MI governor takes a pass on Trump

Rick Snyder has a lot on his plate — and it looks like he’s not interested in adding to it. Under fire in the Flint water crisis, Michigan’s governor told the Detroit News that he has no plans to endorse Donald Trump for the presidency, even though Trump’s the Republican nominee. Instead, Snyder says he’ll work on salvaging the GOP’s majority in the state legislature:

Gov. Rick Snyder has sidelined himself in the race for president, choosing not to make an endorsement of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

The Republican governor also did not endorse in the March 8 primary, saying he was consumed with addressing Flint’s lead-contaminated water crisis.

“I’ve stayed out of the whole thing, and I’m going to continue to,” Snyder said Wednesday in an interview with The Detroit News Editorial Board at the Mackinac Policy Conference. “I’ve got important things I want to work on in Michigan.”

The Republican governor’s neutrality in the presidential race is in contrast to his lieutenant governor, Brian Calley, who recently urged fellow Republicans to unite behind Trump’s candidacy to keep Democrat Hillary Clinton out of the White House.

At one time, Snyder had gotten some attention as a possible Republican presidential candidate, but never jumped into the race. Until the crisis in Flint, he might have had the kind of resumé that would have complemented a Trump bid. As things stand now, Snyder’s too radioactive to touch — and he apparently feels the same way about Trump.

That should tell us something about claims made by Team Trump and its supporters about Michigan. This state plays a key role in the Rust Belt scenarios to back up the claim that Trump will rewrite the Electoral College map. Those scenarios rely on Trump holding all of the 2012 Romney states and adding Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Michigan to put Trump over the top at 270. Michigan’s 16 Electoral College votes are a critical component of that scenario.

So far, though, the available data shows no evidence of Trump’s competitiveness in Michigan. Romney lost Michigan 45/54 to Obama, but no head-to-head poll this year shows Trump getting to 40%. A poll two weeks ago from the Detroit News put Trump only four points back of Hillary Clinton, but she’s still fighting Bernie Sanders for the nomination, and even then Trump only got 39%. If Trump improves the GOP’s competitive position in Michigan, one would presume that Snyder would see it — and try to latch onto it.

It’s still five months to the general election, so this could change … but Trump’s been campaigning for a year, and has been the obvious nominee for weeks now. If those needles aren’t moving at least a little bit by now, it gets more and more doubtful that they will in the next few months.

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