Hurdles in Trump’s Midwest Strategy

I doubt it matters very much that Michigan’s embattled Republican governor, Rick Snyder, won’t be endorsing Donald Trump for president. Given Snyder’s performance on the Flint water issue, who would want his endorsement? Gov. Snyder says he’s going to stay focused on retaining a Republican majority in the state’s House of Representatives.

Yet, as Jenna Johnson of the Washington Post reported a week ago, Trump has identified Michigan as one of fifteen key states he plans to target as part of his strategy to win the Electoral College. It probably matters that the Mitten State’s GOP is in complete disarray.

When Morning Consult did a 50-state poll back in May, they found that only Sam Brownback of Kansas and Dan Malloy of Connecticut are more unpopular than Snyder in their homes states. Snyder is even narrowly more disliked than Chris Christie of New Jersey, which is saying something.

So, a key question for the presidential campaign is whether Snyder’s problems are going to infect the Republican brand in Michigan, and whether Trump is enough of an outsider that it won’t matter for him.

Ordinarily, the governor can and should be an asset for a candidate of the same party, but that requires some degree of coordination and effort. I don’t see that happening in Michigan, but it also seems like Trump doesn’t know how or simply doesn’t want to do this kind of coordination with any Republican governors.

If he succeeds, it won’t be because he synched up his campaign with the winning organizations of state governors. Maybe Florida will be a little more successful in that regard than Michigan, or certainly Ohio, where Gov. John Kasich remains hostile and estranged.

For a campaign that has a Midwest strategy, Trump’s weaknesses with the Republican Establishment in Michigan, Ohio, and (we need to add) Wisconsin, should be a glaring warning sign.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.