Craig Fritz and Michigan Governor’s Office through AP
One for message series looking at Joe Biden’s potential friends
When the coronavirus spread across the country in March, President Trump held a conference call with the nation’s governors, allegedly telling them they should try to find their own sources of fans and respirators.
Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan’s Democratic governor, said she could not believe it.
“Hearing the head of the federal government telling us to turn to the federal government because it’s too slow is just a little confusing to be honest,” Whitmer told MSNBC.
Trump fired on Twitter and said, “Half-Whitmer. “Don’t call this woman in Michigan,” he said from the White House information room.
There and back, Whitmer – the former leader of Michigan’s Senate minority, who runs his state until early 2019 – is pushing for national attention.
It also provided an example of the ongoing theme of this pandemic – a debate on who should take the lead in resolving the crisis.
Now Whitmer and another governor facing a state-level pandemic, Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico, are reportedly two candidates allegedly shortlisted by President Joe Biden. The presidential candidate for democratic democracy said on Tuesday that he plans to announce his choice next week.
Lujan Grisham was New Mexico’s medical secretary before her three terms in Congress, where she was president of the Hispanic Congress of the Caucasus, and then became governor in 2019.
Lujan Grisham dealt with the flu outbreak as a medical secretary, so she began preparing for coronaviruses when it spread abroad in January, hurrying to secure test supplies. It also issued early arrest warrants, when there were only a few cases in New Mexico.
Nevertheless, she said she was surprised by the absence of a national strategy.
“In my wildest dreams, I wouldn’t have to spend my own specific time looking for test aids and the right manufacturers, getting tampons, and then persecuting PPE,” she told The Washington Post recently.
The momentum was unprecedented, said Kathleen Sebelius, a former Kansas governor who was secretary of health and human services under former President Barack Obama and was reviewed by the vice presidency in 2008.
“All the governors found themselves in a very unique position, and the federal government did not want to be held accountable, so the governors entered this vacuum over and over again,” she said.
Governors saw that they were “acting”
Former Michigan Gov. Jim Blanchard said this was the right time to put Biden’s ticket for governor. He is close to the Biden campaign and has advised several vice presidential parades of Democratic candidates.
“You know, until the virus was in the governor in the shadow of the government,” he said. “They’re senators who get all the attention because they’re on all the cable shows every night.”
But Blanchard said that had changed. He said Whitmer and many other governors had shown peace of mind, projecting a stark contrast to Trump that could be useful to the Biden campaign.
“Because it shows they’re doing things,” he said. “It simply came to our notice then. Acting. They do not settle for relinquishing responsibility and finding someone to blame. “
Shauna Ryder Diggs, one of Michigan’s representatives on the Democratic National Committee and regent at the University of Michigan, said her patients noticed.
“People are starting to think more about leadership at the top,” she said, “so they see the leadership they had from Gov. Whitmer’s government and the state of Michigan, and now they’re asking if the same leadership has taken from Washington.” maybe a place [coronavirus outbreaks] it would not be in these other states in July, almost in August. ‘ “
In addition to the pandemic, governors faced an economic crisis and protests against police brutality and racial injustice. The protests intensified calls for Biden to choose a black woman for his running friend.
Ryder Diggs said Whitmer, who is white, responded to the protests with empathy.
“I am an African-American and a ruler. Whitmer is able to have honest conversations about race and I think the interpersonal relationships she can have with all people, feel this pain and understand what these protests were about, “she said.
I’m looking for benefits with a running friend
Jeff Kowalsky / AFP via Getty Images
On the battlefield in Michigan, Trump’s treatment of the underwater coronavirus is being approved. However, Whitmer’s remained high despite protests and litigation over the classification of social orders and its use of extraordinary powers.
According to a recent survey, 63% of Michiganders have approved Whitmer’s coronavirus manipulation, compared with 41% for Trump.
In 2018, Whitmer turned the governor’s villa blue, winning 9 percentage points, and some Democrats thought it could help bring Michigan and other “blue wall” states home.
However, Zach Gorchow, executive editor of Gongwer, which oversees state policy in Lansing, said it was doubtful that the addition of the Michigander ticket would have the impact on Midwestern voters that some Democratic strategists hope.
“It seems that the Democrats from Michigan are ready to cross the hot coals to defeat Trump, and I don’t think adding Gretchen Whitmer to the ticket will really change that,” he said.
Whitmer is facing backlash from Republicans for spending too much time talking in the national media – criticism that would only worsen if she sought higher office.
For both governors, a multi-frontline crisis management campaign could be politically and practically challenging. In addition, they carry luggage when they have ordered sometimes unpopular deadlines and social distance rules.
Stephanie Garcia Richard, the new commissioner for public land in New Mexico and ally of Lujan Grisham, said the governor had made the right decisions, even if they were unpopular. Lujan Grisham recently had to go back and reopen his internal meals as coronavirus cases rose again. The New Mexico Restaurant Association has sued, but the state Supreme Court has so far upheld the closure.
“And not to say it was easy for her to do,” Garcia Richard said. “There will be businesses that do not recover, we will lose permanently, but Americans expect their leaders to do the right thing under pressure.”
While Whitmer could bring a geographical advantage to the ticket, Lujan Grisham could attract another bloc of voters. She is the first governor of democratic Latin in the country.
Gabriel Sanchez, a professor at the University of New Mexico and director of the Latino Decisions research group, said Democrats often overlook Latino voters.
“I think it is also an opportunity not only for 2020, but also for a long-term election map,” he said. “When Latino is turned on … the ticket can strengthen Texas conversion not only soon, but potentially in the long run.”