Advance Notice: Briefs

Whitmer: ‘All roads to the White House lead through Michigan’

By: - March 18, 2019 11:40 pm

Gretchen Whitmer | Bill Pugliano, Getty Images

OK, we’re not saying that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer reads the Michigan Advance every morning. But she was on the same page as our top story when she appeared on national TV on Monday.

“The road to the White House runs through Michigan (so far)” was the column I wrote Monday morning ahead of visits from Democratic presidential contenders U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas). Whitmer appeared with the former and talked on the phone with the latter.

Whitmer also was interviewed on MSNBC about the Mitten State’s importance in the 2020 election.

“Well, I think that the fact of the matter is that all roads to the White House lead through the state Michigan,” the governor said.

Whitmer added that Michiganders are “hardworking people” who just want government to work. She reiterated her invitation for presidential candidates to come to Michigan, as she’s done on Twitter — and included Republicans this time.

“They need to show up,” she said. “Because when you show up, you learn and you develop a platform that speaks to people and I think that’s the key.”

Host Ali Velshi noted that that now-President Donald Trump’s 2016 margin in Michigan was 10,704 votes. He also said that Michigan’s 2018 voter turnout was 58 percent — the highest in 56 years. Whitmer was the top-vote getter for major statewide officials.

Velshi asked Whitmer about U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit), who’s promised to sponsor legislation impeaching Trump. Whitmer said she was elected last year on “dinner-table issues.

“If you’re willing to solve problems and have hard conversations and don’t write anyone off in the conversation, you can find common ground and build a majority. And I think that’s what people want more than anything,” Whitmer said. “I didn’t run against Donald Trump two years ago. I ran against water you can’t drink, schools that aren’t performing, roads that are crumbling underneath our cars. This is what the election was all about. And I think that’s what people in Michigan want.”

Whitmer added that there’s interest in Robert Mueller’s federal probe into the Trump campaign, but people’s daily lives are impacted more by issues like clean drinking water.

Velshi asked her about health care and she said that it is “a right” and everyone needs to be covered. She said that there was a bipartisan push to expand Medicaid in Michigan, which “saved a lot of lives.” But Whitmer added that it’s been under attack by the Trump administration — presumably meaning the Affordable Care Act.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 22-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQ+ people, the state budget, the economy and more. She previously served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 90 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 5,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 80 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two kids along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.