But I actually think we’ll look back on this and say, you know, we’ve actually got a very strong system that can stand up to a lot of scrutiny.”. But he would be disinclined to throw away his future in the Republican Party. The 45th president’s time in office is drawing to a close. Michigan is home to Detroit, an overwhelmingly majority Black city, that has always been a favorite punching bag of white Republicans. No such luck. Was the 1 p.m. meeting really going ahead as scheduled? “We must not attempt to exercise power we simply don’t have,” declared Van Langevelde, a member of Michigan’s board of state canvassers, the ministerial body with sole authority to make official Joe Biden’s victory over Trump. There is little cause for optimism. As the president surged to a durable lead in Florida—defying expectations by winning large numbers of Hispanics and holding his own among absentee voters—Michigan Republicans were gripped by equal parts euphoria and panic. Some viewed his relative youth as an asset, believing he wouldn’t risk throwing away his future in the party. They told him there was not. McDaniel was a case in point. Future iterations of the GOP will make casual insinuations of voter fraud central to the party’s brand. An elections worker rubs his head in the closing hours where absentee ballots were processed at the central counting board, Nov. 4, 2020, in Detroit. It’s a vicious new playbook—one designed to stroke egos and rationalize defeats, but with unintended consequences that could spell the unraveling of America’s democratic experiment. That was before a daily deluge of dishonest allegations and out-of-context insinuations; before the conservative media’s wall-to-wall coverage of exotic conspiracy theories; before the GOP’s most influential figures winked and nodded at the president of the United States alleging the greatest fraud in U.S. history. In November 2013, Politico launched Politico Magazine (ISSN 2381-1595), which is published online and bimonthly in print. 4.5 out of 5 stars 150. Born into Michigan royalty—granddaughter of the beloved former governor, George Romney, and niece of former presidential nominee Mitt Romney—she knows the state’s politics as well as anyone. Stories; July 14, 2019 | Politico Magazine. Subscribe now! In conversations with more than two dozen Michigan insiders—elected officials, party elders, consultants, activists—it became apparent how the state’s conditions were ripe for this sort of slow-motion disaster. Van Langevelde did little to disappoint. This sign-up form is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. VICE publishes articles on a wide range of topics, but the categories related to politics are news, technology, money, drugs, election 2020, identity and the environment. It would take just three Republican senators to turn the impeachment vote into a secret ballot. Never mind that Trump lost by more than 154,000 votes, or that results were already certified in all 83 counties. You know where our big problems were? Gina Raimondo wants out-of-state visitors to self-quarantine. They wanted Michigan’s board of canvassers to delay certification of Biden’s victory. Heck, in the state’s biggest and busiest voting jurisdictions, there were no lines to complain about. 10 In a rational political climate, this would not have been the subject of suspense. While Meghan has … By law, Republicans were allowed to have 134 challengers in the room, one for each tabulation table. That meant no Republican with career ambitions could accept it, either. According to a recent study, it's generally considered a credible news source by both Republicans and Democrats. But the circumstances surrounding the Michigan GOP leadership’s secret huddle with Trump were anything but normal. There was no lie too outlandish to parrot, no behavior too unbecoming to justify, no abuse of power too flagrant to enable. His pious Dutch sensibilities, one co-worker said, make him “the the kind of guy that would turn himself in for tasting a grape at the grocery store.” He would be inclined, Lansing insiders figured, to vote in favor of certifying the results. The disregard for institutional norms. “I don’t get it,” the president said, venting confusion and frustration. This sign-up form is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. When Trump addressed the nation from the White House on Thursday night, insisting the election had been “stolen” from him, he returned time and again to alleged misconduct in Michigan’s biggest city. The untold story … He had kept a deliberately low profile in Lansing, attending the occasional happy hour but spending most of his time in nearby Eaton County, where he lives with his wife, an assistant prosecutor, and their three children. When it became apparent that his extended family was shooing away callers—giving the impression he did not welcome this intrusive sort of spotlight—word got around that Van Langevelde had cold feet. “The things they said were going on—it’s like ‘Yeah, that’s exactly what was going on. Now, with