Michigan's third congressional district isn't as solidly red as it once was. The two biggest cities-- Grand Rapids and Battle Creek-- are both Democratic bastions now. Last year, Trump only managed to attract 50.6% of the vote in the district, losing Kent County with just 45.8%. First time candidate, Peter Meijer (R) did better than Trump (53%) as he beat a heavily financed conservative Democrat, Hillary Scholten, who spent a million dollars more than Meijer (who put nearly a million of his own dollars into the campaign). The heir to a huge Michigan supermarket chair, Meijer's family is estimated to be worth around $6 billion. Peter Meijer's inheritance is worth over $50 million.
A mainstream conservative, Meijer frequently found himself on the opposite side of the barricades from Trump ands fascist supporters. After the sacking of the Capitol he voted to impeach Trump and announced that the threats from trump's followers was so intense that he had purchased body armor. He also voted to establish the sedition commission and to condemn Marjorie Traitor Greene. Trump is eager to destroy the political careers of all Republicans who have stood up to him.
Yesterday Trump endorsed several crackpots in Michigan, including John Gibbs, a mentally deranged conspiracy theory nut-job who was so crazy that even McConnell and the GOP-controlled Senate refused to confirm him after Trump nominated him as director of the Office of Personnel Management. Gibbs had been spreading online rumors that lobbyist John Podesta-- manager of Hillary's 2016 campaign-- had taken part in a satanic ritual and described Democrats as the party of "Islam, gender-bending, anti-police, 'u racist!" More recently, Gibbs has been using the "Let's Go Brandon" neo-Nazi shorthand for "Fuck Joe Biden."
In his incoherent, barely literate statement, Trump said that "Meyer [sic] has been a terrible representative of the Republican Party and beyond. John Gibbs is a fabulous talent who love the State, our military and our Vets." Apparently not all of our Vets, Meijer having served in Iraq. Gibbs is just one of several MAGA candidates running against Meijer, Audra Johnson-- the MAGA-bride-- probably the best known of them.
In Ohio, Anthony Gonzalez, another pro-impeachment Republican and once touted as a future GOP star, decided to retire rather than fight Trump once Trump endorsed his opponent-- a former Trump roadie from Shaker Heights, no where near the district-- neither physically nor culturally. Gonzalez was on State of the Union with Jake Tapper Sunday. You can watch it above or read the transcript:
TAPPER: He came very close to overturning an election through various methods. How worried are you, the next time, he will be better positioned and he will undermine democracy?
GONZALEZ: It looks to me-- and I think any objective observer would come to this conclusion-- that he has evaluated what went wrong on January 6. Why is it that he wasn't able to steal the election? Who stood in his way?
Every single American institution is just run by people. And you need the right people to make the right decision in the most difficult times. He's going systematically through the country and trying to remove those people and install people who are going to do exactly what he wants them to do, who believe the Big Lie, who will go along with anything he says.
And, again, I think it's all pushing towards one of two outcomes. He either wins legitimately, which he may do, or, if he loses again, he will just try to steal it. But he will try to steal it with his people in those positions.
And that's then the most difficult challenge for our country. You ask yourself the question, do the institutions hold again? Do they hold with a different set of people in place? I hope so. But you can't guarantee it.
TAPPER: What do you remember about January 6?
GONZALEZ: I was sitting in the balcony when the session was called to order.
And I saw the first objection. At that point, I throw on my Twitter, and I could see that people were breaking the line. So, I peeked out the window, saw more people breaking. And I said, I'm just going to go back to my office. This doesn't look like a good thing, so, ultimately, barricaded ourselves in, put some street clothes on, in case I had to run for it.
And, luckily, I didn't. Nobody came in. But it was-- it was pretty harrowing. I mean, there were tough calls with my wife. There were tough calls with my family. But, at the time, you don't know how it's going to end. Thank God that there weren't more people killed.
But, at the time, you don't know that. At the time, you know that there's an angry, violent mob who believes the election was stolen in the United States of America. And you're seeing even members of Congress saying, this is our 1776 moment [seditionist LaurenBoebert].
If that's what people are saying, well, of course, you're going to have violence, and, of course, you're going to have a riot at the Capitol.
TAPPER: There are people who voted to certify the election who did not vote to impeach.
Was that the most difficult vote of your life, or was the certification one more tough?
GONZALEZ: The impeachment was the hardest vote, for sure. In order to get me to vote for an impeachment, any impeachment, I have to believe that there was a grave assault on the country committed by the sitting president, whoever it is.
And so it was deeply sad to come to the conclusion that I did and to feel like I could no longer trust the president of the United States, even for a few days, to be the commander in chief of our military. I felt like-- like I had no choice in the matter. I had to do what I felt was right to protect the country.
TAPPER: And then you not only put your political career in jeopardy by doing that. You got death threats.
This will sound weird, and I don't mean it to. It'll sound flippant, but I always expected death threats in this job. So, that wasn't a surprise. Unfortunately, it happened maybe sooner than I would like, and it happened in this way.
But that wasn't what made me decide not to run again. It really wasn't, as terrible as those death threats are, right? For me, it was more of a lifestyle decision for my family and kind of what kind of family life we want going forward.
But, look, to state the obvious, though I expected death threats at some point in this job, there is no legitimate place for political violence anywhere in this country. And the fact that we have seen it and, I would argue, normalized it over the last two years sets our country back significantly. It's one of the biggest things I'm worried about.
TAPPER: There are hopefully Republican voters and maybe even some Republican leaders watching you right now. What is your message to them?
GONZALEZ: Two things. One, keep the faith. This country's been through a lot. We have fought through it, and we have persevered.
The country-- as much as I despise almost every policy of the Biden administration, and we could talk about that for six hours, the country can survive around a bad policy. The country can't survive torching the Constitution. We have to hold fast to the Constitution. That needs to be the bedrock upon which we build our party and our movement.
We have to be a party of ideas. We have to be a party of Truth. And the cold, hard truth is, Donald Trump led us into a ditch on January 6. The former president lied to us. He lied to every one of us. And, in doing so, he cost us the House, the Senate and the White House.
I see, fundamentally, a person who shouldn't be able to hold office again because of what he did around January 6. But I also see somebody who's an enormous political loser. And I don't know why anybody who wants to win elections going forward would follow that.
I simply-- like, I don't get it ethically. I certainly don't get it politically. Neither of them makes sense.
If he's the nominee again in '24, I will do everything I personally can to make sure he doesn't win. Now, I'm not voting for Democrats, but whether that's find a viable third party or whether that's try to defeat him in primaries, whatever it is, that's going to be where I'll spend my time.
TAPPER: Because you're worried about what he will do to democracy?
GONZALEZ: Yes, I don't trust him.
January 6 was the line that can't be crossed. January 6 was an unconstitutional attempt, led by the president of the United States, to overturn an American election and reinstall himself in power illegitimately.
That's fallen nation territory. That's Third World country territory.
My family left Cuba to avoid that fate. I will not let it happen here.
Can I stop him? I have no idea. But I believe, as a citizen of this country who loves this country and respects the Constitution, that's my responsibility.
Let's end with John Oliver and... Jenna Ryan and Paul Gosar (R-AZ):