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(OPINION) Gov. Whitmer and “Don’t Waste a Crisis”

Updated: Jan 6

Contributor: Ben Wright

In 1976, M.F. Weiner, wrote a report in the journal Medical Economics called “Don’t Waste a Crisis.” He advised doctors to never miss an opportunity to help their patients improve their overall livelihoods during a time of personal crisis. His quote is just as applicable to medicine as it is for politics.

As Americans all across the country quarantine in their homes, fearing for their health and the health of loved ones, American politics has continued to be as divisive as ever, especially as we approach the 2020 Presidential election. One person who has decided to take advantage of the the crisis, to bolster their national standing, is Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

In terms of policy, Governor Whitmer has done an excellent job of trying to stop the transmission of COVID-19 in our state. She closed schools and non-essential places of public accommodation, as well as mitigated the financial burden on Michigan families by stopping evictions and expanding unemployment.

However, she also has something else in mind: yard signs all across the nation bearing the words “Biden-Whitmer.”

Further, Biden is going to pick a woman to be his number two. “There are a number of women who are qualified to be president tomorrow. I would pick a woman to be my vice president,” Biden said at the March 15 Democratic debate.

Despite Whitmer saying she will not be on the national ticket in 2020, former Vice President Biden has said on CNN that Whitmer is on his shortlist of potential running mates. Likely to increase her chances of being on the ticket, Whitmer has been on thirteen national news shows in the past seventeen days.

At the time I write this, she is talking about what she is doing in Michigan as well as taking shots at President Trump. He has returned the favor, now infamously calling her “that woman from Michigan.” Whitmer found this a fit phrase to place on a t-shirt and wear on the Daily Show. In addition, her interest in local media outlets has dwarfed compared to her interest in the national outlets.

No other Governor is making the rounds on the national TV circuits like Whitmer. But no other Governor is under consideration to be Biden’s running mate. It is clear what her intentions are. This crisis is Whitmer’s audition to Biden and the nation. If she can get national support for her fight in Michigan, it will translate into support for her on the ticket in November.

Joe Biden is not an energizing candidate. On paper, Whitmer is an ideal running mate for Biden: young, charismatic, progressive, a fresh voice on the national scene, and from a key state, where President Trump only won by 0.3% in 2016.

She would bring a great deal to the prospective ticket. In my opinion, she is the logical choice for taking on Mike Pence in a future debate. And if Whitmer’s current venture of appearing on any national news show, we will likely be seeing her in that debate.

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