Former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder‘s endorsement of Joe Biden is the latest support from a growing number of Republicans for the Democratic nominee. But Snyder’s alleged nefarious role in the Flint Water Crisis that disproportionately affected Black people and killed at least a dozen people should prompt Biden to reject the endorsement, according to what appeared to be a growing sentiment across social media.
“I will continue to support and stand up for Republican policies and values, and support Republican candidates,” Snyder wrote, “but I will not support Donald Trump for reelection.”
In a consequential election where every vote counts, Democrats will likely welcome Snyder’s support at the polls. But just because Snyder is trying to be remembered on the right side of history by not voting for Trump does not exempt him from the way he responded to the Flint Water Crisis that polluted the city’s drinking water to deadly proportions. At least, that seems to be the prevailing sentiment being shared on social media.
A report by Vice News in April accused Snyder of trying to cover up and lie about the public health crisis in the predominately Black city of Flint. Snyder has said he didn’t learn of the contaminated water crisis until 2016, but Vice reported that “Snyder was warned about the dangers of using the Flint River as a water source a year before the water switch even occurred” and he “had knowledge of the Legionella outbreak in Flint as early as October 2014” — two things that would undermine his testimony before Congress saying otherwise.
Snyder has also been named in at least one class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of seven families affected who said their lead-poisoned children went through developmental changes as a result of corroded water pipes and eventual cases of lead poisoning after the city’s water supply was switched to the Flint River in 2014.
Considering those and other reports along with the momentum that the Black Lives Matter movement has gained in recent months, people across social media were saying that it was not in Biden’s best interest to accept Snyder’s endorsement.
With that said, Biden has explained at length that he is willing to build a bipartisan coalition in order to build a bridge spanning the political aisle. Accepting Snyder’s endorsement would only back up that gesture as being genuine and could go a long way to build and fortify that bipartisan support. On the other hand, it could also rub some voters in Michigan and elsewhere the wrong way.
Politicians are often damned if they do and damned if they don’t, so it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.