Bernero’s critics and those who have yet to back him say his fast talking abilities make him less trustworthy. He sounds too convincing and his power of persuasion can often be overwhelming when listening to him rattle out his policy positions.
Maybe that’s because Democrats have not had a Bernero-like candidate in a while, who is not only ambitious but is showing he has some fire in his stomach. The kind of fire that some political observers, including myself, concluded a long time ago was lacking in a John Cherry candidacy.
During an appearance on my TV program last month, Bernero, showed he is keenly aware of the complex politics of institutional support incensed by the intricate battles for loyalty inside the Democratic corridors of power.
“We have elections, not coronations. I don’t worry about people at the top. My concern is for the people on Main Street. I am tired of people are the top coming first,” Bernero said in apparent reference to the Democratic Party.
One thing clear is that as Democrats wonder about who will be the clear frontrunner to challenge the Republican nominee, Bernero is continuing his campaign around the state talking to ordinary people, those often cut out of the political process.
The grassroots movement he is creating could be a shocker for the Democratic Party if the bosses place their support behind another candidate, whether it is House Speaker Andy Dilllon, who some sources indicate may run with mega-businesswoman Denise Ilitch as his running mate.
The fight for the Democratic primary nomination may boil down to a battle between the haves and the have-nots.
As mayor of a small city, Bernero is already painting himself as the ordinary people’s candidate which could gain momentum with the majority of Michiganders who have lost their jobs and have no income coming.
Some of those jobless workers’ children are unable to go to college today because lawmakers in Lansing decided to gut the Michigan Promise which ensured scholarships for some 90,000 students in the state, 3000 of whom were attending Wayne State University.
House Speaker Dillon, if he decides to enter the race, will have to explain what kind of stewardship he provided throughout the whole budget madness. He will have to tell the rest of Michigan, including Detroit, whether he can be trusted with the office of the governor.
Dillon may need more than just the label of being able to reach out to Republicans because some claim he is a closet Republican to get the party nomination.
If he decides to choose Denise Ilitch as his running mate, that will be an interesting political chemistry.
While some may find political sanity in an Ilitch candidacy because of her business background and work in Detroit, I’m not sure if Ilitch is ready to go through the kind of public scrutiny the gubernatorial ticket demands.
Her joining the ticket will undoubtedly bring attention to the Ilitch family’s business interest that the public may not have been privy to.
Former Republican nominee Dick DeVos knows this very well. He had to do a lot of explaining about some of the darkest secrets of his business empire, whether it was violations in nursing homes he and his family ran or claims that he shipped jobs to China.
While everyone is watching the Democratic dance, candidate Bernero is orchestrating a common sense strategy by making municipalities in Michigan – where the votes are – have a stake in the election.
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