State of Michigan | Wiki­media Commons

National pol­itics tend to energize a majority of Hillsdale College stu­dents, but with the Michigan guber­na­torial race gearing up for the Aug. 7 primary and the general election Nov. 6, it’s time for stu­dents to turn their attention toward the prin­ciples and solu­tions of the 18 can­di­dates vying for gov­ernor.

The race is par­tic­u­larly inter­esting because it’s a microcosm of national pol­itics today, with shoe-in estab­lishment can­di­dates chal­lenged by can­di­dates with grass­roots support.

“The governor’s race to me seems like a mini-United States battle. It’s really rep­re­sen­tative of the country’s feelings in general,” said Cal Abbo, freshman sup­porting Abdul El-Sayed. “In the Repub­lican party, there’s this battle between actual con­ser­vatism and estab­lishment, and the same thing exists within the Demo­c­ratic party.”

The big issues Michigan faces include: infra­structure, healthcare, the Flint water crisis, and tax reform. Every one of these issues is also present in the town of Hillsdale, from the pot-holed roads under con­struction to the city’s eco­nomic struggles.

Brendan Noble, a senior and cam­paign intern for Patrick Colbeck, first met Colbeck in 2010, when Noble was 14 years old and vol­un­teering on his first Senate. He said Colbeck is a grass­roots con­ser­v­ative com­peting against Attorney General Bill Schuette and Lieu­tenant Gov­ernor Brian Calley, the moneyed estab­lishment.

Noble said Colbeck has a plan to cover a 15 percent increase in road-building costs to pay for higher quality mate­rials that would triple the lifespan of roads without raising taxes. He said it would save the state hun­dreds of mil­lions of dollars over time.

“He has spe­cific pro­posals, he has a really in-depth — some­times too in-depth — idea of how to fix things, and I don’t see that from a lot of the other can­di­dates,” Noble said.

Moy was involved in Schuette’s bid for attorney general in 2010. Moy said Schuette has increased inves­ti­ga­tions on cold rape cases, opposed federal over­reach under the Obama admin­is­tration, and iden­tified corrupt offi­cials during the Flint water crisis and Detroit’s bank­ruptcy. He is also the only major guber­na­torial can­didate who endorsed Trump in 2016.

With his #Pay­check­A­genda, Moy said, Schuette promises to increase appren­ticeship pro­grams, roll back excessive Jen­nifer Granholm-era reg­u­la­tions, and fight for opioid victims.

Abbo likewise framed the Demo­c­ratic race in terms of estab­lishment pol­itics versus real com­mitment to pro­gressive posi­tions. Gretchen Whitmer, the former minority leader in the state senate, is seen as the shoe-in because of a lack of state demo­c­ratic lead­ership.

This tension revealed itself when top exec­u­tives at Blue Cross encouraged their employees to donate to Gretchen Whitmer, since a health insurance company wouldn’t support single-payer healthcare.

El-Sayed was the director of the public health department in Detroit during the Flint water crisis but resigned to start his cam­paign in January 2017. His cam­paign frames his approach from a public health per­spective, meaning single-payer health care and a strong Flint water policy are important stances for him.

Abbo said El-Sayed stands out for his well thought-out, uncom­pro­mising stances and the fact that he’s not a part of the business class, unlike Whitmer and other Demo­c­ratic can­di­dates.

During the pres­i­dential election, Michigan was a swing state, with 10,000 votes tipping Trump to victory. Even though most of us are tran­sient stu­dents planning to leave after grad­u­ation, it’s important to know that Michigan’s pol­itics do affect national ones. Even if this isn’t our home, to borrow from Noble, we should look outside our Hillsdale bubble.