Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

After Warren Drops Out, Michiganders Have A Choice: Pragmatism Or Populism

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Image credit: Photo Illustration by Shiraz Ahmed / WDET

Income inequality could be a defining theme of this year’s presidential election. How will it affect Michigan’s Democratic primary on March 10th?

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Today, Sen. Elizabeth Warren dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, leaving former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, and — yes — Rep. Tulsi Gabbard still in competition. 

Now, Michigan’s March 10th presidential primary election, and its 125 allocatable delegates, could decide the race within the week. And Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has now endorsed Biden for the nomination. 

I think the role of enthusiasm is going to be a big deal.” - Jonathan Oosting, Bridge Magazine

The economy is booming, but many Michiganders aren’t feeling the effects. Economic disparity continues to be a pressing issue in United States, especially in Michigan, even in times of sustained economic growth. Will this widening income gap impact how Michiganders vote?

Listen: How will Whitmer’s endorsement of Joe Biden and the state of the economy impact voter attitudes ahead of the Michigan primary?


Jonathan OostingThe Detroit News

Jonathan Oosting

Jonathan Oostingstate Capitol reporter for Bridge Magazine, explored how the state’s growing disparities will play out at the ballot box in his recent piece, “Michigan’s income gap is widening. Time for Democrats to soak the rich?”. On Whitmer’s backing, Oosting says, “I think endorsements aren’t as big of a deal as many people make them out to be, but she’s pretty high-profile, so I think this one is significant.”

While Whitmer is in support of Biden’s pragmatic approach to incremental change, Sanders supporters are calling for a revolution. Oosting says Michigan has seen a widening income and wealth gap over the last several decades, with most wages in the state remaining stagnant. Sanders’ supporters are motivated by his populist message, eager to tackle the issue of inequality, like the one Michigan faces. Will those impassioned supporters be willing to get behind a pragmatic candidate like Biden if he ends up being the nominee?

I think the role of enthusiasm is going to be a big deal,” says Oosting. 

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