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Trump Visits Michigan in Bid for Union Support as Republican Contenders Debate in California

by Ryan Lee
6 comments
2024 Election and Automotive Industry

While his GOP opponents convene in California for their second primary debate, former President Donald Trump is set to be in the crucial swing state of Michigan on Wednesday evening. Trump aims to gain the support of blue-collar workers during an ongoing autoworkers’ strike.

This visit is particularly noteworthy as it follows President Joe Biden’s historic action of walking the picket line with members of the United Auto Workers in Detroit just a day earlier. The union has been advocating for increased wages, reduced work weeks, and commitments from major automakers to ensure that new jobs in the electric vehicle sector will be unionized.

The simultaneous activities of both Biden and Trump underscore what is likely to be a central theme in the 2024 general election. The election increasingly appears to be setting up a rematch between the two, with Michigan as a vital battleground state. Both candidates are striving to present themselves as advocates for the working class.

Trump is slated to give a primetime speech at Drake Enterprises, a non-union automotive parts manufacturer situated in Clinton Township, a locale approximately 30 minutes from Detroit. The audience will include several hundred present and past members of the UAW as well as representatives from plumbing and pipefitting unions.

Trump is seeking to exploit the strike as a means to create discord between Biden and union workers. These workers were a key demographic that facilitated Trump’s unexpected victory in 2016, as he successfully wooed voters from Democratic strongholds like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Trump had promised to revive fading manufacturing towns and opposed international trade agreements.

Conversely, Biden reclaimed these states in the 2020 election by highlighting his working-class background and allegiance to organized labor. Biden frequently describes himself as the “most pro-union president” in American history, arguing that his administration’s investments in renewable energy and electric vehicle production will bolster domestic industry.

A focal point of Trump’s criticism is Biden’s clean-energy agenda, which he contends will lead to significant job losses. Trump emphasized these concerns after Biden’s recent visit to Detroit, stating that Biden’s robust push for electric vehicles would decimate the U.S. automotive industry and result in extensive job losses for autoworkers.

While Trump has presented himself as a pro-worker candidate, his relationship with union leadership has been contentious. Despite his campaign asserting that he champions workers, union officials argue that his first term was detrimental to labor interests. They cite unfavorable decisions by the country’s leading labor board and the U.S. Supreme Court, and also mention the closure of a General Motors factory in Lordstown, Ohio.

Staffers for Trump indicate that his upcoming speech will harshly critique Biden’s economic policies, contending that they have adversely impacted middle- and working-class families. The speech is also expected to discuss Biden’s history of supporting free trade agreements, which Trump blames for outsourcing American jobs.

While on the strike lines, workers have expressed divided opinions. Adrian Mitchell, employed at the GM warehouse visited by Biden, believes Biden would be more advantageous for the middle class. On the other hand, Matthew Coleman, a nine-year employee at the same warehouse, holds the view that Trump would be more beneficial, largely because of his opposition to the transition to electric vehicles.

The UAW’s ongoing strikes against major automakers, General Motors, Stellantis, and Ford, initiated on September 14 and have expanded to 38 parts distribution centers across 20 states. The union has proposed a 36% increase in general wages over four years and a host of other benefits.

While President Biden has not established an electric vehicle mandate, he has set a target for half of all new vehicle sales to be electric by 2030. His administration has also proposed stringent automobile emission standards that could require up to two-thirds of new U.S. vehicles to be electric by 2032. However, this proposal has not been finalized.

Another Republican contender, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, is also slated to be in Detroit on Wednesday. He plans to hold a press conference targeting Trump’s “unfulfilled promises to blue-collar and union workers in Michigan and nationwide.”


Contributions for this report were made by AP Auto Writer Tom Krisher in Van Buren Township, Michigan.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about 2024 election rematch

What is the main focus of the text?

