After President Bush became a lame duck president with an abysmal approval rating and Democrats took back Congress, the GOP spent the 2008 election gushing about the glory of former President Reagan – a Republican who won landslide victories and managed to leave office without a recession – even if a few happened on his watch.
This nostalgia was more destructive than anything else – costing the GOP big in both the 2008 and 2012 elections – and even losing them a few winnable races in the 2010 midterms, since it alienated younger voters who didn’t remember the legacy of a guy who was president before they were born – and it revived the negative memories of Reagan that older voters had – remembering how he gutted much of the social safety net. Now that the former guy is no longer in the Oval Office, a number of candidates are trying to elevate themselves as “the next Trump” – a strategy that will likely yield poor results.
Take the crowded race for governor of Michigan – another high priority race for us to invest time and money in if possible. While Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is running for re-election with solid approval ratings, she will inevitably face a far right fanatic as her Republican opponent. The frontrunner in the GOP primary race was arrested for his involvement in the Jan 6 insurrection and now another candidate is branding himself as the new Donald Trump – with credentials as a businessman and outsider.
The problem is that Kevin Rinke also has an alleged history of sexual harassment, making racist comments, and business lawsuits, including one from his family’s car dealership that he used to work for. Whoever wins the Republican nomination and the former guy’s blessing will be a disaster for a fairly moderate and crucial swing state. Let’s do whatever we can to put Gov. Gretchen Whitmer over the finish line.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making