Armed protesters in Michigan foreshadow a tense election season in key swing state


Category:  News & Politics

Via:  tessylo  •  5 months ago  •  49 comments

By:   Jon Ward, Senior Political Correspondent Yahoo News

Armed protesters in Michigan foreshadow a tense election season in key swing state

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

Yahoo News

Armed protesters in Michigan foreshadow a tense election season in key swing state


Jon Ward Senior Political Correspondent

Yahoo News May 5, 2020, 9:50 AM ET


Michigan was always destined to be a place of high drama in the 2020 presidential election.

President Trump had his   narrowest margin of victory   there in 2016 over Democrat Hillary Clinton, winning by   just over 11,000 votes . And this fall, Trump’s hopes for winning a second term will once again go through the Great Lake State. Trump was the first Republican to carry Michigan in 28 years. 

Outside of New York and New Jersey, Michigan has the   third-highest number of deaths   in the U.S. due to COVID-19, with 4,053 fatalities as of Monday afternoon. A heated election-year atmosphere has been supercharged by the crisis and by a series of clashes between the Republican-controlled legislature and Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

And those who know Michigan politics best are trying to discern how it will all play out.  


An armed protester wearing a mask stands at the Michigan Capitol building in Lansing, Mich., on Thursday. (Matthew Hatcher/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“It’s complicated right now,” said Rep. Debbie Dingell, in a phone interview Monday. Dingell, a Democrat, is a former General Motors executive who was married 38 years to former Rep. John Dingell, who died a year ago. John Dingell was the longest-serving member of Congress ever, holding his seat for 59 years.

The sight of heavily armed, camo-wearing demonstrators at the state Capitol building last week was “very bad, very disconcerting,” Dingell told Yahoo News. “I talked to members [of the state legislature] that were really terrified that something could happen to them. I spoke to one who wore a bulletproof vest and spoke to three who got them this past weekend.”

Some top Michigan Republicans have condemned the demonstrations. Senate President Mike Shirkey   said   that “so-called protesters” who “used intimidation and the threat of physical harm” were “a bunch of jackasses.”


Protestors try to enter the Michigan House of Representatives chamber and encounter the Michigan State Police after the American Patriot Rally organized by Michigan United for Liberty protested for the reopening of businesses on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Mich., on Thursday. (Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images)More

But that came after Trump   called the protesters   “very good people” who were “angry” because of shutdown restrictions. The president urged Whitmer to “give a little, and put out the fire.”

Some of the protesters had held signs   implying   that Whitmer should be executed. In   a mid-April protest , protesters carried signs comparing Whitmer to Adolf Hitler, with some gathering outside the governor’s residence. 

Trump also targeted Whitmer in late March, responding to her requests for federal help with personal insults and   referring to her   as “the woman in Michigan.”

Randy Richardville, a former Republican Senate Majority Leader, said that the protesters had “acted irresponsibly and unethically.”


A protestor carries a sign with Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer depicted as Adolph Hitler at an American Patriot Rally organized by Michigan United for Liberty on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing, Mich., on Thursday. (Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images)

“It’s one thing to openly carry,” Richardville told Yahoo News. “It’s another thing to be brandishing things and holding them in a threatening kind of way. That I have no time for.”

The flare-up put Republicans on their heels in the latest in a series of skirmishes over the coronavirus that are breaking down along partisan lines and foreshadowing a bitter election season for the next six months. 

Democrats sought to capitalize on the protests, with one state senator arguing that the GOP is “complicit in instigating these rallies.” 

“Senate leadership may have acknowledged the protestors as ‘jackasses’ … but on Thursday, some of their members were mingling with them,” state Sen. Winnie Brinks   wrote   in a column over the weekend. 

“The reality is Michigan Republican politicians have stoked this dangerous activity by questioning medical experts and publicly denigrating Whitmer. They are complicit in instigating these rallies, and their big-money backers have been organizing them in multiple states.”

“This rally was just a convenient opportunity to broadcast the racist and misogynistic tenets all too common in today’s Republican Party,” Brinks   wrote .

Dingell argued that “the majority of people totally support Governor Whitmer and know that she has minimized the death that would’ve happened, especially in southeastern Michigan, where the numbers have been high.”


A militia group with no political affiliation stands in front of the governor’s office after protesters occupied the state Capitol during a vote to approve the extension of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's emergency declaration/stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus outbreak on Thursday. (Seth Herald/Reuters)

That’s borne out in the polling. A   mid-April survey   of Michigan residents showed Whitmer with a 57 percent approval for her handling of the crisis, compared to 37 percent who disapprove. Trump, by contrast, had a 44 percent approval rating and a 50 percent disapproval rating.

