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Why It Should Be Whitmer

The Girlboss Queen Really Is the Flailing Party’s Best Shot
Barbie doll dressed as Governor Gretchen Whitmer with Michigan capitol building in background.

Let me preface this by saying that I have never voted for Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer nor will I ever. My parents raised me better than that.

But there are plenty of women who will, and that alone makes Whitmer one of the Democratic Party’s best candidates for the presidency and thus a potential replacement for President Joe Biden.

It’s no secret Whitmer wants the job. She may have denied reports this past week that she’s been floating her name, and she may have issued yet another sycophantic social media post endorsing Biden, but Whitmer can’t hide her ambition. In her latest Biden endorsement post, for example, Whitmer linked her political action committee’s fundraising page, not Biden’s. 

That said, it’s unlikely we will see a formal challenge from Whitmer this election cycle. There would be too much risk and too little reward for her to enter the race this late. Whitmer is smart: she knows that getting bogged down in a potentially nasty Democratic open convention would be far more damaging to her political future than waiting until the 2028 cycle when she’ll be an easy party favorite.

However, if Democrats are serious about dumping Biden and his equally bumbling and mumbling vice president, Kamala Harris, they’d find no better candidate than Whitmer. Here’s why.

Listen to Kaylee McGhee White on the Enjoyer Podcast with James Dickson.

Whitmer is the perfect encapsulation of the liberal-leaning suburban wine mom who, every once in a while, has a moment of clarity while checking out at the grocery store, only to be dragged back down by Democratic hyperbole on abortion and guns and democracy as she listens to NPR on the drive back home. Suburban wine moms think Hillary Clinton’s pant suits are great but that Hillary herself is a bit of a b***ch who, after all, let her husband walk all over her in ways that don’t sit well. They think former President Donald Trump is a tough pill to swallow and wish he’d shut up.

Whitmer is the perfect encapsulation of the liberal-leaning suburban wine mom who, every once in a while, has a moment of clarity while checking out at the grocery store….

Whitmer understands these women because she is one of these women.

Whitmer understands these women because she is one of these women. And her ability to speak directly to them and represent how they feel is a big part of the reason why she cruised to reelection in 2022, despite the fact that her heavy-handed COVID policies (which she had no authority to implement, according to the Michigan Supreme Court) forced many of these womens’ husbands out of work and caused irreparable harm to the state’s economy.

Whitmer’s support among this key demographic also comes from her ability to capitalize on Democrats’ top issue: abortion. Indeed, abortion’s appearance on the ballot in 2022 is another reason Whitmer performed well beyond expectations. More than 70% of voters in Michigan’s 2022 election said abortion was an important part of why they turned out to vote, according to KFF. Whitmer used this to her advantage, and used it well.

Whitmer’s ability to motivate suburban women on abortion is invaluable to Democrats. This task has been assigned to Harris, who is too busy contemplating the passage of time to capitalize on her critical role. And Biden… well, if you’re reading this past 8 p.m., then it’s past his bedtime. 

Whitmer has one more key advantage she can offer Democrats: unlike Biden and Harris, she’s popular. In fact, while Biden’s approval ratings have tanked across Michigan, Whitmer’s have remained steadily high. In a January poll, 45% of Michiganders said the state was on the right track under Whitmer’s leadership, while 19% said the same of the rest of the country under Biden. She also received her highest ever job approval percentage in January: 65%. Just 35% of Michiganders said the same of Biden.

With those numbers, Whitmer not only would help Democrats reach the suburban women they’re currently at risk of losing, but she would also help them secure Michigan, a critical swing state that Trump is currently carrying.

Again, I do not say this because I support Whitmer. Her policies have inflicted significant harm on Michigan and are a big part of the reason why so many young adults have left the state in recent years. 

And it feels a bit suicidal to give Democrats advice that might help them win—either this year or beyond. But it’s true: Democrats would be fools to overlook her. 

For all our sakes, I hope they stay that way.

Kaylee McGhee White is the Restoring America editor for the Washington Examiner, a Tony Blankley fellow for the Steamboat Institute, and a senior fellow for the Independent Women’s Forum. She grew up in Detroit and graduated from Hillsdale College. Follow her on X at @KayleeDMcGhee.

Be sure to also check out James Dickson’s prediction for Whitmer’s candidacy here.

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