Home Constitution Grassroots Activists Feud Over How to Push Back Against Gretchen Whitmer's Overreach

Grassroots Activists Feud Over How to Push Back Against Gretchen Whitmer’s Overreach

Patriotic grassroots activists throughout Michigan are divided over the best way to push back against Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who has issued shutdowns and other edicts without appropriate consent from the legislature.

A compliant filed by Nevin Cooper-Keel, who is running for state representative as a Republican in Michigan’s 80th district, is alleging that the “Impeach Gretchen Whitmer” campaign is a scam. He suggests that the campaign is a trojan horse to provide cover to establishment politicians, including his primary opponent, Mary Whiteford.

“I strongly suggest that money is flowing from Mary Whiteford to Brandon Hall,” Cooper-Keel wrote in the complaint filed last week. Hall, a libertarian pro-Trump political operative who runs the blog West Michigan Politics, has been pushing Whitmer’s impeachment relentlessly across social media.

“I believe the [Impeach Gretchen Whitmer page] was created to be a front to act as a Political Action Committee to help Mary Whiteford get elected,” Cooper-Keel continued.

Cooper-Keel believes the Whitmer impeachment campaign is at the very least dishonest and quite possibly unlawful.

“I believe Mary is benefiting by being falsely paraded in the very conservative crowd attracted to that page, yet on her personal page and campaign page she’s an entirely different person, barely if at all mentioning impeaching the governor and pandering to other political demographics,” Cooper-Keel wrote.

Cooper-Keel notes that Whiteford had no language on her Facebook accounts indicating her desire to see Whitmer impeached at the time he filed the complaint.

“It is not fair to the public or my campaign that there are unregistered PACs helping my opponent deceive the public to play both sides of the political spectrum, and that is why it is illegal,” he concluded.

Hall is vehemently denying the allegations being levied by Cooper-Keel.

“The complaint is just deranged ramblings from a failed candidate who is not doing any campaigning whatsoever,” Hall told the Michigan Sentry, adding that he believes there is tremendous unity among the grassroots in opposition to Whitmer.

“And I think when someone like him files such a frivolous complaint that is absolutely untrue, and literally has no evidence whatsoever, which he admits, he should be forced to pay the tab for all the time he is wasting for state government to process his garbage,” Hall continued, adding that he may consider legal action against Cooper-Keel over the complaint.
 
The Impeach Whitmer campaign is not the only anti-Whitmer campaign in the grassroots that is embroiled in controversy. The Restore Freedom Initiative (RFI) spearheaded by legal analyst Katherine Henry is also contentious among activists. The Michigan Sentry has covered the initiative and its attempt to push back against the mandatory vaccine push related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the RFI may have laudable goals, supporters missed the deadline to collect signatures by a wide margin. The group needed to collect 550,000 valid signatures by July 5 in order to get it on the ballot during November’s general election. They claimed to have collected 200,000, far short of their intended goal.

The RFI now claims “we are certain we will get the remaining 350,000 signatures we need by November 13th.” They maintain that they will be able to put the question on the ballot in 2022 if they get this many signatures; however, it still says on the petitions that “the proposal is to be voted on in the November 3, 2020 General Election.”

This means that the claimed 200,000 signatures cannot be applied to a subsequent election, unless some court were to take the unprecedented step of allowing it, which does not seem particularly likely. Additionally, the RFI’s language was not pre-approved by the Board of State Canvassers, a panel of four that approves ballot proposal language, which adds another pitfall keeping the initiative from success.

There is also a campaign to recall Whitmer, but this would require a group collect an astronomical 1,062,647 valid signatures in a 60-day period. With 6.6 million registered voters, the group would need signatures from almost 1 in 6 voters across the entire state. Considering that about 1 in 6 rarely vote and at least 40 percent are reliable Democrat voters, the group would need to collect signatures from a third or more of every single Michigan voter that wants to see Whitmer gone. An update on the GoFundMe page shows how the recall campaign is already rife with scandal.

“Unfortunately the committee to recall governor gretchen whitmer has come under attack by former campaign manager David Blair after her was terminated July 22 at 12:30 am. The sponsor is going to withdrawl the current language unless we’re able to develop a volunteer database at facebook.com/realwhitmerrecall and get 2000 volunteers by July 28 @ 11:59 PM. The current petitions will be garbage over the $7000 website stolen by David Blair asking with the Facebook page immediately after Blair’s termination,” Recall Whitmer organizer Chad Baase wrote on the GoFundMe page.

Our research has shown that the Unlock Michigan campaign provides the most viable plan for reigning in Whitmer and stopping the multitude of constitutional abuses from her continuous emergency powers.

Unlock Michigan offers a citizen-enacted law to repeal the Emergency Powers of Governor Act, which is the legal authority Gretchen Whitmer’s executive orders rely on.

A citizen-enacted law requires 340,000 valid signatures, and organizers have 180 days to collect them. This is vastly easier than 550,000 signatures in 37 days or 1 million signatures in 60.

Most critically, a citizen-enacted law does does not need to be approved by a majority of voters once the signatures are collected.

Unlike a constitutional amendment, which must be approved by voters on the ballot, or a recall, which would trigger a new election for governor, if Unlock Michigan collects 340,000 valid signatures in six months, the state legislature can pass it into law by a simple majority vote of both chambers–and it would not be subject to the governor’s veto.

The governor’s veto pen is the only thing preventing the legislature from stripping her of her dictatorial power on its own, and the Republican-controlled legislature can hardly contain its desire to take its constitutional authority back.

The petition language is already approved by the Board of State Canvassers, which means if 340,000 valid signatures are amassed in six months, Whitmer can be immediately reigned in. The Michigan United for Liberty’s statewide grassroots portal, also profiled by the Michigan Sentry, provides a way to fight overreaching government power beyond Whitmer.

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Shane Trejo
Shane is a long-time journalist and political activist with years of experience covering public policy.

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