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Is Trump such a bad deal for Michigan Republicans?

There is no stopping him.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump can’t stop talking. But, is that really such a bad thing for his fellow Republicans?

 A silver lining

It’s become almost a reflex that every time Donald Trump speaks, the political world responds with a collective eye-roll. But, is there a silver-lining for the GOP from all of Trump’s Trumpiness?

Might the other Republican candidates for president be enjoying a perverse benefit from Trump mouthing off?

Now, we’re not saying there aren’t Republicans who wish Trump would just shut up and go away but, in some respects, Trump is performing a service to the GOP field.

The spotlight shines elsewhere

Imagine the secret thrill of every other Republican presidential campaign every time Trump speaks. They know he’ll attract the media glare – like moths to TV lights.

While Trump runs his mouth, the other campaigns can quietly focus on fundraising, grassroots network building, and communication and messaging strategy, without having to worry the media’s going to flyspeck their every utterance.

Michigan campaigning

As long as Trump continues talking, the other campaigns’ risks are diminished. And that is exactly what’s happening right now in Michigan where Trump doesn’t even have a campaign organization.

But Senator Rand Paul does, at least the beginnings of one. He’s being backed by West Michigan Republican Congressman Justin Amash. Former state Lawmaker Tom McMillin and former Republican National 

GOP primary voters are not committing right now. Many are still speed dating.

  Committeeman Chuck Yob are serving as his Michigan co-chairs.

Meanwhile, former state Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis is setting things up in Michigan for Senator Ted Cruz; former Ohio Governor John Kasich – who just announced his presidential run last week – is getting a Michigan campaign organization; as is Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.


And, of course, let’s not forget former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Look for state Attorney General Bill Schuette – Michigan’s go-to GOP party builder – to be Bush’s Michigan campaign chair.

Look for that to be rolled out before the big Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference in September, where we can expect a lot of other GOP presidential hopefuls to show up. Bush, Walker, Cruz and former business-exec Carly Fiorina are also scheduled to appear.

We’re also likely expecting more candidates to show up.

Early days

We’ll see if Trump is among the candidates who decide to head to Mackinac Island to press the flesh with Michigan Republicans. Before that, however, Trump is confirmed for a trip to Birch Run in August.

Right now, Trump is in the top cluster of candidates in Michigan, according to the latest PPP poll, along with Walker, Bush and Dr. Ben Carson.

But at this point, primary voter “preferences” are low-risk, low stakes. Iowa is still six months away and the Michigan primary is seven months away. There’s still plenty of time to decide.

GOP primary voters aren’t committing currently. Many are still speed dating. 


Rick and Zoe talk on Stateside about whether Donald Trump mouthing off is really such a bad thing for Michigan Republicans:

Stateside with Cynthia Canty, July 27th, 2015

Zoe Clark is Michigan Public's Political Director. In this role, Clark guides coverage of the state Capitol, elections, and policy debates.
Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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