Opinion: Rick Snyder: Here's why I'm voting for Joe Biden
I am a Republican, I am the former governor of Michigan, and I will be voting for Joe Biden for president.
For the past three and a half years, I have watched as a bully has used the White House to make empty promises and promote failed policies. President Donald Trump’s failures have hurt hard-working Americans, especially those in the Midwest who are growing tired of a leader who talks a good game but can’t deliver.
Midwesterners often are overlooked by the coastal elites even though without our work ethic, our spirit of reinvention, and our tenacity, this nation would not prosper. There are at least three areas where Trump has failed my friends and neighbors in Michigan, Pennsylvania and across the Midwest: tax reform, trade and the COVID-19 pandemic.
As a lifelong Republican, I believe in lower taxes, but Trump’s tax policies don’t help hard-working Americans.
When I was the governor of Michigan, I focused a lot of my efforts on creating a state tax policy that was simple, fair and efficient. We eliminated dumb taxes and costly tax incentives in favor of a system that treated everyone fairly and provided the spark needed to get the state’s economic engine humming again. By the time I left office, our unemployment rate had dropped to a near-record low and personal income had grown significantly.
Trump’s tax changes provided significant, permanent tax cuts for corporations while most Americans saw only temporary savings. This tax “reform” failed on all three measures of simple, fair and efficient.
Trade is a major issue in Michigan, home to many automakers and their suppliers — not to mention other significant industries such as aerospace and agriculture. American manufacturers and farmers believed Trump when he announced high tariffs that would lead to a better deal with China on their behalf. They were even willing to endure some economic hardship because they saw it as a patriotic thing to do. But in the end, Trump’s deals weren’t deals at all — they hurt manufacturers and farmers.
Trump’s trade policies have increased the trade deficit while costing us manufacturing jobs. In 2019, Pennsylvania was one of two states, along with Wisconsin, that lost the most manufacturing jobs.
And our farmers, who work hard every day to help feed America, are suffering. Even Trump has said he will need to “make it up to them.” Trade deals with China have eviscerated important agricultural markets, such as the market for soybeans. And while a massive federal farm bailout larger than the controversial auto bailout saved many farms, farmers’ bankruptcies jumped 20% in 2019. Our farmers deserve better.
Lastly, the federal response to the national COVID-19 pandemic has been anemic, and Trump doesn’t seem to care. His plan is full of grandiose promises but little substance. Trump changes his statements to avoid responsibility or to gain votes while ignoring scientists and experts. We need a compassionate leader committed to helping Americans recover from COVID — both in terms of personal and economic health.
We need someone who will ensure an effective vaccine is created and distributed equitably to all who need it. The United States needs common-sense leadership to see past the current rancor threatening our democracy and put us on a clear path through and past the pandemic.
We need a leader in the White House who believes you can accomplish anything when you don’t waste time blaming others for what is wrong, or worrying about who gets credit when things go right. I governed in Michigan that way under the mantra “Relentless Positive Action.” It helped spearhead Michigan’s comeback. It could work for America, too, but I do not see how Trump’s failed policies, bullying and abusive tactics can accomplish anything more than continued divisiveness and hardship across our great nation.
I am a Republican and I do not support many Democratic positions. But this Election Day, we have one chance to restore civility, humility and honor to the White House. That’s why I am voting for Joe Biden for president and hope you will, too. Let’s show the world how great America really can be.
Rick Snyder is the former governor of Michigan.