“Police watched as horns honked and commercial and private vehicles from around the state jammed Capitol Avenue and other streets surrounding Michigan’s seat of government.
“‘Liberty once lost is lost forever,’ read a sign draped across a commercial van. ‘Security without liberty is called prison,’ read another, stretched across the Capitol’s front lawn. ‘Recall Whitmer,’ a third sign said.”
So what caused all of this uproar? And did Whitmer, a Democrat, take stay-at-home guidelines too far?
* No gatherings of any people who are not part of a single household
* No travel to in-state vacation or second homes
* No motorboat or jet ski use
The reaction was almost immediate, as Republican state legislators and others insisted that Whitmer’s order was overly broad and unnecessarily punitive — even given the state’s ongoing public health struggle. On Tuesday, a group of four Michigan residents filed a lawsuit against Whitmer, arguing that her order represents an infringement on their 1st and 4th Amendment rights.
The blowback against Whitmer — culminating with Wednesday’s protest at the state capitol — illustrates the extremely fine line that governors must walk amid this pandemic. Do too little and be criticized for endangering the health and well-being of your citizens. Be perceived as doing too much, and face attacks for limiting individual freedoms.
“I love Michigan, one of the reasons we are doing such a GREAT job for them during this horrible Pandemic. Yet your Governor, Gretchen ‘Half’ Whitmer is way in over her head, she doesn’t have a clue. Likes blaming everyone for her own ineptitude! #MAGA”
While Trump seems to have come around on Whitmer a bit as of late, his attacks — and Whitmer’s latest executive orders — clearly hit a nerve with some Michiganders. And that’s important for two big political reasons:
1) Michigan is one of three Midwest states usually won by Democrats that Trump carried in 2016
Both of those realities put an even brighter spotlight on Whitmer — and the ongoing protests against her in the state. Keep an eye out here. What happens in the next few days — and weeks — could have major 2020 impacts.