the eyes of the nation—and of the president—fixed on their state, Michigan Republicans scrambled to protect that lead. That contours of that identity—what it means to be a Trump Republican—have gained clarity over time. Donate Now Donate. The plan was to drag things out, to further muddy the election waters and delegitimize the process, to force the courts to take unprecedented actions that would forever taint Michigan’s process of certifying elections. VICE. He wanted to know if there was any pathway to victory. The one time he was challenged—by Spies, the political superlawyer representing John James’ U.S. Senate campaign—Van Langevelde calmly brushed his recommendations aside, telling Spies, “I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with you on that.”. About Blog Principled. Politics. Rather, the death knell of Trump’s presidency was sounded by a baby-faced lawyer, looking over his glasses on a grainy Zoom feed on a gloomy Monday afternoon, reading from a statement that reflected a courage and moral clarity that has gone AWOL from his party, pleading with the tens of thousands of people watching online to understand that some lines can never be uncrossed. Would Van Langevelde, who had stayed silent and off the grid for the previous 96 hours, dare to vote against the party’s edict? I understand the drama. Protect yourself from these attacks by making sure your news stories are accurate and fair to all candidates, even if your story puts a campaign in a negative light. After five years spent bullying the Republican Party into submission, President Donald Trump … | Robin Buckson/Detroit News via AP. In a savvy move, Chatfield and Shirkey prepared a letter addressing concerns over funding to deal with Covid-19 in Michigan. It was clear Trump was running far more competitively than they’d anticipated; he was on track to win Florida, Ohio and North Carolina, three states that tally their ballots quickly, meaning the spotlight would abruptly shift to the critical, slow-counting battlegrounds of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. In fact, you lose any credibility to get to the heart of that issue,” said Venable, the longtime Michigan GOP official who rocked his former comrades by endorsing Biden this fall. What they had failed to appreciate was that young conservatives were oftentimes the most disillusioned with the party’s drift from any intellectual or philosophical mooring. Some wanted to know whether Trump had been inviting legislators from other swing states; others wondered whether he might make a direct ask to intervene on his behalf, putting them in a tenuous and potentially incriminating position. Almost every four years, there’s a last-minute panic candidate for the presidency. And it will not be considered in isolation. A resignation from the board was his only way out. Weekly Education: Coronavirus Special Edition. Tim Alberta is chief political correspondent for Politico Magazine. There are sloppy Republican precincts all over the state. For those Republicans left to pick up the pieces in the coming legislative session, there may be little incentive for bipartisan cooperation on a subject that now divides the two party bases as starkly as gun rights or tax rates. “They clearly came in believing there was mass cheating going on in Detroit and they were on a mission to catch it.”, “Unlike the people who were there Monday and Tuesday, these people Wednesday were totally unprepared. 5 min read Last week, POLITICO Magazine published a story about GirlForward. Politico describes its vision as Politico strives to be the dominant source for politics and policy in power centers across every continent where access to reliable information, non-partisan journalism and real-time tool… As things picked up at the TCF Center, with more and more white Republicans filing into the complex to supervise the activity of mostly Black poll workers, Chris Thomas noticed a shift in the environment. Working off this expectation, a late lobbying blitz turned on Shinkle. This story is part of a wider series on millennials, called “What Works Next.” The series aims to “identify communities that are attracting the most Millennials and ask, ‘How is a new generation solving problems in a new way?’” Benson and Calley were right that Trump was never going to succeed at altering the outcome in Michigan—or in any of the other contested states, or in the Electoral College itself. Monica Palmer, one of the GOP canvassers, caused an uproar when she offered to certify the rest of Wayne County—precincts like Livonia—without certifying Detroit. No outcry over precincts opening late or closing early. Our elections continue to be underfunded. By five o’clock on Wednesday morning, it was apparent Trump’s lead would not hold. As conspiracy theories proliferated across the right-wing information universe—Sharpie markers disenfranchising Trump voters in Arizona, a marked Biden/Harris van unloading boxes full of ballots in Nevada, suspicious turnout patterns in Wisconsin—Detroit held a special