The main focus of the text is on former President Donald Trump’s visit to Michigan to court union support amid an ongoing autoworkers’ strike. The event is set against the backdrop of a Republican primary debate in California and President Joe Biden’s recent involvement with union activities. The text suggests that these moves hint at a likely rematch between Trump and Biden in the 2024 general election.

Who are the primary individuals involved?

The primary individuals involved are former President Donald Trump and current President Joe Biden. Other figures mentioned include members of the United Auto Workers (UAW), GOP contender Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, and Trump senior adviser Jason Miller.

Why is Michigan considered a critical battleground state?

Michigan is considered a critical battleground state because it has a significant number of electoral votes and has historically swung between Democratic and Republican candidates. Both Trump and Biden are making efforts to appeal to the working-class and unionized voters in Michigan, who could be key to winning the state in a potential 2024 election.

What are the issues the UAW union is focusing on?

The United Auto Workers (UAW) union is pushing for higher wages, shorter work weeks, and commitments from leading automakers that new jobs in the burgeoning electric vehicle industry will be unionized.

What did President Biden do that was described as historic?

President Biden became the first sitting U.S. President to walk a picket line when he joined United Auto Workers in Detroit. This action was considered historic due to the high level of presidential involvement in union activities.

What are some criticisms that Trump has against Biden’s policies?

Trump criticizes Biden’s clean-energy agenda, particularly the push towards electric vehicles. He contends that this will result in massive job losses in the U.S. automotive industry.

What has Trump promised to discuss in his upcoming speech in Michigan?

Trump is expected to critique Biden’s economic policies and argue that middle- and working-class families have suffered under Biden’s presidency. He is also anticipated to bring up Biden’s history of supporting free trade agreements, blaming them for the outsourcing of American jobs.

What are the union’s proposals in the ongoing strikes?

The UAW has proposed a 36% increase in general wages over four years. The union is also demanding a 32-hour workweek with 40 hours of pay, a return of cost-of-living pay raises, and the right to represent workers at 10 electric vehicle battery factories.

Is Biden’s electric vehicle mandate finalized?

No, Biden has not implemented an electric vehicle mandate. However, his administration has set a goal that half of all new vehicle sales be electric by 2030 and proposed new automobile pollution limits. These proposals are not yet finalized.

Who else from the Republican party will be in Michigan?

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, another Republican contender, will also be in Detroit. He plans to hold a press conference targeting Trump’s “unfulfilled promises to blue-collar and union workers.”

More about 2024 election rematch

  • Michigan’s Role in Presidential Elections
  • United Auto Workers (UAW)
  • Biden’s Clean-Energy Agenda
  • Trump’s Economic Policies
  • Republican Primary Debate in California
  • Biden’s Historic Walk on Picket Line
  • Transition to Electric Vehicles in the U.S.
  • UAW’s Proposals for Strike
  • History of Union Endorsements in Presidential Elections
  • Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Campaign

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6 comments

Mike K. September 27, 2023 - 10:53 am

So Trump is again playin the worker’s champion? After all those years clashing with union leaders? Seems a bit hypocritical to me.

Reply
Rachel G. September 27, 2023 - 6:15 pm

It’s all about the votes, isn’t it. Trump, Biden, whoever – they all just want to win Michigan. Makes me wonder what’ll actually happen after the elections.

Reply
Tony B. September 27, 2023 - 7:37 pm

Asa Hutchinson in Detroit too? Man, Michigan’s the place to be if you wanna make a political point right now.

Reply
Sara M. September 28, 2023 - 12:02 am

What’s historic about Biden walking a picket line? Seems like he’s just tryin to grab some headlines. let’s see if actions follow.

Reply
Emily H. September 28, 2023 - 12:19 am

I’m really worried about this electric vehicle transition. good that at least some leaders are talking about how it’ll affect jobs. But what’s the real plan?

Reply
John D. September 28, 2023 - 6:22 am

Wow, Michigan is really the center of attention huh? Trump and Biden both trying to win over unions, seems like 2024 is gonna be a rerun.

Reply

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