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Snyder sends Michigan’s political world atwitter with topsy turvy endorsement

Gov. Rick Snyder
Former Governor Rick Snyder endorsed Joe Biden for President in 2020. (file photo)

Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden picked up a cross-party endorsement Thursday from Republican former Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.

Snyder published an op-ed in USA Today explaining his support for Biden and disappointment in President Donald Trump's leadership. He wrote that Trump is a bully who doesn't represent the interests of all Americans, rather, just his supporters.

"A great leader treats people with respect even when they present different opinions," wrote Snyder. "Without a variety of views and opinions, we would have no innovation or creativity in our nation. Being a bully and being strong are not the same thing. Being strong is standing up for your convictions. Being a bully is trying to intimidate those who are perceived to be weaker or a threat. As a proud nerd, I had to deal with bullies over many years; it is tragedy watching our world suffer from one."

Chad Livengood, senior editor at Crain's Detroit, said it was surprising that Snyder gave a presidential endorsement. In 2016, Snyder refused to endorse a candidate and has stayed away from political commentary after his governorship.

“Until now, he [Snyder] really has not said anything about politics in general, so this endorsement of Joe Biden and also very pointed criticism of President Trump ? of calling him a bully and someone who lacks a moral compass ? is pretty strong words from Rick Snyder who as always shied away from getting into the politics of things,” Livengood said.

As Democratic organizers look to win back Michigan in this year's presidential race, one voting bloc on their minds are moderate Republicans; people who've had enough drama for one four year period, but who may never have voted for a Democrat.

Not every Republican is thrilled with Snyder's op-ed. Laura Cox, who's the head of the Michigan Republican Party, called Snyder “Mr. Irrelevant” on Twitter. But Livengood said many middle-of-the-road Republicans have been turned off by President Trump.

“There is a voter out there that Rick Snyder is speaking to that has been probably pretty quiet, that probably doesn’t weigh in on politics on Facebook but maybe has been reserved enough to wait to go to the ballot box and punch the ticket for Joe Biden,” Livengood said.

This post was written by Stateside production assistant Catherine Nouhan. 

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