The last time a republican Presidential nominee won a majority in Michigan, Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice had just hit the boxoffices.
1988 marked an unprecedented year in American politics: it was the year the Bush political dynasty was formed and the nation said goodbye to President Ronald Reagan. Incumbent Vice President George H.W. Bush won the Republican bid and named Dan Quayle as his running mate. Bush ran on a traditional conservative platform and won the general election against Democrat Michael Dukakis by a 3.1% margin. Bush’s campaign focused primarily on his time in office alongside President Reagan— a celebrity-turned-politician. Reagan was known nationally as a television personality first, and a politician second. His outspokenness and charisma earned him a spot in the hearts of American conservatives during the early 80’s and, after completing two terms as President, is still seen as the conservative ideal. To continue Reagan’s brand of politics, Michigan, along with most Americans, voted for Reagan’s successor Bush with an overwhelming margin of 7.9%. The state turned blue the following election, and has remained a Democratic state for almost thirty years.
Michigan has proven to be one of the most contested states in this year’s election cycle
The 2016 election has broken this precedent. According to the New York Times, Michigan has proven to be one of the most contested states in this year’s election cycle. Mrs. Clinton is currently in the lead with a tight margin of only 4%, with Mr. Trump getting 38% of early votes. Both Presidential candidates have been giving Michigan a level of attention usually reserved for battleground states like Florida or Ohio. Michigan Radio reports that during his speech earlier this week in Macomb County, Mr. Trump made clear that he was determined to take Michigan and break Michigan’s streak of going Democratic. Mr. Trump’s claim isn’t that unfounded with swing states seemingly voting against tradition in this year’s election— the usually Republican state of Florida is projected to swing toward Democrat. It isn’t all that surprising that this claim has not been taken lightly by the Clinton campaign, with Mrs. Clinton and President Obama both making appearances throughout Michigan as late as Monday afternoon. Nick Cohn writes for the New York Times, “There are two ways to think about Mrs. Clinton’s late venture into Michigan. One possibility is that her campaign really thinks it’s in great danger there. Another is that there just aren’t many ways for her to lose this election, if her team feels roughly as secure in states like Wisconsin, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.”
As a Michigan native, and a proud Democrat, I hope that Mr. Cohn is correct. Otherwise, the alternative— a Trump Presidency— may prove to be more frightening than saying “Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice.”