Quotable of the Year:
“I support the Great Lakes. They’re beautiful; they’re big, very deep.”
— President Donald Trump at his 2020 campaign kickoff in Grand Rapids in March
In the last days of 2019, the Advance is running a series of our best stories from a few of the many issues we cover, from the environment to the 2020 election. With more than 2,000 stories to choose from, it was hard to pare the list down.
Here’s our roundup of our top 2020 election stories:
The Advance covered every presidential candidate who stumped in Michigan in 2019 (and yes, we’re tired). Here’s a handy interactive guide to all the campaign stops of GOP and Democratic hopefuls, including those who have left the race.
President Trump kicked off his 2020 reelection campaign in Grand Rapids in March, where he announced he wouldn’t cut $300 million from the Great Lakes after all.
As 2019 wound down, Advance Editor Susan J. Demas argues that the last year of Democratic presidential campaigning has been less than inspiring, fueled by conventional wisdom about “electability.” And next year will be worse, as “any Dem nominee will be subjected to Hillary Clinton-style “But her emails” analysis, because that’s how both-sides journalism works.”
Last year was a banner year for progressive ballot proposals in Michigan, with measures legalizing marijuana, going after gerrymandering and expanding voting rights all passing easily. But the financial picture for 20020 initiatives isn’t looking as rosy.
The first Democratic presidential debate in Detroit in July featured moderators quizzing the candidates on a series of topics, including health care, immigration, climate change and more, frequently using moderate candidates as foils for progressives Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
Frontrunner Joe Biden was at the center of the second Detroit debate. Moderators also asked several Michigan-centric questions, including what they would do to prevent future public health problems like the Flint water crisis.
Why do Trump and his allies brazenly accuse their enemies of what they’re doing? “It’s all about making liberal heads go “splodey,” as Sarah Palin, the former poet laureate of modern conservatism, once giggled,” Advance Editor Susan J. Demas argues.
At the NAACP national convention in Detroit, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former U.S. Senate candidate Stacey Abrams said that Democrats can’t forget about women and people of color in 2020.
Early on in the 2020 race, Attorney General Dana Nessel argued that women running for president aren’t getting the coverage of their male counterparts. Since then, two high-profile hopefuls, U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris, have dropped out.
Gretchen Whitmer was underestimated in 2018 by pundits and progressives. But she’ll be a force in 2020, as Michigan remains a must-win state.
Did you know there was a GOP presidential debate in Detroit? There was — minus Trump. Impeachment, the debt and environmental policy were all debated this fall.
You probably heard about Vice President Mike Pence’s eight-car motorcade disturbing Mackinac Island during a GOP conference this fall, but the rhetoric was far worse. Former Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders intoned, “The chaos that will ensue — the destructive chaos that will take place if we allow the Democrats to win in 2020 — will be real.”
The Advance broke down a study from the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies that looked at diversity in the staffs of senators running for president, and Sanders fared the worst.
Trump, himself, has only been to Michigan twice this year, but his campaign is hoping that red-meat visits from “celebrities” like Diamond & Silk, Charlie Kirk and Steve Bannon will keep Republicans stoked.
Although Michigan has been a hotbed of 2020 activity, most Democratic hopefuls have skipped the west side of the state. Team Trump has been all in trying to shore up his base, however.