With two weeks to go, Michigan a key state in U.S. election

Divided electorate, Whitmer kidnap plot, COVID-19 playing big roles in 2020 decision.

The U.S. election will be held on Nov. 3

Left: U.S. President Donald Trump. Right: Former Vice-President and current Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images, Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Michigan was a surprise win for Donald Trump in 2016, and many people are watching the state carefully, now that the U.S. presidential election is just two weeks away. Once again, Trump is behind in the polls in that state, but the margin is closer this time.

Sixteen electoral college votes are up for grabs in Michigan. Nationwide, a candidate will need 270 electoral college votes to win the election.

Saeed Khan is the director of global studies at Wayne State University. He says while Detroit itself may vote strongly for Joe Biden, the same is not true in the rest of the state, starting with affluent neighbourhoods in the suburbs.

"It remains to be seen whether they will vote for Trump out of a sense of party loyalty, or whether, what some Democrats are hoping, that they're going to be revulsed by Trump, his shenanigans and what's seen as his unpredictability when it comes to policy," said Khan.

In the last election, Donald Trump won Michigan by just 11,000 votes. Khan expects the results in Michigan will be just as close this time as in 2016, although he is predicting a victory for Joe Biden.

WATCH: CBC's Chris Ensing speaks with WDET News Director Jerome Vaughn

The key issues for Michigan voters this election

CBC News Windsor

7 months ago
WDET News Director Jerome Vaughn talks about the mood in Michigan ahead of the November 3 election. 9:10
This time thousands of voters are casting their ballots early.

"Folks are worried about COVID-19. They're worried about going to the polls, and they're worried about having their votes counted," said WDET radio news director Jerome Vaughn.

Vaughn says manufacturing jobs are big on voters minds but so is racial politics and concerns Trump is "exhibiting fascist tendencies."

Vaughn said the recent plot to kidnap and kill Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer shows the threat of violence is real.

"There's a lot of anger in different parts of the state, different parts of the population," said Vaughn. "President Trump has exacerbated that anger about Governor Whitmer taking control of the situation."

In a photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the state during a speech in Lansing, Mich., Friday, Aug. 14, 2020. (Michigan Office of the Governor/The Associated Press)

Vaughn says even though there are open carry laws, guns will not be permitted at the polls.

He added that although he has seen many contested races over the last 30 years, he has has never felt tension like this in the state during an election.

"Wearing a mask has become a political statement for many people," said Vaughn. "That really shows how divided the country is."

with files from Chris Ensing and Tony Doucette


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