Michigan Democrats stay quiet in lame duck. Some say it’s part of a plan.

Editor's note: Vanguard President and Managing Partner TJ Bucholz comments on the Michigan Legislature's Lame Duck session.

Where are the Democrats?

That’s a question some party activists and strategists are asking as lame-duck Republicans in the Michigan Legislature ram through bills that would restrict the authority of Democrats poised to take over the state’s top political offices, while crimping ballot initiatives favored by progressives and in some cases overwhelmingly passed by voters in November.

Incoming Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson have generally confined their opposition to low-key press releases. They have largely declined interviews, television appearances or other high-profile acts of political resistance, though Whitmer told The New York Times in a story published Monday that she’s had “broad” discussions with outgoing Republican Gov. Rick Snyder about Republican bills to limit incoming Democrats’ authority.

TJ Bucholz, a Democratic political consultant and president and managing partner of Lansing-based Vanguard Public Affairs, said Whitmer may not want to spend her political capital before she takes office: “She has to be careful because she needs these people down the road, and how she chooses to wield that power early on is important.”

Play polite, work behind the scenes, fight for a veto. These strategies suggest that in the short term, Democrats may be pinning their hopes on the one man who can determine whether these bills live or die.

Gov. Snyder, a Republican, has vetoed some aggressive Republican measures in the past, while signing others, including controversial right-to-work legislation during his first term in office. Snyder has not definitively said which bills, if any, he will veto as he exits office.

Leading Democrats are eager to cast Snyder’s choices as legacy-defining.

“It’s sad to me that this, it’s all coming down to Democrats counting on a Republican governor,” Bucholz said. “I certainly wouldn’t be counting on a veto from this guy.”

Read the full article here: https://www.bridgemi.com/public-sector/michigan-democrats-stay-quiet-lame-duck-some-say-its-part-plan

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