Draft Gretchen Whitmer for President 2024
The math is simple: the numbers don't lie. Joe Biden is the least popular presumptive Democrat presidential nominee seeking the Oval Office since Walter Mondale in 1984.
For weeks, Donald Trump and Ron Savonarola DeSantis have been in a dead heat or slightly trailing Biden in 2024 presidential polls. Why then are Black Democrats acquiescing to party elites by walking the gangplank with Biden over white nationalist-infested waters?
As the party's most powerful voting bloc, Black Democrats are the last force that can arrest the country's slide into authoritarian rule. Confronted with a dilemma requiring urgent intervention, New Black Nationalists call on Black Democrats to alter the dynamics of the 2024 presidential elections by initiating a Draft Gretchen Whitmer for President campaign.
This novel response summons grassroots Black Democrats, college students, community-based groups, and activist organizations to wrest control of the 2024 presidential elections from the party establishment. The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and Black Democrat apparatchiks are hopelessly tethered to the Biden machine or don't have the stomach to prosecute this fight.
Thoughtfully executed and designed to unleash young voters and women as the vanguard force of a new democracy surge, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer can emerge victorious as the Democrat presidential nominee in August 2024, in Chicago.
Gretchen Whitmer is not seeking the Democrat Party nomination. She has stated in no uncertain terms, "I don't want to run for president." We have no doubt she will repeat that response even as the Draft Whitmer movement builds momentum. That's fine.
The Draft Whitmer project doesn't ask the governor to run for the Democrat Party nomination. Instead, the project asks her to honor the highest call to public service bestowed on any public official in the country: accepting the presidential nomination of the majority of delegates assembled at the Chicago convention pledging their votes to her. Under these extraordinary circumstances, we are confident Gretchen Whitmer will be compelled to answer history's call.
The Draft Whitmer effort is not an anti-Biden project. It thanks Biden for his years of service, but firmly asserts the country has entered a different political era, with new political actors, speaking a new political language in a season that calls for a new brand of political leadership--the type Gretchen Whitmer has displayed as Governor of Michigan.
The Draft Whitmer enterprise brooks no public space for criticizing Joe Biden's record or political shortcomings. It is not a hobby shop for faction and alternative agendas. The Draft Whitmer movement is an affirmative project that focuses on Gretchen Whitmer's personal story, her force of character, grit, accomplishments, and leadership profile. It's about the future and new possibilities.
The 2024 elections are not as much about issues as it is about the Democratic Party's base emotionally connecting with Gretchen Whitmer's persona and leadership timbre. Not since John Kennedy, have Democrats shared a deep and visceral social bond of affection with their leader.
Charming, engaged, and modest in her demeanor, when the political fight erupts Gretchen Whitmer is at the ready. Tenacious and radiating confidence in battle, Whitmer is a study in constancy, willing her supporters to push forward to victory. It is Whitmer's force of character and charisma that can animate Democrats, Independents, and crossover Republican voters to vote in record numbers to win a decisive victory in 2024.
Joe Biden's inability to inspire the passion required to match the perilous moment we live in makes him a high-risk candidate. We cannot afford that level of risk when a better common-sense option is available. After eight years as vice president and four years as president, Democrats and Independents suffering from Biden fatigue are increasingly becoming lethargic. They are thirsty for change.
Between now and the November 2024 elections, a thousand paper cuts will plague Biden's presidency, including the Beau Biden investigations and classified documents snafu. Biden's age and the RBG Syndrome continue to cast a long shadow over his reelection bid. The fact that Democrats shrink from any public discussion of Biden's age does not change the reality that it's a ball and chain weighing down his candidacy.
For all these reasons, the April 2023, Associated Press/NORC Center for Public Affairs poll in which 52% percent of Democrats said Biden should not seek reelection was not surprising. Worse still, the May ABC News/Washington Post poll found 63% of American adults don't think Biden has the "mental sharpness" it takes to serve effectively as president. That flashing red neon sign caused Democrats to wince, but they simply turned their heads and dutifully moved on. Democrats not only have a tin ear that cannot discern what their own constituents are telling them, they are also vision impaired.
