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Trump influence heavy in Michigan primary elections

Bill Schuette at Trump rally
Bill Schuette

Loyalty to President  Donald Trump is expected to be a significant factor in most Republican primary races in Michigan, especially the Governor's race. Lt. Governor Brian Calley made a critical mistake when he withdrew his support for Trump in 2015 after the Access Hollywood tapes came out. And it's coming back to haunt him in the Governor's race this year. That's according to political analyst Bill Ballenger.

“Bill Schuette got Donald Trump's endorsement, and he's taken it to the bank,” says Ballenger.

He says loyalty to Trump will determine the outcome of many Republican primaries. However, after the primary election, that loyalty could become a liability.

Ballenger says that Donald Trump is a polarizing figure, and his actions heading into the fall elections are very unpredictable. If Trump shuts down the federal government, as he has been threatening to do, in order to get funding for his border wall, that could affect Republican candidates in their elections. “What kind of impact would that have on Republican candidates in Michigan? These are imponderables that we can’t be certain about,” says Ballenger.

“The Republican candidates have to be very careful about getting too close to Donald Trump between the August primary and the November 6 general election,” says Ballenger. “They should build their own platform, they should talk about their own issues, they should try and stay loyal to Donald Trump if they possibly can. But they should be prepared to invoke a note of independence, if they feel that Trump has made such a terrible mistake that they can’t countenance it.”

For Democrats, Trump is expected to have little to no influence in the primary races. However, going into the general election, Democratic opposition to Trump could bring more Democrats to the polls. This again depends on difficult-to-predict actions and policies of the President. Ballenger says that support for Trump is consistently about ten points lower in Michigan than nationally, so unpopular actions could hit Republican candidates hard and boost Democrats.