Since 2015, the Grand Old Party has broken into factions. There are “Trump Republicans” who went all in, and remain all in even after The Big Lie and failed insurrection on 1/6. The stalwart “Never Trump” Republicans. And the leftovers, a group of more traditional Republicans who found ways to excuse Trump in the name of tax cuts for the wealthy and conservative judges but who yearned for the return of “normal” Republicanism.
The first three Republicans to enter the race for Governor in Wisconsin — Rebecca Kleefisch, Kevin Nicholson, and Tim Ramthum — are Trump Republicans.
Which left “Never Trump” Republicans in the state and those leftovers yearning for another option. Former Governor Tommy Thompson (R) running for the office was their dream scenario. After he passed on a bid, the thinking went that millionaire businessman Tim Michels (R) would be their guy. A more “normal” Republican who would not only seem more reasonable but be more reasonable.
The speed with which Michels has gone from the “next best option for reasonable Republicans” to marching in full on, out-of-touch, lockstep with every other Republican seeking statewide office in the Badger State this year has been breathtaking.
When asked during a radio interview this week if the 2020 election for President was stolen, Michels replied, “maybe,” perpetuating the outright lie that the election won by President Joe Biden was anything other than free, fair, safe, and secure.
During the same interview, Michels also stated his opposition to legalization of marijuana for either medicinal or recreational purposes.
In the wake of news that the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade in its entirety, Michels tweeted that he and his wife had “long worked for and prayed for this moment.”
Those are not the positions or statements of a reasonable Republican. They are almost exactly where each of his opponents for the GOP nomination for Governor are. Which surely comes as a disappointment to anyone looking for an alternative to the crowd of through-and-through Trump Republicans running for Governor.
Michels isn’t running as an alternative — he’s running as a Trump Republican, too.