Biden's anemic polling numbers are illustrative of a persistent enthusiasm gap, especially among Black voters. The majority of youth who will cast ballots in 2024, will show up to vote for gun safety reform. Women are going to turn out to vote for reproductive rights. But they deserve more. Is it not time they were presented with a leader that generates infectious excitement and energy?
In truth, Democrats should win the Oval Office in 2024 hands down. Does the country really envision its future as Trump's violence-prone, conspiracy theory-driven wasteland of corruption, Social Darwinism, and white nationalism? Is the republic clamoring for Florida's Dark Enlightenment dystopia of Ron Savonarola DeSantis's Bonfire of Woke Heresies? We think not.
We believe they prefer a polity like Gretchen Whitmer's Michigan that hums to the inclusive algorithms of voters deciding vital issues through state referendum and eliminating gerrymandered congressional districts by an independent bipartisan redistricting commission.
We suspect the electorate prefers a country where women enjoy reproductive rights, full-spectrum health care, and they are not legally bound to be made wards of the state.
We feel young people and their parents would prefer living in a state like Michigan which has passed a series of gun reform bills requiring universal background checks on the sale of firearms, mandating the safe storage of guns and ammunition, and Red Flag laws keeping guns out of the hands of individuals who may be dangerous to society and themselves.
We believe voters prefer a country that resembles Michigan's unfolding economic renaissance built on hard work, business and government partnerships, and cooperation with their border neighbors in Canada. In May 2023, Whitmer joined Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg and Canadian Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, to announce the creation of the first Binational Electric Vehicle Corridor, an 872-mile route from Kalamazoo, Michigan to Quebec City, Canada. The EV corridor will feature fast chargers every 50 miles.
We find it difficult to fathom most people would prefer a governor that exacts retribution on his state's largest employer because the company dissents against state-sanctioned discrimination of its LGBTQI residents.
This is the debate Democrats should want. And they can have it with Gretchen Whitmer as their standard bearer. Instead, Biden's campaign will be preoccupied with fending off attacks on his family's business practices and explaining why classified government documents were found in his home and offices. Having focused their heaviest artillery on Joe Biden, the Republican attack machine would find it difficult--as they did in Michigan--to pillory Gretchen Whitmer.
In winning the 2022 governor's race by a 54% to 43% margin, Gretchen Whitmer's led Michigan to be the only state in the country that flipped the state House and state Senate to Democrat control.
Whitmer's stunning eleven percent victory margin was powered by two key factors. First, Michigan had the country's highest turnout of young voters (36%). They swamped college campus polling stations, waiting for hours to cast ballots.
Second, after the Supreme Court Dobbs decision, Whitmer led the fight to overturn a 1931 Michigan law criminalizing abortion. In November 2022, Michigan voters turned out in overwhelming numbers to pass an Abortion Rights amendment to the state constitution by a 56% - 43% margin.
Whitmer has emerged as a national force in the reproductive rights movement. But her tie to the issue goes deeper than politics. Her story as a victim of sexual assault will resonate among Republican and Democrat women in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Milwaukee's suburbs, as well as urban enclaves and college campuses.
In Michigan's Senate chamber, Whitman said, "Thank God it didn’t result in a pregnancy because I can’t imagine going through what I went through and then having to consider what to do about an unwanted pregnancy from an attacker.”
In March 2023, Whitmer also signed an expanded the state’s civil rights law to include explicit protections for sexual orientation and gender identity, signing the first statewide law in Michigan to prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people. Again, this is not just politics for Whitmer. Her daughter Sherry is openly gay.
