It looks like the Wolverine Queen herself, Ms. Gretchen Whitmer, will have the last laugh over Donald Trump, who targeted the Michigan governor during the COVID-19 pandemic. While other governors hastily reopened their states and saw their approval ratings drop as coronavirus cases rose, Whitmer's COVID-19 approval rating has grown from 62 percent in late April to 69 percent in late June. She gambled, apparently successfully, that her constituents would prefer to stay alive. Meanwhile, recent polling shows that just 45 percent of Michigan voters approve of Trump's COVID-19 response (granted, this was before the president expressed his support for the demon sex doctor).

The numbers are bleak for Trump in Michigan, a state he narrowly won — like by .3 percent — in 2016 thanks to Russia and Jill Stein, who is kinda still Russia. He's facing a head-to-head matchup against Joe Biden in November, and he hasn't led a Michigan poll since mid-February when Biden was getting spanked in the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries. Biden has a polling average lead of almost nine points, more than double Hillary Clinton's, which was well within a margin of error and a James Comey push down the stairs.

Michigan is slipping through Trump's spoiled baby fingers.

Gretchen Whitmer says she will hit the ground running

Trump has slowly retreated from Michigan. His dumpster fire campaign has stopped buying TV ads in the state while Handsome Joe is all over the airwaves, talking about how he won't kill you with COVID-19.

From the New York Times:

Mr. Trump faces a trifecta of troubles in Michigan, according to political strategists and state polling: reduced support among less educated white voters in a contest against Mr. Biden compared with Hillary Clinton; motivated Black voters in the state's urban centers; and suburban voters who continue to flee Mr. Trump's divisive brand of politics.

Trump's right: Nobody likes him.

Michigan has 16 electoral votes, and if Trump loses those, that would take his 2016 Electoral College tally down to 290. That doesn't leave much wiggle room. He's dumping money into Iowa, where he crushed Clinton by almost 10 points but he's now leading Biden by a single point. That's not the only state where he's on the ropes. Biden's leading in Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. Biden's lead in the latter two states is significant, and if Trump loses both then our long national nightmare is over.

Polling is not that great for Wisconsin, but we do know that Trump narrowly won by less than a percentage point in 2016. That was before he set the nation on fire. His approval ratings on COVID-19 and race relations are underwater, and although Trump's protectionist trade positions in 2016 might've resonated in the union-heavy state, labor loves cool Joe.

"Hillary Clinton was toxic to non-college-educated white working-class voters, particularly men," said Adrian Hemond, a Michigan-based Democratic strategist. "They don't have the same attitude with Joe Biden."

The Trump campaign and even fretful Democrats aren't fully convinced by the polls this time out given the president's surprised 2016 victory. However, Trump was on the offensive in the last election. That's why you had articles in late October that literally asked, “Why Is Trump In Michigan And Wisconsin?" Biden has clearly put Trump on the defensive. Morning Consult has another poll showing Biden narrowly winning Texas, which is game over.

Ted Cruz released a video last week warning of a “blue wave destroying the great state of Texas." (I think that just means Texans would've rejected Trump and his Republican stooges. Conservatives aren't big fans of democracy.) Senators Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand aren't worried about “red waves" coming for California and New York, both of which will get called for Biden as soon as the polls close.

Meanwhile, Trump has to wake up the troops in Texas (led by Allen West!) and tell them they might have to fight for this one.

Naturally, the New York Times is gonna New York Times. Dig this:

But the reality is that Mr. Trump has far more pathways to 270 electoral votes without Michigan than Mr. Biden does.

This implies that Michigan is a package deal and if Biden loses there, he loses the rest of the once mighty "Blue Wall." But the same is true for Trump. If he loses Michigan, it's likely he'd lose Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

The Trump campaign has been redirecting money to defend other, more conservative states that he won in 2016, like Ohio and Georgia, and to try to find new Democratic states to flip, such as Nevada and Minnesota.

Trump on the defense in Ohio and Georgia, which a Democrat hasn't won since 1992, shows that his paths to 270 are narrowing. The Times doesn't question the strategy of flipping Minnesota, a state Trump lost in 2016. How is that supposed to happen post-COVID-19?

Nevada is a legitimate weak spot for Biden, who isn't as strong with Hispanic voters as Clinton was, but the state has six electoral votes. That's not an even swap for Michigan's 16 or Arizona's 11.

Look, we don't want to get overconfident or complacent, but 2018 did in fact occur, and Democrats had significant statewide victories in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan. Gretchen Whitmer declared in her 2018 victory speech that she planned to “hit the ground running," and that same strength and fortitude is what's going to send Trump packing.

[New York Times]

Stephen Robinson on Twitter.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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