On the morning of September 3, Rick Snyder, former Republican governor of Michigan, announced he would be voting for Joe Biden over Donald Trump. Calling Donald Trump a “bully who lacks a moral compass,” Snyder declared he would “continue to support and stand up for Republican policies and values,” but would not support Trump for re-election. The Biden campaign, which has made outreach to Republicans the linchpin of its 2020 strategy, was quick to promote this endorsement, sending out an email blast that evening touting Snyder’s support.
Rick Snyder, however, is not just any Republican. As governor, Snyder switched Flint’s water source from Lake Huron and the Detroit River to the toxic, polluted Flint River, resulting in the poisoning of its residents. Despite early protests by residents who claimed their water looked and smelled foul, officials insisted it was safe to drink. In reality, the water was so corrosive that the lead from the aging pipes through which it flowed leaked into the water, which meant the people of Flint were consuming toxic water with lead in it, despite the false assurances of their government. According to a comprehensive and thoroughly sourced investigation by VICE, Snyder knew of the toxicity of Flint’s water, deliberately lied about it, and covered it up afterwards.
Snyder’s endorsement of Biden is an insult to the people of Flint in and of itself. For Biden to tout this endorsement is an open handed slap in the face to the most abused and neglected people in one of the most abused and neglected regions of the country, whose hopelessness about American politics was a deciding factor in Trump’s Rust Belt sweep of 2016. The Biden campaign is all but daring the people of Flint to once again give up on the Democratic Party. To accept and embrace Snyder’s support is the most egregious and shameless example of the Democrats’ shunning of poor and working class voters in an effort to cozy up to Republicans and affluent conservative suburbanites.
Activists in Flint are outraged, as they should be. Even some of those more sympathetic to the Democrats’ triangulation tactics are saying this is a bridge too far. In a state where malaise and jadedness doomed the Democrats four short years ago, it’s both astounding and revealing to see the them repeat the “mistake” of so blatantly disrespecting the same disenfranchised and disempowered midwestern communities in 2020.
We discuss the endorsement and Biden’s unconscionable acceptance of it in our podcast, “Biden’s Most Toxic Endorsement: Rick Snyder, Poisoner of Flint.” Have a listen to our full conversation by clicking the player below (discussion of Rick Snyder’s endorsement begins at the 9:23 mark):