The Michigan Republican Party decided Saturday to entrust its future to the hands of election-denier Kristina Karamo as its new chairperson despite the fact that she just suffered a brutal rebuke from voters when she ran for secretary of state in the 2022 midterm election.
With Karamo in place, political insiders and conservatives nationwide wonder if the party just signed its death warrant since GOP donors will likely withdraw their support.
According to Bulwark editor Jim Swift, Michigan's Republican Party candidates suffered humiliating losses across the board for key government offices -- led by Karamo's stunning 14-point loss to Democrat Jocelyn Benson -- in the midterms. Now it appears the party is "doubling down" on the MAGA electoral strategy led by what he called "losers."
As Swift notes, it was not that long ago that Michigan appeared to be ripe for the taking by Republicans until Donald Trump and supporters like Karamo came along and all hell broke loose.
"In 2016, Michigan Republicans had the state’s governorship and nine seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, while Democrats had five of the House seats and both seats in the U.S. Senate. Now, seven years later, rising star Gretchen Whitmer is consolidating her power following a decisive re-election," he wrote.
"Democrats flipped both chambers of the state legislature, gaining three seats in the state House and four in the state Senate, producing a Democratic governing trifecta for the first time since 1982. In Congress, House Democrats now hold seven seats to the GOP’s six (one of the state’s seats disappeared in the reapportionment following the 2020 census), and the party still claims both of the state’s U.S. senators."
Now, he states, GOP donors have made it clear they will sit on their wallets with "political novice and all-purpose conspiracist" Karamo in charge.
That is also the opinion of one of her challengers, Trump-endorsed Matt DePerno, who lamented, "... no one will fund this party [if Karamo wins]. . . . It will be a car without gas, and it will die.”
According to Swift, "Michigan GOP’s 2022 slate of candidates, blown out in the midterms, was the result of the party 'doubling up on dumb,' as Jimmy Greene, executive director of the Associated Builders and Contractors Association of Michigan, put it. Longtime Michigan congressman Fred Upton, recently retired, told the New York Times: 'Sadly, it looks like they want an encore.'"
Swift continued, "The billionaire DeVos family, kingmakers in Michigan GOP politics, put almost $3 million into a super PAC supporting failed gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon, but they didn’t put up a dime in support of either Karamo or DePerno. A spokesperson for the family, Nick Wasmiller, says that they 'invest based on enduring first principles, not fleeting flash points of the day,' and further, intimated that they support only serious candidates, Tudor Dixon notwithstanding. That latter qualification evidently excludes those leading the state party today."
He added, "This doesn’t sound good for the Michigan GOP, whose only star is Rep. John James, a freshman House member whose 2022 victory followed unsuccessful bids for the Senate in 2018 and 2020. He won his seat by less than 2,000 votes."
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