of precincts reporting, Snyder led with 53 percent of the vote, compared to 45 percent for Schauer. The Detroit Free Press projected a Snyder victory based on analysis of key precincts.

Snyder said during the campaign Michigan was “on the road to recovery,” and a second term was essential to continue and enhance the economic improvements the state had seen.

Though many in Michigan still aren’t feeling the economic recovery, Snyder received high marks for his handling of the Detroit financial crisis and the city is poised to emerge from Chapter 9 bankruptcy this month on a much more sound fiscal footing.

Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber, said Snyder’s victory is great news for Michigan.

“I think we will see continued progress in making Michigan more competitive and we’re expecting progress on a road fix as well,” Baruah told the Free Press Tuesday night.

“Continued progress in the city of Detroit we are also very excited about,” he said.

“What’s happening in Detroit has been difficult and it’s taken tremendous leadership that we’ve never seen before in this state, by any party, until this governor.”

The state has seen costlier gubernatorial elections and nastier ones, but it’s been 40 years since the outcome was this much in doubt as voters went to the polls. But the outcome proved to be not nearly as close as the polls suggested.

Most recent polls showed Snyder and Schauer within a couple of percentage points of each other and both the Republicans and Democrats were touting high-tech voter identification systems they said boosted their absentee numbers and would help make sure as many of their supporters as possible cast ballots.

But Snyder supporters were optimistic soon after the polls closed as they gathered at the Renaissance Center Marriott in Detroit.

“Republicans are kicking butt right now,” Michigan Republican Party Chairman Bobby Schostak told the crowd. “We are very, very optimistic.”

Business and labor often disagree, but they’re never more polarized than they were about Snyder and Schauer and this election.

Union supporters in particular were eager to vote Snyder out and optimistic they could achieve their goal.

“I think there’s a chance of knocking him out,” Detroit resident Edward Jordan, a retired city maintenance worker and union representative, said of Snyder. “It’s going to be a close race.”

Jordan, 75, said he’s unhappy about right-to-work legislation that Snyder signed and planned cuts to his pension as a result of the Detroit bankruptcy and he would be voting Democrat up and down the ballot, as he always does.

Eric Robinson of Lincoln Park, a disabled veteran from the first Gulf War, said he backed Snyder as “the best man for the job right now” because of the way he’s handled issues such as the state budget and the Detroit financial crisis.

“Mark Schauer is part of the original problem as far as what’s wrong with this state,” said Robinson, 56, who is trained as a paramedic. “He’s too close to organized labor and too much tax and spend.”

Robinson agreed with Jordan on only one point. He said he sees the election as “a toss-up … right now.”

Snyder is a businessman who emerged from relative obscurity in 2010 to win a five-way Republican primary and then easily defeat Democratic candidate Virg Bernero, the mayor of Lansing. Snyder ran on his record, which includes a $1.8 billion business tax cut and reduced regulations for corporations.

Schauer, a former state lawmaker and one-term congressman from Battle Creek, attacked Snyder over increased taxes on pension income, removal of tax credits for low- and middle-income families, right-to-work legislation and inadequate funding for public schools. Schauer’s claim that Snyder cut $1 billion from public education was repeatedly discredited by impartial fact checkers who said Snyder actually increased school funding by a similar amount, but Schauer doubled down on the claim and repeated it in TV ads through Election Day.

Though Snyder enraged the left by supporting right-to-work legislation late in 2012 after saying the item was not on his agenda, he also alienated Republicans on the far right of the party with his support for measures such as Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act and higher gasoline taxes to fix the roads.

The last time an incumbent governor was defeated at the polls in Michigan was in 1990, when Republican John Engler defeated Democratic Gov. James Blanchard by a single percentage point.

But that election was a shocker, with the polls generally showing Blanchard well ahead. One has to go back to two elections featuring former Republican Gov. William Milliken, in 1970 and 1974, when the gubernatorial vote was seen as such a cliff-hanger on Election Day, said William Ballenger, associate editor of the Lansing newsletter Inside Michigan Politics.

Milliken, who was the incumbent both times, beat Democrat Sander Levin by 44,000 votes in 1970, when “it was considered very close all the way along,” and by a somewhat wider margin in 1974, Ballenger said.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) said Snyder deserved to be re-elected because “his resume is among the best of any governor in any state around the country.”

He significantly improved the state’s economic ranking and “he took on the biggest bankruptcy in the history of the U..S.,” Richardville said.

But Karla Swift, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO, said Snyder fooled voters in 2010 into thinking he was a moderate Republican.

“People who voted for him didn’t expect what they got, which was attacks on working families, attacks on low-income workers, attacks on kids in classrooms by cutting education, attacks on people on fixed incomes by taxing pensions” Swift said.

“He has a record now and we would expect to see more of the same.”

Schauer had promised to work to repeal right-to-work and the pension tax, significantly increase funding for K-12 schools while reining in for-profit charter schools, and push through a middle-class tax cut. He was vague on how he would pay for the promises and similarly lacking in details on his plan to fix and maintain the state’s roads and bridges.

Snyder, who in 2010 campaigned on a platform that included repealing the Michigan Business Tax in favor of a 6 percent corporate tax, which he achieved, has not spelled out many new plans for a second four-year term, which would be his last term as governor under constitutional term limits. Mostly he’s talked about placing increased emphasis on technical skills training and assuring a better match between graduates’ skills and employers’ needs.

Both Snyder and Schauer spent the last weekend before the election traveling the state and making last-ditch appeals to voters.

The more than $12 million Snyder was expected to spend on the campaign was roughly double what Schauer raised and spent. But millions more was spent by outside groups that included the Democratic Governors Association, the Republican Governors Association, the two state political parties, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the Michigan Education Association teacher union.

