Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is the “Best State/National Politician” and “Best Local Politician,” according to the readers of this fine publication, as voted for in the Top of the Town contest. She’s also the second “Worst Local Politician.”
Former President Donald Trump ranked third in the “Best State/National Politician” category. He’s also the “Worst State/National Politician.”
Trump apparently is worse than President Joe Biden, who finished second in this dubious category.
Polling tells us the third-most-likely person to become president is Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. He finished third for “Worst State/National Politician.”
U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin was the second-best “Best State/National Politician” and second “Best Local Politician.”
Last year, she beat former state Sen. Tom Barrett, who was the second “Worst Local Politician,” the third “Worst State/National Politician” … and the third “Best Local Politician.”
And the winner of the “Worst Local Politician” label was Tudor Dixon who beat out, as I mentioned before, the person who beat her for governor, Gretchen Whitmer.
Out of four categories, candidates in only three political races were selected.
Out of 12 possible places, the most popular selections were occupied by the same seven people.
What does this tell me?
A few things. We love and we hate what we know. Familiarity breeds strong feelings.
And, more disturbingly, politics has become so polarizing, numbing and off-putting that we’ll carelessly throw names on a ballot like this with little thought.
Politician? Whitmer. Trump. Slotkin. Biden. Barrett. Next.
I’ll guarantee that more thought was put into your favorite burger or local band than politician.
Who wouldn’t rather think about the best pizza in town instead? I would. Look, you may think Trump was a great president or a terrible president, and I won’t debate you on either point. But half of all Republicans are wrapped around his finger.
Tudor Dixon? There are nine other GOP hopefuls from 2022 who were worse than she was.
You may think Whitmer or Barrett were lousy at their jobs, too. But both have won far more races than they’ve lost.
Anybody who has convinced people to give them lots money and lots of votes isn’t “the worst.”
That designation is for people like Larry Hutchinson, who staples hand-drawn fliers onto telephone poles, or that Taft guy who runs dangerously on busy streets in Lansing in bright clothing.
Or even Perry Johnson, who pissed away millions of his own dollars, only to never make it to the starting line on any race.
These politicians are the worst. Despite their best efforts, they are soundly rejected, over and over.
Likewise, to say Whitmer is the best local politician only makes sense in that she’s a politician and she lives locally.
She’s more likely to run for president than anything local.
Sarah Anthony, Barb Byrum, Sam Singh, Peter Spadafore, Andy Schor, Chris Swope … all of these politicians have won multiple local races.
We all know these people, and we’d have voted for them if we gave it any thought.
But we didn’t, because we don’t want to think about politics. Not really. We actively avoid it.
In 2023, politics puts us in a bad place mentally.
It makes us combative, defensive and agitated, sometimes all at once. It causes us to de-friend people off social media or avoid talking to certain relatives.
Isn’t it telling that all three of the “Worst State/National Politicians” are the exact three people most likely to win the presidency in 2024?
We think so little of the profession that we’ve resigned ourselves to not think of who would be “the best” for a government position, but who would be less worse out of the options seemingly force-fed to us.
And does that make them the worst? Or are we the worst for letting it come to this?
(Email Kyle Melinn of the Capitol news service MIRS at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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