Whitmer, who had   a difficult first year   as governor in 2019, has seen her national profile rise during the pandemic, and had been floated as a possible vice presidential pick for presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Her overall approval rating   has shot up   during the crisis, from 42 percent last October to 60 percent in March. 

That’s not as high as some other governors, whose numbers rose   as high as 83 percent , in the case of California’s Gavin Newsom, but it’s better than some of the more slow-moving governors. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis saw his approval drop for a time to around 50 percent, though Floridians are gaining confidence in his leadership in   more recent polling .

Richardville, who worked closely with Whitmer when he was Michigan Senate majority leader and she was Senate minority leader, said there were some grounds to criticize Whitmer’s handling of the crisis as being too heavy-handed. 

“The governor may have too much power,” Richardville said. 

Republicans, who control the legislature, have tried to stop Whitmer from extending the state of emergency in Michigan beyond the original 30 days,   arguing that   “only the legislature can extend a state of emergency.” Whitmer forged ahead over the weekend and extended the state of emergency through May but did relax some of the restrictions on “non-essential businesses.”


Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, wearing a mask, addresses the state during a speech in Lansing, Mich., on Friday. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP, Pool)

Republicans faulted Whitmer’s original emergency declaration as too restrictive. They took issue with limitations on construction, landscaping, boating and gardening. Whitmer relaxed   some of those constraints   about 10 days ago. 

There was also   controversy   over whether parents could buy car seats for their small children from box stores like Walmart, even as they shopped for groceries there. 

“It was so confusing that it caused — I don’t want to call it panic — but frustration, and the governor lashed out,” said Stu Sandler, a Republican political consultant in Michigan. 

Whitmer has dismissed social media posts saying the seats were “non-essential” items that stores could not sell as “misinformation.”

Dingell expressed concern that Democrats, in their zeal to fight back against Trump and the GOP, might once again alienate the voters that for decades pulled the lever for her husband and in 2016 switched parties to vote for Trump. 

“Other people don’t like me to say it, but we got to worry about everybody, and everybody’s got to know that somebody’s fighting for them,” Dingell said. 


Rep. Debbie Dingell at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on February 26, 2020. (Amanda Voisard/Reuters)

“I think that there were a lot of union workers [in 2016] who think Democrats had abandoned them. They think we didn’t give a damn about trade, trade deals that had shipped their jobs overseas, they didn’t think that we gave a damn about their pensions, they didn’t think that we cared about them and their jobs. And that’s what we’ve got to do a better job of.”

Dingell, however, was hesitant to say there was a sexist aspect to the attacks on Whitmer, saying that “you’ve got to be very careful to not exasperate already difficult situations.”

For the Democratic party — in the state and nationally — she said, “We have to be damn careful ... as we are dealing with this pandemic and the economic impact, that we don’t, as Democrats, only focus on the coasts.”

“This pandemic has shown the importance of keeping manufacturing in this country, bringing more jobs, bringing supply chains back to this country. Well, that means that Democrats have to be very intentional about our manufacturing policy and protecting those jobs.” 


A protester carries a rifle at the state Capitol in Lansing, Mich., on Thursday. (Paul Sancya/AP)


jrDiscussion - desc
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1  seeder  Tessylo    5 months ago


What the hell is this guy carrying?

The bigger the weapon the smaller the penis?

1.1  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Tessylo @1    5 months ago

Any bets he can't hit the broad side of a barn with either....?

Release The Kraken
1.1.1  Release The Kraken  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @1.1    5 months ago

The reality is most in the military aren't expert marksmen, but a lot of deer hunters are. My boss's brother was featured in a BBC documentary, he is a Marine captain in a sniper unit that did four deployments. when he left the service he started taking his former platoon mates hunting here in Texas. To our surprise, many of them were not that great of a shot.

He was an expert marksmen as a young man not from his military experience but his time with his father hunting. There are a lot more expert marksmen in America that don't serve.

1.1.2  seeder  Tessylo  replied to  Release The Kraken @1.1.1    5 months ago

So what?

1.1.3  FLYNAVY1  replied to  Release The Kraken @1.1.1    5 months ago

That sure isn't a deer rifle now is it.....?

Trout Giggles
1.1.4  Trout Giggles  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @1.1.3    5 months ago

That doesn't look anything like the saddle rifle my dad used to hunt with

1.1.5  XDm9mm  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @1.1.3    5 months ago
That sure isn't a deer rifle now is it.....?

That's all predicated on the caliber and state he hunts in.   It might be a 5.56/.223 which is only legal to hunt with in some states.  On the other hand, if it's a 7.62x51/.308 it's to the best of my knowledge a legal hunting round in all states.

