MAGA schtick wearing thin with Michigan GOP voters


It’s taken a while, but the game of division, subtraction, exclusion, and confrontation employed by those in the extreme Make America Great Again movement appears to be losing ground with voters in reliably Republican areas of Michigan.

In bright red Ottawa County, voters recalled county commissioners who cut their teeth on the conspiratorial conservative dogma that got them into office.

Ottawa Impact, the far-right group that gained popularity for opposing mandatory mask-wearing public health orders during COVID, no longer has a working majority on the Ottawa County Commission as a result of the May 7 election.

Voters in and around Holland and Park Township voted 60% to 40% to pull the plug on Lucy Ebel before her term ended in favor of a Democrat, Chris Kleinjans. This is significant for those familiar with the strong Christian conservative fabric in Holland.

After the 2022 election, eight of the 11 members of the Ottawa County Commission were connected to Ottawa Impact. They went right to work trying to chase out their public health director for her mask mandates and vaccination suggestions.

Instead, they got ensnarled in a messy PR battle that drew highly unfavorable national media coverage.

Also, in 2023 the commission fired its long-time, competent county administrator for John Gibbs, Trump’s failed congressional put-up and election denier of the first order.

Their relationship ended badly a little more than a year in. Among other things, Gibbs was trying to do less work for more money.

They tried to get rid of him. He sued them for a $630,000 payout. Drama ensued.

Along the way, two commissioners disassociated themselves from Ottawa Impact. They’re still Republicans.

Over in Delta County, in and around Escanaba in the Upper Peninsula, three Republican commissioners were booted after firing their county administrator and being on the losing end of several parochial issues.

Delta County’s two Republican members of the Board of Canvassers, unhappy to see three of their like-minded compadres on the county’s Board of Commissioners recalled from office with more than 70% of the vote, tried to bring back the whole “election-irregularity, hand-count” schtick.

Then, under public pressure and the threat of criminal prosecution from Lansing, the canvassers buckled and voted to certify the election, breaking a 2-2 tie.

The move comes after Michigan’s Queen Election Denier, former Michigan Republican Party Chair Kristina Karamo, was removed from office for playing internal politics in Kalamazoo, Macomb and elsewhere and not raising money, building coalitions, or developing a 21st-century strategy to win elections.

Look at the statewide primary ballot sometime.

Extreme MAGA candidates are conspicuously few and far between. There’s no Ryan Kelley, Garrett Soldano, Donna Brandenburg or anyone else appealing to the ultra-right fringe.

This year, the only one who comes close to that description is Dr. Sherry O’Donnell, who had to be strong-armed on WKAR’s “Off the Record” last week to confess her support for a national abortion ban.

Nearly everyone in the Michigan House Republican Freedom Caucus faces a primary challenge.

More Republican voters finally realize the emperor has no clothes. There was never any widespread election fraud in 2020. Karamo’s political strategy of cutting off those who disagreed with her eventually gave her a minority of followers.

The hard-right religious dogma is off-putting to a general election population.

Look, they’re losing. Republicans lost statewide races in 2018 and 2020. They even lost the state Legislature in 2022. In 2011, Republicans ran everything in state government. In 2024, they run nothing.

The losing stops when they realize their sore-loser, conspiratorial nonsense doesn’t fly. Stricter abortion rules don’t fly. Bashing gay people and transgender people doesn’t fly. More guns don’t fly. Going crazy with the book banning doesn’t fly. Discrimination, in general, doesn’t fly.

If you listen to Donald Trump, he’s slowly moving away from everything I wrote in the previous paragraph. He’s talking about electric vehicles, immigration, the Chinese communist government, and public safety.

He’s moved to where voters are. Republicans interested in winning general elections are also moving in that direction.

(Email Kyle Melinn of the Capitol news service MIRS at



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