Democratic candidate for governor Mark Schauer has made both written and verbal requests to debate his opponent Rick Snyder. So far Snyder has refused to even acknowledge the requests have been made stating he’s far too busy being governor to waste time campaigning to keep his job. In fact, it’s possible Snyder may try to ignore Mark Schauer completely by pretending there is no election in November at all.
It’s not just that the governor is busy, but his personality also hinders him from being an effective political campaigner. Being a politician is really hard for Rick Snyder; it’s much easier to pretend not to be a politician, call the opponent a politician like it’s a bad thing and go on about how it’s a waste of time to even acknowledge Mark Schauer at all. Off the cuff speaking is also very difficult. It takes time and preparation with carefully crafted talking points to make the governor sound like he’s not a complete introverted shut-in. Or you know, a nerd. Snyder says he’s busy fixing Detroit and roads, because both are crumbling before his eyes and so far what he’s tried to do hasn’t begun to remedy either problem. His plans for Detroit are deteriorating so badly and quickly, it may be what sinks him this November.
Snyder running an anti-political “I’m too busy doing the job to campaign for the job” campaign is not a new strategy. Ignoring political opponents is also the preferred method of running for office used by President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko. In 2010 when ten opponents ran against him for president of the country, the single televised debate scheduled had one candidate distinctly missing – Alexander Lukashenko. Just like Rick Snyder, he used the same rhetoric to diminish the political viability of the other candidates by refusing to acknowledge any of them were a real thing he had to be concerned about – and he was too busy being president of Belarus to be bothered.
Lukashenko is called the “Last Dictator of Europe.” He rules his country completely, personally appointing people to oversee both business and governmental agencies. These appointees answer to nobody but him. Rick Snyder also does something similar with the emergency managers he personally appoints to cities and school districts. Just like with Lukashenko’s government appointments, Snyder’s emergency managers only have to answer to him.
The people of Michigan deserve the opportunity to see both candidates together and debating the issues that matter to this state. Choosing to ignore his political opponent and refusing to debate Mark Schauer doesn’t show Rick Snyder’s strength, it exposes his weakness as a candidate and as governor. Michigan deserves a Governor who isn’t afraid to face his opponents. Michigan needs to elect Mark Schauer on November 4th.