Bankole Thompson: Dixon squanders opportunity with Trump association
In a general election, conventional wisdom holds that any serious candidate looking to score political victory should be doing all they can to win over independents, and convince those who are on the margins of the opposite party.
That means Republican gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon, who wants to unseat incumbent Democrat Gretchen Whitmer, should be working to appeal to a broader swath of the electorate outside of the hero-worship coalition of Donald Trump.
Instead, it appears Dixon is digging in and dancing to the tune of Trumpian politics.
The latest example of that is taking place on Friday when Donald Trump Jr., son of former President Trump, and Kellyanne Conway, who was a campaign adviser and counselor to the Trump White House, will be in Michigan to campaign for Dixon.
It will perhaps be a classic Trump campaign in a state that is begging for serious and problem-solving leadership, not a sideshow that is relitigating grievances of a defeated president.
A photo of Dixon, Trump Jr. and Conway on the stage this week will speak volumes about what matters to her campaign, and it will be hard to take Dixon seriously if this is the road she is bent on traveling for the rest of the campaign season. There is no light at the end of that tunnel. Trump has limited appeal that doesn’t extend beyond his base.
The fact is that the baggage that Trump brings and the things that have been revealed about him since he lost the White House as well as the didactic hearings about the Jan. 6 insurrection, it does not bode well for any candidate running for statewide office in Michigan.
Candidates running in a swing state like ours would be smart to broaden their appeal and try to reach as many voters as possible that are outside of the confines of their traditional tent.
In doing so, Republican candidates would be better off to stay away from Trump and his acolytes, instead of thinking he can help them seal the deal in November.
That the Dixon campaign would think that two prominent enablers and defenders of the disgraceful Trump presidency campaigning for her would strategically help her defeat Whitmer is either a joke or a bad dream. Either she is no match for Whitmer at this point of the campaign trail, or isn’t ready for the prime-time discussion of real issues that would be expected to be championed by a gubernatorial candidate.
With Trumpian politics front and center of her campaign, Dixon has squandered an opportunity to be viewed as an even-handed candidate by those who are not looking at the world through the narrow and selfish prism of Donald Trump. Even those not of the same party who were willing to listen to her will be turned off by her campaign’s embrace of Trump.
When Dixon announced her candidacy for governor, there were conversations about how it presents a historic opportunity to have two politically different women duke it out. That she would demonstrate a high degree of independence from Trump, and can navigate the issues in education and business and talk about life and death matters in urban cities without playing to the whims and caprices of Trump.
But that is not the case.
The last weeks of a campaign are among the most pivotal for any major candidate because the stakes are high. That is why turning to Trump and his band of sycophants in the last stretch of the election is foolhardy.
It will even be more telling for Dixon and the entire Republican ticket when Trump himself comes to town next month to campaign for the ticket.
Catch “Redline with Bankole Thompson,” which broadcasts at 11 a.m. weekdays on 910AM.