Photo: Michigan Municipal League via Flickr

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Mark Meadows

Donald Trump’s White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows wanted a presidential pardon. He had facilitated key stages of Trump’s attempted 2020 coup, linking the insurrectionists to the highest reaches of the White House and Congress.

But ultimately, Meadows failed to deliver what Trump most wanted, which was convincing others in government to overturn the 2020 election. And then his subordinates, White House security staff, thwarted Trump’s plan to march with a mob into the Capitol.

Meadows’ role has become clearer with each January 6 hearing. Earlier hearings traced how his attempted Justice Department takeover failed. The fake Electoral College slates that Meadows had pushed were not accepted by Congress. The calls by Trump to state officials that he had orchestrated to “find votes” did not work. Nor could Meadows convince Vice-President Mike Pence to ignore the official Electoral College results and count pro-Trump forgeries.

And as January 6 approached and the insurrection began, new and riveting details emerged about Meadow’s pivotal role at the eye of this storm, according to testimony on Tuesday by his top White House aide, Cassidy Hutchinson.

Meadows had been repeatedly told that threats of violence were real. Yet he repeatedly ignored calls from the Secret Service, Capitol police, White House lawyers and military chiefs to protect the Capitol, Hutchinson told the committee under oath. And then Meadows, or, at least White House staff under him, failed Trump a final time – although in a surprising way.

After Trump told supporters at a January 6 rally that he would walk with them to the Capitol, Meadows’ staff, which oversaw Trump’s transportation, refused to drive him there. Trump was furious. He grabbed at the limousine’s steering wheel. He assaulted the Secret Service deputy, who was in the car, and had told Trump that it was not safe to go, Hutchinson testified.

“He said, ‘I’m the f-ing president. Take me up to the Capitol now,’” she said, describing what was told to her a short while later by those in the limousine. And Trump blamed Meadows.

“Later in the day, it had been relayed to me via Mark that the president wasn’t happy that Bobby [Engel, the driver] didn’t pull it off for him, and that Mark didn’t work hard enough to get the movement on the books [Trump’s schedule].”

Hutchinson’s testimony was the latest revelations to emerge from hearings that have traced in great detail how Trump and his allies plotted and intended to overturn the election. Her eye-witness account provided an unprecedented view of a raging president.

Hutchinson’s testimony was compared to John Dean, the star witness of the Watergate hearings a half-century ago that led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon for his aides’ efforts to spy on and smear Democrats during the 1972 presidential campaign.

“She IS the John Dean of the hearings,” tweeted the Brooking Institution’s Norman Eisen, who has written legal analyses on prosecuting Trump. “Trump fighting with his security, throwing plates at the wall, but above all the WH knowing that violence was coming on 1/6. The plates & the fighting are not crimes, but they will color the prosecution devastatingly.”

Meadows’ presence has hovered over the coup plot and insurrection. Though he has refused to testify before the January 6 committee, his pivotal role increasingly has come into view.

Under oath, Hutchinson described links between Meadows and communication channels to the armed mob that had assembled. She was backstage at the Trump’s midday January 6 rally and described Trump’s anger that the crowd was not big enough. The Secret Service told him that many people were armed and did not want to go through security and give up their weapons.

Trump, she recounted, said “something to the effect of, ‘I don’t f-ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the mags [metal detectors] away. Let the people in. They can march to the Capitol from here.

As the day progressed and the Capitol was breached, Hutchison described the scene at the White House from her cubicle outside the Oval Office. She repeatedly went into Meadows’ office, where he had isolated himself. When Secret Service officials urged her to get Meadows to urge Trump to tell his supporters to stand down and leave, he sat listless.

“He [Meadows] needs to snap out of it,” she said that she told others who pressed her to get Meadows to act. Later, she heard Meadows repeatedly tell other White House officials that Trump “doesn’t think they [insurrectionists] are doing anything wrong.” Trump said Pence deserved to be hung as a traitor, she said.

Immediately after January 6, Hutchinson said that Trump’s cabinet discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove a sitting president but did not do so. She also said that Meadows sought a pardon for his January 6-related actions.

Today, Meadows is championing many of the same election falsehoods that he pushed for Trump as a senior partner at the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI), a right-wing think tank whose 2021 annual report boasts of “changing the way conservatives fight.”

His colleagues include Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer who pushed for Trump to use every means to overturn the election and leads CPI’s “election integrity network,” and other Republicans who have been attacking elections as illegitimate where their candidates lose.

Hutchinson’s testimony may impede Meadows’ future political role, as it exposes him to possible criminal prosecution. But the election-denying movement that he nurtured has not gone away. CPI said it is targeting elections in national battleground states for 2022’s midterms, including Arizona, Georgia, Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Trump did not give Meadows a pardon. But in July 2021, Trump’s “Save America” PAC gave CPI $1 million.

Steven Rosenfeld is the editor and chief correspondent of Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute. He has reported for National Public Radio, Marketplace, and Christian Science Monitor Radio, as well as a wide range of progressive publications including Salon, AlterNet, The American Prospect, and many others.

Tina Peters

YouTube Screenshot

A right-wing conspiracy theorist who was indicted in March on criminal charges of tampering with voting machines to try to prove former President Donald Trump's lies of a stolen 2020 presidential election on Tuesday lost the Republican primary to run for secretary of state of Colorado, the person who oversees its elections.

With 95 percent of the vote counted, Tina Peters, the clerk and recorder of Mesa County, Colorado, was in third place, trailing the winner, fellow Republican Pam Anderson, 43.2 percent to 28.3 percent.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}