‘I don’t do this often for the people of the state’: Trump opposes Michigan candidates in battle for voting rights | American News

EEight hours before Donald Trump took the stage in suburban Detroit on Saturday, an army of canvassers rushed along the line of people snaking past the huge sports complex where supporters of the former president were waiting to enter. going to have a fair election? “A canvasser asked Marco Braggion, 26, and Christian Howard, 25, who was standing in a cowboy hat and denim jacket. “We have to be able to work these polls to keep a keep an eye on what’s going on.”

It was an exchange that underscored how Republicans, fed doubts about the 2020 election, are arranging to take control of the electoral machine – how ballots are cast and counted. And when Trump took the stage Saturday night, his first visit to Michigan since 2020, that’s what he was focused on, too. He was there to campaign for two little-known candidates seeking positions that wield significant power over voting rules in Michigan, one of the most important states in the presidential election battleground.

Trump was rushing for Matthew DePerno, who is seeking the GOP nomination for attorney general, and Kristina Karamo, a Republican candidate for Michigan’s secretary of state, the state’s election chief. Both are seeking to win the Republican nomination at the party’s convention in the state this month.

Neither has previous political experience and their political rise stems almost entirely from their efforts to spread misinformation about the 2020 election. Joe Biden beat Trump in the state by just over 154,000 votes in 2020 , and Trump’s efforts to reject the election. If Karamo and DePerno were elected this fall, it would put two Trump allies in key positions from which they could potentially do what he couldn’t do in 2020: overturn an election result.

“Remember, this isn’t just about 2022, this is about making sure Michigan isn’t rigged and robbed in 2024,” Trump said in a winding hour-long speech and forty-five minutes in which he repeatedly incorrectly insisted he won Michigan in 2020. “I have to be honest, I don’t often do this for people in the state, c is so important. What happened in Michigan is a shame.

Karamo is a part-time community college professor who rose to fame in Republican circles after claiming to witness election night fraud while observing ballot counting in Detroit. These claims have been debunked, but she has nonetheless been catapulted to the Republican center stage in the race for Secretary of State. She joined an unsuccessful Michigan election in 2020 after being certified and sought to intervene in a failed US Supreme Court effort to overturn election results in key swing states. She called public schools “government indoctrination camps” and suggested that those who attacked the US capital on January 6 were antifa.

She electrified the crowd packed into the astroturf inside the Michigan Stars Sport Center on Saturday night by calling Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat currently Secretary of State, “an overbearing leftist who treats the people of Michigan like the unwashed masses.” .

“There is an army of people across our state fighting back. Little MAGA warriors and we get the job done,” she said, using the acronym of Trump’s slogan, Make America Great Again.

Speaking to reporters earlier this week, Benson said Michigan was “ground zero” in the battle for American democracy. She said Trump was seeking to put loyalists in power who may succumb to future demands to cancel an election.

“We also fought Holocaust deniers, some of whom now want to take control of statewide offices so they can potentially be able to block or void or not certify election results with which they disagree in the future. That’s just what’s at stake this fall,” she said.

Kristina Karamo is a candidate for the Michigan Republican Party’s nomination for Secretary of State. Photography: Junfu Han/AP

DePerno rose to prominence last year by spreading false allegations of fraud in County Antrim, northern Michigan, where a clerk made a mistake on election night and released incorrect figures that showed initially that Biden was in the lead. DePerno sued the county and released incorrect information suggesting the votes could have been reversed. A government review and separate GOP investigation into the incident found no evidence of fraud and did not spare criticism of DePerno.

“We will no longer allow the elites of this country to control our elections and control us,” DePerno said Saturday. He pledged to arrest Benson and Dana Nessel, the current Democratic attorney general.

“[Trump] wants people who will manipulate the 2024 election to his advantage,” Nessel told the Guardian on Friday. “Just a few years ago, they would have been viewed as extreme, fringe candidates who would never have had success in the Republican Party. And now they are emblematic of the Republican Party.

Outside the rally, a soundtrack of songs that have become staples of Trump rallies — Elton John’s Tiny Dancer among them — blasted as some people played cornhole. MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell received thunderous applause during his brief appearance.

The most prominent canvassers were those seeking to have spectators sign a petition for a ballot measure to “decertify” Michigan’s 2020 election results, which is not legally possible. Organizers hoped to secure 10,000 signatures at Trump’s rally on Saturday, said Janice Daniels, a former local mayor involved in the effort, who was collecting signatures on Saturday. She said she was unmoved by a sweeping legal agreement that the 2020 election cannot be voided and several reviews in Michigan that confirmed the 2020 election result.

Supporters line up before the rally.
Supporters line up before the rally. Photography: Junfu Han/AP

“That’s what the enemies say. They want to discourage you from doing what is right, what is right and what is possible,” she said. “Extraordinary problems require extraordinary solutions. We are in an extraordinary environment where a coup has taken over our entire government.

But some people at the rally acknowledged that decertification of the election was not really a possibility. “I don’t think it’s possible, but it should have been done. It’s a done deal,” said 67-year-old Diane Zechmeister. Zechmeister said she didn’t follow the election administration very closely until 2020, “when things got bad.”

A friend accompanying him, Carol Fischer, 68, said nothing could persuade her that the 2020 election results were accurate. “I will never believe that,” she said. Multiple polls since the 2020 election have shown that many Republicans continue to believe Trump won.

Greg Taylor, 38, was also in line early to enter the rally to ensure he would get an inside spot. Even after state officials and Michigan legislative Republicans released several audits and reports debunking conspiracies in Michigan, Taylor could think of nothing that would persuade him that the election results were accurate. “Not with what I saw. I really can’t see that,” he said. “The only way we could find out is, I guess, through an audit, I guess. But who knows about the audit?

“It’s so hard to trust anyone. I don’t trust either side,” he said.

Tyler Griffin, who stood in line in an oversized red cowboy hat, also said nothing could persuade him to accept the 2020 results. “I looked at all the numbers and it doesn’t add up.”

Not everyone at the rally was enthused by Trump’s continued focus on the election. Howard, the first rally attendee who was approached about being an election worker, said he hoped Trump would quit the 2020 election in the past.

“I hope he lets it go,” he said. “I know he won’t, but I hope he will.”

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