But the answer of course is it could be a hunting rifle, unless one is afraid of those scary black guns like an AR15. 

1.1.6  XDm9mm  replied to  FLYNAVY1 @1.1    5 months ago
Any bets he can't hit the broad side of a barn with either....?

Would you volunteer to stand downrange and test that theory?

Dean Moriarty
1.3  Dean Moriarty  replied to  Tessylo @1    5 months ago

I'm not sure but it looks similar to the IWI Tavors.

1.3.1  seeder  Tessylo  replied to  Dean Moriarty @1.3    5 months ago

That just takes me to a firearms site.  I hesitate to go anywhere about firearms . . . it would be nice to see what the medal actually is . not a link to a website which is no help whatsoever.  

1.3.2  Texan1211  replied to  Tessylo @1.3.1    5 months ago

I am betting that FlyNavy1 posted a picture of his own medal or someone in his family's medal.

Given by the US Military to those qualifying for it.

Usually on a marksman medal like that, when there are little eyelets hanging down, it means there are different levels and you get a bar to attach when you have achieved the level.

1.3.3  Kavika   replied to  Texan1211 @1.3.2    5 months ago

Not sure about the Air Force awards but in the Army, there are three separate types of badges, Expert, Sharpshooter, and Marksman. On the eyelets hanging down it will show what type of weapons were qualified with. 

You are correct I'm sure that it's awarded to FLY since he was career Navy.

1.3.4  Texan1211  replied to  Kavika @1.3.3    5 months ago

I am not sure, which is why I ask, doesn't sharpshooter have multiple bars for each stage of sharpshooter?

I know the NRA sharpshooter medal has 9 bars on it. Or at least the one for the 50 ft range .22 open sight it did back in the '70's.

I am sure the US military has its own protocols for that.

1.3.5  Kavika   replied to  Texan1211 @1.3.4    5 months ago

The army awards the medal for firing a specific weapon, from a number of positions and from a specific distance. I don't remember if there are eyelets for a specific distance. 

There could be but having been out of the military for 50 plus years the old memory tends to be a bit hazy from time to time...LOL

1.3.6  Texan1211  replied to  Kavika @1.3.5    5 months ago


FlyNavy said that the bars were for two different weapons or distances, I don't recall which, sorry.

So you must be right about different weapons being represented by the bars.

He said that it was his and given by the Navy.

Still not sure why anyone would associate it with a KKK medal.

1.4  XDm9mm  replied to  Tessylo @1    5 months ago
The bigger the weapon the smaller the penis?

What is it with the phallic love of the gun haters?   Envious?

1.5  Texan1211  replied to  Tessylo @1    5 months ago
What the hell is this guy carrying?

That is a firearm.

2  seeder  Tessylo    5 months ago

A lot of these morons don't have masks on.

How many of these terrorists in Michigan and other states are spreading this?  

It Is ME
2.1  It Is ME  replied to  Tessylo @2    5 months ago
How many of these terrorists in Michigan and other states are spreading this?  

No Mask ? jrSmiley_97_smiley_image.gif

The mask is only as good as your ability to "Not Touch your face". jrSmiley_99_smiley_image.jpg

2.1.1  seeder  Tessylo  replied to  It Is ME @2.1    5 months ago

You say you don't wear a mask anywhere so why would I listen to you?

Why would I listen to you in the first place?

It Is ME
2.1.2  It Is ME  replied to  Tessylo @2.1.1    5 months ago

The CDC said it doesn't do any good, but wear one anyway. What the heck ! jrSmiley_13_smiley_image.gif

Think About it for just a minute though. jrSmiley_87_smiley_image.gif

You put on your mask getting out of the car to go to the store. You rummage around the store touching everything, all the while wearing that mask. Picking things up, reading ingredients, etc.... all the while not knowing who touched the item before you. You go to the checkout, touch the rail, pick up a few items on the "Gotchya" rack, still wearing your mask by the way, then use the touchpad that everyone else uses, when you plug in your pin, grab the bag that someone else touched and go to your car.  

Once you get in your car, you take off your mask, itch that face itch you had at the check out, rub your entire face like we all do and let out a sigh, rub your eyes, touch the steering wheel and keys, start the car and head home.

Gosh.....did you wash your hands when you got in the car ? jrSmiley_97_smiley_image.gif

Ain't that a Hoot ? jrSmiley_79_smiley_image.gif

It Is ME
2.1.4  It Is ME  replied to    5 months ago
so why would I listen to you?  Ever?

You should "Read" though. It's a simple fundamental thing EVERYONE does. jrSmiley_15_smiley_image.gif


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