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On the one hand, fascism. On the other, hey a new Pottery Barn!


Michigan is a purplish state perhaps trending blue these days, in stark contrast to the hell hole directly to the south.

Nevertheless, the MAGA forces remain strong enough to threaten to unseat the state’s Democratic, aka sane, attorney general with an election-denying Trumper lunatic:

Standing in a lavish northern Michigan barn recently, surrounded by decorative roosters and comparable kitschy trinkets, Matthew DePerno offered an ominous warning about Attorney General Dana Nessel.

“She has a plan to come after the entire Michigan Republican establishment, and she is going to come after you, one by one, and take your party apart. That is the plan because, people, we are at war right now,” DePerno said, according to video of the fundraiser posted online.

There’s little evidence to support this assertion – a consistent thread for DePerno, a chief election denier in the state – but the Republican nominee for attorney general is waging any number of political and legal battles in the days leading up to the general election.

Yet multiple polls indicate he’s neck-and-neck with Nessel.

The competitiveness for the state’s top law enforcement office indicates several key dynamics: Voters appear to prefer other incumbent state officials, some of the personal and professional attacks against Nessel from conservatives are resonating and the fact many people don’t know anything about DePerno may help him.

He’s low on campaign cash, while Nessel wields a multimillion-dollar war chest. More than 430,000 Michiganders already submitted their absentee ballots, but 3 out of 4 voters still have never heard of DePerno. The Trump-backed candidate is championing issues on the campaign trail that polls show do not top the list of priorities for many Michigan voters.

And any day, he could be indicted or have his law license suspended as part of multiple, ongoing investigations into allegations surrounding his efforts to undermine the results of the 2020 presidential election. He’s denied any misconduct and recently tried to pivot away from election denialism, but his role as a leading figure in the movement to suggest debunked fraud claims garnered pushback from many, including a Senate Republican report.

But polling shows the contest remains close. A recent poll, conducted by Lansing-based EPIC-MRA for the Free Press and released last week, showed Nessel up only 4 percentage points, within the margin of error. That’s much tighter than the races for governor or secretary of state.

A tight race involving a key champion of 2020 election conspiracies could create real issues this fall. Meeting with the Free Press editorial board, DePerno did not explicitly commit to accepting election results, saying instead: “I think we have to look at…what actually happens during the election.”

Nessel said she’d wish DePerno well if he wins. But she’s worried DePerno hasn’t publicly committed to conceding if he loses, possibly foreshadowing dangerous discontent.

“That concerns me. I think it will escalate violence if we see that happen,” Nessel said.

This kind of situation illustrates the disturbing paradox that Greg Sargent talks about in today’s WAPO:

The key issue here is how many voters will fail to turn out because Trump isn’t on the ballot, both because some voters love him and others despise him. The optimistic assumption is that the former occasional voters far outnumber the latter, but as Sargent points out this is far from clear.

So you get nonsense like the Michigan attorney general race, and many others like it across the country.

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