It was with trepidation that I looked up the Michigan election results upon rising this morning, but to my great delight, I found that Virg Bernero had won the Democratic primary in the governor's race.
I haven't had my ear to the ground re; politics for quite a while now, too disgusted to pay much attention. But when Planned Parenthood came out in enthusiastic support for Bernero, that caught my attention. When we received a piece of campaign literature from Bernero, that caught my attention. Right there on the very front of the glossy mailing was the proud declaration "The only PRO-CHOICE, PRO-STEM CELL Democratic candidate for governor who will stand up for WORKING FAMILIES and CREATE JOBS."
WOW! A Michigan Democrat who didn't hide, downplay, or run away from the pro-choice label! That alone was enough to make me vote for the guy.
But the spouse had been talking about Bernero for some time. He'd appeared on Ed Schultz's radio and TV shows, and according to Jim, was a real fireball. He was on other liberal talk radio shows as well. His opponent, Andy Dillon, slammed Bernero for being angry--but it turned out that angry was exactly what the voters were looking for:
Bernero was criticized by Dillon for being coming across as angry, a badge Bernero said he wore proudly. One Democratic strategist said Tuesday, that Bernero's style and rhetoric matched perfectly the anger and frustration being found in polling and focus groups.
A Detroit Free Press editorial lamented the focus on abortion that apparently took over the campaign in the final weeks leading up to the election, pointing out that with the employment situation in Michigan, jobs should have been front and center in any debate about which candidate deserved to win.
Maybe so. But to me, any Democratic candidate for any office had better take women seriously enough to acknowledge our right to control our own bodies. Had Dillon won the primary, women would have been faced with two anti-choice candidates in November. If Dillon had won and went on to win in the general election, the anti-choice Michigan legislature could have passed further restrictions on abortion, as some states have done, and we would not have a governor to veto such restrictions, as Granholm has done.
So it's on to November. Bernero will have a tough fight on his hands, by all accounts. According to a couple of news stories I saw, there were some Democratic crossover votes for Snyder in the primary, which suggests he might attract Democratic and independent voters in the general election. But nobody thought Bernero had a chance in the primary, and he charged from behind. One thing's for sure: a lot of women activists will be working hard to get Virg elected.