Even in a year as horrifying as this one, the story still shocked: Radical right-wing extremists had spent months training with guns and explosives to kidnap Michigan’s governor, Democrat Gretchen Whitmer, and “instigate civil war.” Thankfully, the plot was foiled by federal agents, but the incitement that gave rise to it continues to be perpetrated, not least by Donald Trump.
It was Trump who, in April, tweeted in all caps, “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” amidst the lockdown Whitmer imposed to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Three minutes later, he wrote, “LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!” Trump’s call for armed insurrection against duly elected officials provided the backdrop—and very possibly the impetus—for the terrorists who sought to overthrow Whitmer.
Yet after the conspiracy was uncovered, Trump only amped up his incendiary rhetoric. “Governor Whitmer of Michigan has done a terrible job,” he snarled. “She locked down her state for everyone, except her husband’s boating activities.” He falsely claimed Whitmer had called him a white supremacist (she didn’t, even though he is), and then set about further undermining her authority: “Governor Whitmer—open up your state, open up your schools, and open up your churches!” he brayed.
Republicans in Michigan are following Trump’s cues. Just hours after the FBI announced the plot against Whitmer, the Republican leaders of both chambers of the legislature joined in a protest at the state capitol targeting the governor and her efforts to keep the state safe. In a surreal moment, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey was forced to explain to the press that “the people who attended Thursday’s rally are not the same people who were involved in the plot to kill the governor.”
It goes without saying that getting rid of Trump is priority No. 1 for all democracy-loving Americans. But we must also ensure that our state governments enjoy respect as well. Michigan Republicans have made it amply clear that whenever Democrats win elections, they don’t consider them legitimate. There’s no compromise with people like this. The only solution is to remove them from power at the ballot box.
That’s why Daily Kos has endorsed a slate of stalwart Democrats running to flip the Michigan House, where we need five seats to end the GOP’s majority. These candidates all revere the rule of law, cherish our democratic institutions, and will always settle their disputes legitimately. Right now in America, only one political party believes in democracy. We need to make sure that party wins.
Please donate $3 now to send Gretchen Whitmer reinforcements who will uphold democracy and the rule of law in Michigan!