Trump’s ‘LIBERATE MICHIGAN!’ tweets incite insurrection. That’s illegal. https://t.co/uu42tfIeqJ— David Laufman (@DavidLaufmanLaw) April 18, 2020
Republican legislators in multiple presidential battleground states are amping up pressure on Democratic governors to reopen their economies — clashes that are certain to shape the views of a critical slice of the electorate in November.
Democratic officials across Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Minnesota are resisting overtures to roll back public health closures: Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers just extended his state’s stay-at-home order despite legal threats from Republicans, and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf recently announced he will veto a GOP bill to expand which businesses are deemed too important to shutter.
The showdowns between emboldened Republican officials and Democratic governors are emerging as an undercard to the fall contest between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden. The GOP drumbeat comes as Democrats are seizing on Trump’s uneven handling of the virus to win the presidency and flip several statehouses.
Trump himself is stoking the angst on the right, urging in a Friday tweet to “LIBERATE” Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia. Those are among the states where protests of stay-at-home orders issued by Democrats are unfolding. But at the state level, the partisan standoffs are complicated by a tangle of Democratic directives that Republican lawmakers have struggled to unwind.
Minnesota is the last state in the country with a divided Legislature: Democrats won a majority in the state House two years ago and need just two seats to win the Senate.
Salvador Hernandez at Buzzfeed:
While thousands of demonstrators swarmed the Michigan State Capitol to protest the governor's stay-at-home order Wednesday — honking horns, waving flags, and bringing traffic to a halt — dozens of Facebook groups were already springing up to organize similar rallies across the country.
"Indiana Citizens Against Excessive Quarantine," "Operation Gridlock Tennessee," and other groups with similar names drew people calling an end to stay-at-home orders, measures that health officials say are essential to stopping the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Protests against the guidelines are being planned across the country. The Michigan Conservative Coalition, the same organization that planned the Lansing protest against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday, is helping organizers.
Organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition and the Michigan Freedom Fund, the protest has drawn criticism over its links to Betsy DeVos's family.
"I think it's really inappropriate for a sitting member of the United States president's cabinet to be waging political attacks on any governor," Whitmer said, referring to the education secretary.
The Michigan Freedom Fund was founded by Greg McNeilly, a political adviser to the DeVos family, who has provided financial support to the organization.
Meanwhile, more groups organizing protests across the US continue to show up on Facebook. Some have garnered only a handful of supporters, while others have quickly built up hundreds of followers.
"Pennsylvanians Against Excessive Quarantine" has garnered more than 48,000 members, while "Minnesotans Against Excessive Quarantine" has more than 17,000.
Both groups have nearly identical descriptions...And while some groups are receiving guidance from Michigan about how to organize their own protests against stay-at-home orders, they too are passing the playbook to other states, urging them to replicate the demonstrations.
A release from Notre Dame:
If you identify as blue in a red state or red in a blue state, you might not be complying well with advice given by your governor that is meant to keep you healthy during the coronavirus pandemic. Notre Dame Assistant Professor of Economics Kirsten Cornelson and her co-author Boriana Miloucheva of the University of Toronto found that in states with governors who won by close margins, compliance with stay-at-home orders and other health advice is lower among people with the opposite party affiliation.
The researchers surveyed about 1,000 individuals across 12 states using Amazon’s Mturk crowdsourcing platform, and resurveyed about 200 people they initially surveyed in 2019 about political polarization. Cornelson noted that they intentionally used data from states where elections were barely won by the leading party, so that they could compare the response among people in the same party, who lived in similar political environments.