Gov. Whitmer says it's unlikely she will endorse a candidate before the presidential primary


Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. - TOM PERKINS
  • Tom Perkins
  • Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says she's unlikely to endorse a Democratic candidate prior to the March 10 presidential primary.

The governor told Michigan Advance that, after discussing the issue with Colorado's governor, Jared Polis, she concluded that her and other governors are "unlikely to endorse in a primary and highly likely to jump in once we get past it so that we can work hard to make sure that our party is unified."

Whitmer also commented on the "crazy way of deciding candidates," by allowing Iowa and New Hampshire to go first in the primaries.

"The antiquated system for sussing out the frontrunners has perpetuated what we have seen in our country, right? White male leaders," she said. "And I think if it was a national popular election, it might be a very different environment."

"I think they shouldn't have an outsized voice in determining what the field looks like before Michiganders or Nevadans or people across our country have an opportunity to weigh in," she continued.

Whitmer said a revamping of the system is in order, whether it be a national primary or alternating the states to start the primary.

She commented on how it is a loss that Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) — two Black candidates who exited the race before reaching the primary — are no longer in the race, because "there's a perspective that's very important that is not fully represented in the first person."

She said she hopes that whoever takes office next considers a "Team of Rivals" a la former President Abraham Lincoln. Whitmer is, of course, referring to when Lincoln, after winning the presidency, filled his cabinet with his former rivals during the presidential race. After he took office, Lincoln appointed William H. Seward as secretary of state, Salmon P. Chase as secretary of the treasury, and Edward Bates as attorney general.

"I hope and I would like to see whomever the ultimate nominee is to make space for each of these great leaders, whether it's a cabinet like the 'Team of Rivals' that Lincoln created or something different, I think that's how you unify and that … creates opportunity for everyone," Whitmer said.

We can't help but wonder about what that dream team might look like. Might Andrew Yang head up a hypothetical new Department of Automation? Could there be a Secretary of Treasury Elizabeth Warren? Maybe Joe Biden could end up as secretary of state this time around. It's an interesting proposition that could definitely foster party unity.

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