CLINTON TOWNSHIP, MICHIGAN – Khalil Othman has a message for Michigan and for CBS late-night host Stephen Colbert: The Dearborn resident exists and is committed to voting for Republican Tudor Dixon for governor.
“She stands up for families,” Othman told a cheering crowd at a Friday night rally for Dixon. “She is the last line of defense.”
Othman, a Muslim American immigrant and father of five, attended an event for Dixon last month and told him about his concerns about sexually explicit content he had found in the school library.
Although a long-time Democrat, Othman said he will vote Republican this year because he feels his party has ignored him. Dixon, on the other hand, listened to him and his community about books in public schools.
She shares her concerns.
“Save our children”
Dixon recounted meeting Othman during October’s second debate with his opponent, incumbent Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Shortly after, Colbert aired clips of the debate on his network television show and accused Dixon of making up this encounter and questioned the father’s existence.
In the final days before the election, Dixon says it’s parents like Othman she hears about the most as she travels the state. And education might be the issue that helps push Dixon to victory. She says the message she received from voters is clear.
After:The GOP is no longer the party of old white men. Meet the conservative women on the rise.
“‘Save our children,'” Dixon told me Friday, during an interview on his campaign bus ahead of a rally in Macomb County, Metro Detroit. “That’s what I keep hearing when I talk to people.”
Michigan’s gubernatorial race became one of the most watched in the nation as Dixon overcame a huge fundraising deficit and lack of name recognition to make the race competitive. Real Clear Politics predicts a GOP recovery.
Republicans resonate with voters on issues
Michigan is far from alone in having surprisingly tight races in states with Democratic incumbents. Oregon, for example, has its best chance of electing a Republican as governor for the first time in four decades. And the race in New York is also much tighter than expected.
After:Will Oregon become Republican? The GOP push at the state level shines a light on what voters want.
In these cases, GOP candidates address voter concerns, whether it’s education in Michigan, homelessness in Oregon or crime in New York. And this trend is happening in races all over the country.
Democrats have bet on the race for abortion rights, following the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning Roe v. Wade in June. They also tried to make this election the preservation of democracy, portraying Republicans as the party determined to destroy it.
Not only is this an offensive message to tens of millions of Americans, it ignores what voters have made clear as most important to them: the economy and 40-year high inflation.
The polls reflect the disconnect between voters’ core issues and what Democrats advocate. In recent weeks, there has been an astonishing movement of support for Republicans, especially among key groups of independent voters and white suburban women.
Inflation outpaces abortion
In Michigan, Whitmer, the incumbent Democrat, made “fight like hellfor abortion its number one priority. Dixon, who is strongly anti-abortion, says it’s not an issue she hears about on the campaign trail. Again, it comes down to schools – how children are so far behind after months of exclusion from the classroom, on top of what they are taught.
After:Abortion a response to inflation? Democrats have overplayed their game, and voters know it.
“It’s not really an issue in the race for governor,” Dixon said of the abortion. “People are mostly concerned that we’re in the bottom 10 for education. It’s that we have so many children who have not reached their goal in reading.
A poll published by the Wall Street Journal last week found that white suburban women, who make up 20% of voters, favor Republicans in congressional races by 15 percentage points. That’s a significant change from August, when those voters said they supported Democrats by 12 points.
This is the target bloc Democrats hoped to win on abortion rights, but it is the economy and the direction of the country that are driving these women.
Similarly, a recent New York Times/Sienna College survey shows independent women favoring Republicans by 18 points, a huge shift from when they backed Democrats by 14 points in September.
Suburban mothers are mobilizing
Dixon said she saw these suburban women show up at her rallies, and many of them weren’t politically involved until Democratic officials and their union allies allowed COVID-19 to disrupt the raising their children — in some of Michigan’s larger districts, that was for over a year.
“We have a lot of moms coming, and they’re bringing their kids,” Dixon said. “It’s moving. They say, “please focus on education. ”
After:Teachers’ unions want parents to forget what happened during the COVID shutdowns. Don’t let them.
Q&A with the Teachers Union in 2020:Coronavirus anxiety is real, but schools must try to reopen
Tori Sachs, a Michigan-based Republican strategist and mother of four, attended a recent Dixon rally with her kids and said it was “amazing” to see all the other moms there, many of them s involved in politics for the first time. time. In addition to anger over school closures and policies, Sachs said it’s the economy and inflation that are driving these women.
“We do the majority of grocery shopping and back-to-school shopping,” Sachs said. “The awards this year were just outrageous. And so I think that’s why they’re voting Republican this time.
Ingrid Jacques is a columnist for USA TODAY. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @Ingrid_Jacques
#Economy #education #push #suburban #women #GOP #midterm