Conservatives are justified to be concerned and angry over the left’s current language about “deprogramming,” either “truth and reconciliation” or 9/11-style commissions to investigate them, and other not so subtle indicators of the penance Trump supporters must perform before liberals “allow” them back into polite society.
But events in Michigan show that the purge can go both ways: Republicans who crossing President Donald Trump’s fans won’t have to wait for a backlash from the left.
On Tuesday Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer named a new Republican member to the statewide election board.
Whitmer did so at the request of the Michigan Republican Party, which opted to not nominate the incumbent, Aaron Van Langevelde, to another four-year term.
Van Langevelde’s term expires on Jan. 31, and according to state law, Whitmer had to pick one of the GOP’s three nominees.
Van Langevelde drew the ire of Republican activists by voting with two Democrats on Michigan’s Board of State Canvassers to certify Democrat Joe Biden’s victory in the state. Biden carried the state by about 154,000 votes,
Whitmer appoints new Republican member of the Board of State Canvassers. Tony Daunt, of the Michigan Freedom Fund, will replace Aaron Van Langevelde, who was not re-nominated by the GOP. He had certified Biden’s victory over Trump despite pressure to delay.
— David Eggert (@DavidEggert00) January 19, 2021
Despite that lead, GOP Chairwoman Laura Cox and other Trump backers wanted the Republican members to delay certifying the outcome until there was a full investigation of fraud allegations. At the local level, two Republicans on the canvassing board in the Detroit area, where Biden beat Trump by roughly 333,000 votes, did initially delay certification amid complaints of irregularities. They relented, however, after Democratic activists pressured them, including characterizing them as racists.
At the state board, as Van Langevelde sided with Democrats, the other Republican abstained.
In a statement, according to the Detroit News, Van Langevelde expressed no regrets about voting as he did.
“My conscience is clear, and I am confident that my decision is on the right side of the law and history. Time will tell that those who spread misinformation and tried to overturn the election were wrong, and they should be held responsible for the chaos and confusion they have caused.”
“It was clear in November that the political games needed to stop — it is even more clear now,” he added. “The United States Capitol has been sacked, and our state Capitol is under threat. The country is torn along partisan lines, and people have died because of it. It’s time for our leaders to tell the truth, even when it is politically inconvenient, and to put our country and the people over party politics.”
Michigan Republican Party moves to replace the GOP board member, Aaron Van Langevelde, who voted to certify Michigan election results https://t.co/Y8kkLzIfpS
— Niraj Warikoo (@nwarikoo) January 19, 2021
To succeed Van Langevelde, Whitmer selected Tony Daunt, executive director of the Michigan Freedom Fund, which is affiliated with the family of Betsy DeVos, Trump’s education secretary.
Daunt, the News reported, has supported Van Langevelde’s decision. He told the News that the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol came from “an outgrowth of the rhetoric, lies and conspiracies spread by the president and other elected Republicans who’ve falsely and feverishly claimed November’s election was stolen.”
“What we lacked over those two months (after the election) was leadership that was willing to stand up and tell people the truth about the results of the election,” he added. Whitmer turned down a former aide to former Michigan governor Rick Snyder and Linda Lee Tarver, who was an avid Trump supporter and a party to a lawsuit challenging the results.
Although Daunt may have agreed with Van Langevelde, the issue shows that Republicans in Michigan are ready to bench those on their own side who dismiss Trump.
After the Democratic majority in the House impeached Trump a second time, for the riot, Rep. Peter Meijer, a Grand Rapids Republican who was one of 10 GOP lawmakers to side with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, admitted that the vote was “probably an act of political suicide.”
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