Looking ahead to tonight's GOP debate in Detroit

Mar 3, 2016

The Republican Presidential debate will take place at the Fox Theatre in Detroit on Thursday, March 3 at 9 p.m. ET.
Credit Bob Jagendorf/flickr / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

It was just about a year ago when Gov. Rick Snyder was flying around the country, meeting with influential and powerful people, telling the story of Michigan's "comeback."

Those trips came at a time when Snyder was being talked about in some quarters as a possible presidential candidate.

What a difference a year and the Flint water crisis have made. In the heat of an intense electoral season, Snyder is nowhere to be found.

According to Susan Demas, editor and publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, you'd normally expect to see the governor out and about, endorsing a candidate, hitting the campaign trail, and "telling Michigan's story."

"He'd be talking about Michigan's economic comeback, trying to put on a good face for the business community, why you should come here, how things have come here, look at Detroit. And due to the Flint water crisis, he is really hobbled and can't do that," Demas said.

Ken Sikkema is the senior policy fellow at Public Sector Consultants and a former member of the state House and state Senate, where he served as majority leader. 

"It's a wide gray line. I think it's hard to just say what's political exploitation of it and what is substantive concern," Sikkema said regarding the politicizing of the Flint water crisis.