place in the president’s heart. How a state that was never in doubt became a "national embarrassment" and a symbol of the Republican Party’s fealty to Donald Trump. That’s right: The name Van Langevelde is already so infamous in Michigan Republican lore that those associated with him are at risk of being branded turncoats, too. Already, one of the board’s two Republicans, Norm Shinkle, a career party fixture, had hinted he would not vote to certify the state’s result. Other states Trump carried in 2016, such as Ohio and Florida, allowed for pre-canvassing of absentee and other mail-in ballots so that voters would know which candidate carried the state on election night. And those folks weren’t perpetrating fraud, either. Kindle Edition. And when James says he’s troubled that half of Michigan’s voters feel they were cheated, he would do well to remember that he was the one telling them they got cheated in the first place. It proved to be the nail in Trump’s coffin: Shortly after Michigan’s vote to certify, the General Services Administration finally commenced the official transition of power and Trump tweeted out a statement affirming the move “in the best interest of our Country.”. No amount of @realdonaldtrump tweets or wild-eyed allegations from his lawyers or unhinged segments on One America News can change that. In 2016, Jim VandeHei left Politico and now is the co-founder and CEO of Axios. These two maneuvers—one to soothe the outcry over Michigan lawmakers meeting with a president whose legal team was calling for them to overturn the state’s election results; the other to insulate them from improper discussions about doing exactly that—were sufficient to sidestep any major crisis. It’s not hard to imagine what would happen then. For this reason, Michiganders were not congratulating themselves when the polls closed on election night. She was met with some confusion; there were already plenty of Republicans there, as scheduled, working their shifts as poll challengers. They also brought along their general counsels. The form of accountability propagated today by Marc Ambinder breaks all the norms, however: Ambinder wrote an apology for an overzealous story he’d written in Politico Magazine… Nevertheless, McDaniel told friends and fellow Republicans that she needed to stay the course with Trump and his legal team. “We’ll get through this,” Gov. The ballots are counted. Why Do Only Some People See It? Previous AllSides blind bias surveys on Politico brought back a Center rating, Politico news and opinion. This board must do its part to uphold the rule of law and comply with our legal duty to certify this election.”. We didn’t, and it became a spectacle. No state cornered the hysteria market quite like Michigan. They had grown so accustomed to Republicans falling in line, bending a knee to Trumpism, that the notion of someone acting on his own personal ethic had become foreign. “Republican poll challengers blocked from entering the TCF Center in Detroit! Both Chatfield and Shirkey are talented and ambitious, self-grooming for future runs at higher office. The election wasn’t stolen, he blew it. This is relatively easy for Chatfield to admit—he’s term limited and leaving office soon. Joe Arpaio’s Surprising Legacy in Arizona. Actionable threats against him and his family began to be reported. Time and again, they affirmed his position. Online magazine of news, politics, technology, and culture. In Michigan, the upcoming race to chair the Republican Party has already been turned on its head. This is not just a Detroit thing. He showed an awful lot of poise.”. California's road to recovery runs through D.C. Republicans, Why New Jersey’s ventilator guidelines may favor younger, whiter patients, Rhode Island ends specific restrictions on New Yorkers — by making them national, There’s a Surprisingly Plausible Path to Removing Trump From Office, History Says Bloomberg 2020 Would Be a Sure Loser. But many Republicans didn’t believe the election would be terribly close to begin with. Detroit, he smirked, “I wouldn’t say has the best reputation for election integrity.” He said the city “had hours of unexplained delay” in counting ballots, and when the late batches arrived, “nobody knew where they came from.” He alleged that Republicans had been “denied access to observe any counting in Detroit” and that the windows had been covered because “they didn’t want anybody seeing the counting.”. But errors are not fraud. The American Conservative. He wanted to know about the 38,000 absentee ballots that had just materialized. “If they’re not going to be responsible leaders, people need to seek out the truth for themselves. No matter how obvious the outcome—to McDaniel, to the 168 members of the RNC, maybe even to Trump himself—any indication of surrender would be unforgivable. He invited them to the White House for a briefing on the state of play in Michigan. About GirlForward coolly detached from the passions of politics weren ’ t believe the would. 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