Gretchen Whitmer possesses a unique suite of organizational and governing skills, acute political instincts, bipartisan appeal, and toughness leavened with self-deprecating humor. Whitmer is not a politician known for soaring rhetorical flourishes. She speaks the vernacular of her voters' everyday life experiences.
Gretchen Whitmer won't be outworked by any politician. Intellectually in command of the issues she grasps something that many wonkish and effete Democrat liberals don't: candidates must emotionally connect with voters. She understands that authenticity is the political coin of the realm, not sounding like a policy manual.
As for Whitmer's economic stewardship, new semiconductor firms, hydrogen fuel plants, clean water facilities, GM and Ford auto jobs, and a massive new bridge connecting Detroit to Windsor, Canada, are part of Michigan's economic resurgence narrative.
That said, Whitmer is famously known for her focus on “fixing the damn roads” -- a priority backed by state funding, shovels in the ground, and bipartisan support. Going one better, Whitmer's bill cutting auto-insurance rates in the state has been immensely popular with Michiganders.
Grethen Whitmer's relationship to Michigan's Black community has been positive and productive. Her selection of Detroit's Black City Clerk and tech-guru Carlin Gilchrist ll as Lt. Governor has belied naysayers' who speculated he was window dressing for the Black community. Gilcrest, a social media manager for Barack Obama's 2008 campaign is a formidable player.
Whitmer inherited the Flint water crisis. The city's predominantly Black community suffered from lead-contaminated water due to former Republican Governor Rick Snyder's 2014 change in the city's water treatment program. In December 2020, Whitmer signed a $600 million settlement bill for Flint families impacted by the contamination. In June 2022, Whitmer also signed a bi-partisan $4.7 billion bill for clean water facilities, upgrades to water systems, filtering devices, and improved monitoring programs. The City of Flint continues to install new lead-free piping throughout the municipality.
In 2019, Whitmer's recommendation to close a predominantly Black academically underperforming high school in Benton Harbor generated heat from the Black community and Black State Board of Education members. Whitmer went to a community meeting of 250 Benton Harbor residents to hear their concerns and state her case. Her position did not prevail, but she respected the community by showing up and grappling with the issues face-to-face. The State Board of Education, Benton Harbor's community, and local education officials developed a proposal that kept the school open.
Of the lives claimed by the COVID-19 pandemic, 39% were Black people which comprised 14% of Michigan's population. The pandemic presented daunting challenges to Whitmer's administration. She imposed some of the toughest social distancing, masking requirements, business, and school closure policies in the country.
Whitmer came under withering attacks from the state and national Republican Party. Responding to Trump's call to "Liberate Michigan" a white nationalist terrorist cell's plot to kidnap Whitmer was uncovered and foiled.
Responding to the crisis, Whitmer said COVID-19's disproportionate impact on Black communities demonstrated how racial bias impacts a public health crisis. "We have a lot of work to do to eradicate the systemic racism that Black Americans have faced for generations," said Whitmer. She issued an executive order requiring all Michigan state employees to undergo "implicit bias training."
As part of the same executive order Whitmer created a Black Leadership Advisory Council with a broad mandate for recommending state policies to identify gaps in state law that "perpetuate inequities," promote legislation to remedy Michigan's "structural inequities," and provide resources to "advance the interests and "promote cultural arts in the Black community."
It was Grethen Whitmer's refusal to back down in the face of the Republican onslaught that created the legend of Big Gretch in Detroit's Black community. When Donald Trump attacked her stance on the pandemic calling her "That woman from Michigan," Whitmer started defiantly wearing sweatshirts converting it to a slogan.
Supporting Whitmer's pandemic stay-at-home policy and slamming Donald Trump's attacks on the governor, in May 2020 Detroit rapper GmacCash released the rap song Big Gretch. The jingle went viral overnight. In the song, GmacCash says,
"All that protesting was irrelevant, Big Gretch ain't trying to hear ya'll or the president, how we gon' take orders from a non-resident? Talking about 'It's safe,' but he ain't coming with the evidence."
