“Roe is the latest member of the GOP in Michigan to learn there is a price to be paid for telling the truth.” – Detroit Free Press
LANSING — Since the 2020 general election concluded, Republicans across Michigan have completely surrendered themselves to a deep-seated refusal to acknowledge the basic fact that the results are what they are.
And for those that do, like former MIGOP executive director Jason Roe, the grassroots blowback is swift. Roe resigned last week for comments made in April in which he laid 2020’s presidential loss where it belongs — squarely at the feet of Donald Trump, not voter fraud. “Frankly, continuing to humor him merely excuses [Trump’s] role in this,” said Roe. “The election wasn’t stolen, he blew it.”
Now, new reporting from Detroit Free Press details the extent of the purity test hoops Republicans will have to jump through to avoid the RINO label. This chaotic reality is already looming large over the crowded gubernatorial primary as 7 candidates to date are desperate to show that they are the most devoted to the extremist cause of challenging our electoral systems.
See below for key excerpts and read the full report here.
Detroit Free Press: Trump and His Election Lies Remain ‘Purity Test’ for Michigan Republicans
Jason Roe didn’t want to preach to the choir, but he sure did get them to sing.
The former executive director of the Michigan Republican Party left his job last week after months of haranguing by grassroots GOP activists who were furious he said former President Donald Trump was to blame for losing an election that was not stolen.
Roe is the latest member of the GOP in Michigan to learn there is a price to be paid for telling the truth.
Trump recently attacked Sen. Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, and other GOP senators for releasing a report stating Michigan’s election was not swayed by fraud. Aaron Van Langevelde, a GOP member of the Board of State Canvassers, faced threats and ultimately was not picked to keep his post after voting in December to certify election results.
There’s no indication many Michigan Republicans will abandon Trump — or the 2020 election disinformation campaign — anytime soon.
Michigan Republican Party co-Chair Meshawn Maddock, an avid Trump supporter who organized buses headed to what became the Jan. 6 insurrection, continues to question the legitimacy of the election and spread misinformation. County parties are censuring or discussing censures for U.S. Reps. Fred Upton, Peter Meijer and other Republicans who have spoken out against Trump.
But there’s a clear disconnect between some party leaders and many GOP voters. Those voters, ultimately, create purity tests for their leaders, said Charles Shipan, a political science professor at the University of Michigan.
“It’s a really tricky two-step they’re trying to do — they want to move on and act as if, OK, we all know the election is settled and it’s fine, but they want to do that without actually saying that,” Shipan said.
“We have some Republican leaders who want to move on […] But when they try to do that, then they run into trouble with people in their own party who say, ‘Well no, you should be fighting this.'”
Roe never wavered from his stance on Trump despite the criticism.
The pushback did not come from one or two frustrated Republicans whispering in the corner of a county party meeting. Many Michigan GOP precinct delegates delivered a resolution calling on the party’s leadership to fire Roe because of his comments.
“The MAGA America First Party IS THE REPUBLICAN PARTY. Not the 20% who shout the loudest through the media. The Grassroots and America First Republican Precinct Delegates ARE THE BACKBONE OF THE REPUBLICAN PARTY,” Debra Ell, a Michigan Republican activist and a leader of the resolution against Roe, posted to Facebook after his resignation.
Today, the acceptance or denial of fact is at the heart of the fight.
In Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina and other states, lawmakers who support Trump advocate for so-called “forensic audits” or confiscating ballot machines in a doomed effort to review election results.
“This sickness is spreading,” said David Becker, executive director of the Center for Election Innovation & Research, a nonprofit that aims to increase trust in elections.
Despite Weiser defending Roe and arguing everyone needs to focus on the future, Maddock recently criticized McBroom’s report and posted in favor of a so-called “forensic audit” in Michigan.
“I’ve been in communication with Trump advisers and they wanted a different approach from our Legislature. I would have preferred they waited for the results from Arizona before issuing a formal report,” Maddock said.
Earlier this week, her husband, state Rep. Matt Maddock, R-Milford, sent out a fundraising email casting doubt on the 2020 election outcome.
This is not new for the Maddocks. And, at least in Meshawn Maddock’s case, her decision to publicly question the veracity of the 2020 election has not hurt her standing among Michigan Republicans.
It’s unclear whether Weiser’s ongoing defense of Roe and the truth will affect his own.