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Michigan Gov. Gretchen WhitmerWikimedia Commons

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April 23, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — The likelihood that Gretchen Whitmer will be named Joe Biden’s running mate seems to be diminishing with each passing day.

Michigan — the state she is currently governing with an iron fist — is a must-win for the Democrats. For a while there, it seemed Whitmer was the natural choice for Biden, who can’t afford to see the Wolverine State support Donald Trump again. As of late, her star has faded due to her bungling of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Whitmer has only herself to blame. The media and the Democratic Party did everything they could to let her prove she was ready for primetime.

In February, she gave the Democratic response to Trump’s State of the Union address. It wasn’t an outstanding performance, but, then again, few of these speeches are. If anything, it was a national platform that helped raise her profile.

Next came the media circuit. After she seemed to get the best of a public spat with President Trump, Whitmer was featured on liberal comedian Trevor Noah’s program. Meet the Press also rolled out the red carpet. During her media appearances, Whitmer highlighted the work she was doing while coming off as somewhat non-partisan.

Admittedly, I thought she was doing a decent job in the spotlight. She initially exempted religious gatherings of over 50 people from being penalized and took what seemed like necessary precautions to keep the spread of the virus at bay.

But over the last two weeks Whitmer has been making decisions that have crossed the line, bordering on arbitrary if not dictatorial power grabs. More than a few of my fellow Michiganders agree with me.

On Wednesday last week a 4,000-person strong protest was held in the capital city of Lansing in response to what some attendees called “tyrannical” executive orders.

“Quarantine is when you restrict movement of sick people. Tyranny is when you restrict the movement of healthy people,” protestor Meshawn Maddock of Michigan Conservative Coalition told Fox News.

Instead of listening to these frustrated, blue-collar, out of work voters, Whitmer doubled down. In an interview with leftist Joy Reid on MSNBC, Whitmer lashed out at her critics, essentially telling them to pound sand

Yesterday she announced she is extending her “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order, which was set to end on April 30.

But I think the protestors had good reason to be upset.

Two weeks ago, a pro-life activist in Detroit was confronted by 15 – count that, 15– police officers as he peacefully stood outside an abortion facility. They said the man was violating Whitmer’s executive order. 

Fortunately, the governor has since clarified that her order doesn't punish pro-lifers standing outside abortion clinics, but that only came after the American Freedom Law Center threatened a lawsuit. 

On April 2, Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services announced that anyone who violates so-called social distancing guidelines will receive a hefty $1,000 fine.

A day earlier, Whitmer asked the Michigan legislature to extend her state of emergency powers for another 70 days — a request they ultimately refused to grant, thank God. 

But perhaps the most significant moment in all this took place when Whitmer expanded her original executive order on April 9. The new rules did a number of things.

For one, citizens were banned from traveling to their vacation homes — a timeless tradition for millions of Michiganders who want to get away from the stress of everyday life.

Golf courses and landscaping companies were to remain closed as well. Motorized boating, of all things, was also deemed non-essential. Moreover, many businesses were forced to stop the sale of seeds, paint, and gardening equipment. 

Whitmer justified her draconian measures during an interview on the TODAY show by suggesting that snow – yes, snow, as in cold weather – was going to make Michiganders stay in their homes anyway, so her decree wasn’t really an inconvenience for them.

Predictably, Michiganders have not taken kindly to these restrictions on their liberties.

A petition calling for Whitmer’s removal has been launched on More than 312,000 names have been added to the letter.

A Facebook group titled “Michiganders Against Excessive Quarantine” was started as well. It currently has 371,000 members.

As if that wasn’t enough, four Michigan sheriffs have written a public letter saying they won't enforce Whitmer’s lock down order, which they called an “overstepping [of] her executive authority.”

While Governor Whitmer’s audition for Joe Biden’s Vice Presidential pick may have started out strong, in recent weeks she has displayed what Tucker Carlson has called a “comical ineptitude and a weird kind of arbitrary fascism.”

Instead of trying to micromanage the everyday lives of ordinary Michiganders, Whitmer should open up most of the state's economy while focusing her efforts on the city of Detroit and its surrounding counties, which is where the majority of the COVID-19 cases are occurring. 

Tailored government interventions aimed at helping local authorities contain the virus and treat those who are infected is the solution to Michigan’s problems — not blanket state-wide bans. There is no reason the rest of us have to suffer for Detroit’s seemingly unsolvable incompetence.

If Biden chooses Whitmer as his running mate, Trump’s base in Michigan will be more enraged than ever. It won't take much to mobilize them come November. Trump's campaign team will also spend millions highlighting Whitmer's dictatorial decisions so the entire country will know just what to expect under a Biden-Whitmer regime.

A Whitmer pick could very well be what tips the state — which Trump won by a mere 11,000 votes in 2016 — into the Republican column. Biden would be wise to choose someone else if he’s serious about winning Michigan’s 16 Electoral College votes.

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Stephen Kokx is a journalist for LifeSiteNews. A former community college instructor, Stephen has written and spoken extensively about Catholic social teaching, politics, and spirituality. He previously worked for the Archdiocese of Chicago under the late Francis Cardinal George. His essays have appeared in a variety of outlets, including Catholic Family News and He is the author of St. Alphonsus for the 21st Century: A Handbook for Holiness.