Gretchen Whitmer tweeted out her endorsement of the song.
This is too much 😂
Love the nickname.
Love the song.
See ya at the cookout, @GmacCash.
Until then, Big Gretch says stay home and stay safe!
So began the legend of Big Gretch. It grew with tee-shirts featuring Whitmer sporting Cartier Buffalo (Buffs) sunglasses.
Shortly afterward, white nationalists protested inside the state Capitol with assault weapons, swastikas, and Confederate flags. Whitmer said the protesters depicted some of the "worst racism and awful parts" of the nation's history. Then, she announced the extension of the COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home order.
The legend of Big Gretch was more than a quixotic celebrity fad. It struck a chord beyond Detroit's Black community and echoed across the state. Deadline Detroit writer Violet Ikonomova put it this way: "Big Gretch" represents toughness, attitude, and resilience. The Michigan pendant she wears is not a dainty necklace, but an iced-out dirty glove chain."
Ikononmova hit on a recurring theme heard in Michigan's exit polls on election night in November 2022. Many independents and Republicans who voted for Whitmer didn't agree with her positions and even thought some of her COVID-19 prevention measures went too far. Still, they gave her the benefit of the doubt. They voted for Whitmer because she spoke with candor and conviction. They believed at the end of the day she was trying to protect them.
In innumerable ways, Gretchen Whitmer is the right presidential candidate, at the right time. She has purchase among the two hottest voting blocs in the country: women and youth. Few Democrats possess her cross-over appeal to independents and Republicans, and she would play well in Arizona, Georgia, and Nevada. Whitmer understands the culture and trap doors of Midwest politics, the most critical region to win the 2024 election. Unlike too many white candidates, including Biden, she is comfortable among the Black Commons.
In September 2022, former Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan--who we encouraged to run in November 2022--voiced his opposition to Biden seeking re-election. Ryan recalled that during the 2020 campaign, Joe Biden promised he was going to be 'a bridge to the next generation.' That next generation has arrived in the person of Hakim Jeffries, John Warnock, Gavin Newsom, Gretchen Whitmer, and others. Apparently, the Democratic Party establishment is comfortable if not resigned to the leadership of the elders of white heteropatriarchy.
Gretchen Whitmer is not a political superstar nor a national savior. But she could well be all that stands between white nationalist authoritarian rule coming to power in the 2024 presidential election.
From New Black Nationalists' standpoint, Donald Trump, the Republican Party, and white nationalist militias are a seditious regime change cabal that poses an existential threat to the Black Commons. They are equally loathed by all who possess a scintilla of civic virtue.
Even if Republicans gain control of the House and the Senate in 2024, they absolutely must be denied control of the Executive Branch. Republican control over federal emergency powers, the U.S. military, the intelligence services, and the Justice and Homeland Security Departments would constitute state capture by a coalition of tyrants. Here again, a Whitmer candidacy that expands Democrats' voting base may determine which party controls one or both Congressional chambers.
The grave confluence of events gathering on the horizon foreshadows the possible collapse of American Empire, civil war, more coup plots, and even National Divorce. New tactical and strategic calculations and alignments have been set in motion in an increasingly fluid political battlespace.
New Black Nationalists are not immune to the gravitational pull of these events. As a matter of full disclosure, we do not participate in electoral politics, nor engage in any communications with political parties.
This call for Black Democrats to draft Governor Gretchen Whitmer is not an attempt to save American Empire or salvage its corporately managed democracy. It is an intervention strategy to foreclose on the immediate possibility of state capture by white nationalist authoritarian despots.
As a network committed to developing theoretical products and analysis for those among the Black Commons that seek exit, and the exercise of self-determination to create a sovereign Black majority-led nation-state, New Black Nationalists have a responsibility to proffer the best counsel possible to support independent political action. We trust this recommendation lends weight to the sobriety of the moment and the necessity to probe the boundaries of unconventional thinking.