Party on the Peninsulas

The WØRD – “Whatever”

From Chairperson Lavora Barnes


That’s Donald Trump’s position on reproductive healthcare. He’s for whatever is convenient at the time he’s asked about it. In 1999, he said on Meet the Press that he was pro-choice, and opposed any federal law restricting abortion (even virtually non-existent late-term abortions).

Well, he’s changed that position almost as regularly as he’s changed wives. For decades, Donald Trump’s stance on abortion has been a moving target.

His latest position: a wishy-washy “whatever”: leave it up to the states, many of which have banned and even criminalized abortion. Of course, he can’t run away from a fact about which he brags: he killed Roe.

We all know that what Donald Trump says doesn’t necessarily line up with what he will do. You can be certain that a Trump administration, given the chance, would put in place a national law similar to the law just upheld in Arizona: criminalizing abortion and making it illegal nationwide. That would wipe out Michigan’s constitutional guarantee, approved overwhelmingly by our voters, that women make their own healthcare decisions without the government’s interference.

While Trump says he wouldn’t sign a national abortion ban, he hasn’t said how he will vote on the Florida constitutional amendment which would protect women’s reproductive freedom. Chances are he will dodge that question from now until November. And if, God forbid, he is elected and sent a nationwide ban, he will sign it.

As Rachel Maddow put it so concisely: “watch what they do, not what they say”.

Your Democratic party has made a commitment to reach out to all of Michigan. While Republicans cater to their extremist MAGA wing, Democrats are working in all 83 counties to show we’re working on behalf of everyone in this state. The facts backing that effort are undeniable. Since achieving the tri-fecta in state government, Democrats have moved the state forward on issues ranging from fixing the roads, strengthening the union rights of workers, expanding voter rights, guaranteeing the reproductive healthcare rights of women, cutting taxes for families, fighting climate change and much, much more.

But historically we’ve fallen short when it comes to elections in our smaller counties. Over the weekend our Rural Summit focused on how we can earn the support of more voters in rural Michigan.

Helping us define that strategy was one of the nation’s best pollsters, Celinda Lake. Celinda is one of the Democratic Party’s leading political strategists. She was one of two lead pollsters for the Biden campaign in 2020 and continues to serve as a pollster to the Democratic National Committee (DNC), other national party committees, and dozens of Democratic incumbents and challengers at all levels of the electoral process. Celinda and her firm, Lake Research Partners, are known for cutting-edge research on issues including the economy, health care, the environment, and education.

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The WØRD – “Demagogue”

From chairperson Lavora Barnes

That, in one sentence, defines Donald Trump and describes his grotesque speech in Grand Rapids. 

Donald Trump came here to politicize a tragic loss and lie to Michiganders’ faces about his record. When President Biden negotiated a tough, fair, and bipartisan border security deal, it was Trump who pressured his MAGA cronies to kill the bill, allowing the chaos to continue. 

No matter what he said in Grand Rapids, Donald Trump has no interest in being part of the solution because he doesn’t care about border security. He only cares about himself and whatever he thinks makes him look good, but Michiganders know the truth: Donald Trump has nothing to offer but dangerous rhetoric that promotes hate, division, and violence without making anyone safer.

Adding to that: he told the crowd he had talked with the family of murder victim Ruby Garcia. It was a lie, according to Ms. Garcia’s sister. Mavi Garcia said neither Trump nor anybody from his campaign has contacted her or anybody in her immediate family. She said her family is close and she would know if that had happened.

“It was shocking,” she told Wood TV.  “I kind of stopped watching it. I’d only seen up to that, after I heard a couple of misinformations he said, I just stopped watching it. She said she’s angry that Trump and others have turned her sister’s death into something political.

“It’s always been about illegal immigrants,” she said. “Nobody really speaks about when Americans do heinous crimes, and it’s kind of shocking why he would just bring up illegals. What about Americans who do heinous crimes like that?”

When asked about the apparent lie by The Daily Beast, the Trump campaign refused to reveal with whom the criminal defendant candidate talked. (You can watch the WOOD-TV interview by clicking here.)

The Garcia family isn’t the only voice speaking out against Trump. The Washington Post published a truly shocking list this week of former top-level Trump appointees who have not endorsed his candidacy. Among them:

  • Vice President Mike Pence
  • Attorney General William Barr
  • Chief of staff General John Kelly
  • Chief of Staff Mark Mulvaney
  • Secretary of Defense General James Mattis
  • Secretary of Defense Mark Esper
  • National Security Adviser John Bolton
  • National Security Chief of European Affairs Col. Alexander Vindman
  • Joint Chiefs of Staff chair General Mark Milley
  • U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley
  • Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci
  • Press secretary Stephanie Grisham
  • Deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews
  • White House Counsel Ty Cobb
  • White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson
  • 2016 Transition Director Chris Christie

As we noted last week you can add to that list President George W. Bush, and former Republican vice presidents Dick Cheney and Dan Qualye; Republican U.S. Senators Todd Young, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins and Mitt Romney. And even family members/White House advisers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner have said they won’t campaign for him.

An alternate “The Word” for this week’s podcast could have just as easily been “Hypocrite”. How else can you describe a man who very publicly attends the funeral of a slain New York police officer but has never even contacted the family of a Capitol policeman who died as a result of the January 6 insurrection, or the dozens of police officers who were attacked and injured by his mob?

Officer Brian Sicknick’s father told the New York Daily News – quote – “He makes sure he gets his face out there. The guy’s a criminal. He’s the reason my son is dead — because of the riot at the Capitol. He’s a publicity hound. Trump does whatever will get him votes and helps Donald Trump. There’s nothing good about that man.”

On this week’s podcast, we’re looking to our future, specifically the future of public transit in Michigan with the leader of a new bipartisan group working on the issue, Representative Jason Morgan (D-Ann Arbor). As we’ll hear from Representative Morgan that public transportation impacts all of Michigan, not just cities and suburbs.

The son of a commercial fisherman, Representative Morgan was raised in Pinconning. By working part-time and thanks to state and federal student aid, Representative Morgan worked his way through college as a first-generation college student, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Northern Michigan University. He later earned a Master of Public Administration from the Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan.

Representative Morgan served for six years as a Washtenaw County commissioner and was elected as the county’s first-ever LGBTQ-identified person to serve as chair of the Board of Commissioners. He also served as a Northern Michigan University trustee and is a service member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Over the last 15 years, Representative Morgan has worked in various leadership positions in Michigan and Washington, D.C. for Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and in senior staff positions to five members of Congress. Much of his career has focused on higher education, including working as a director of government and community relations and later teaching government at Washtenaw Community College.

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The Biden-Harris campaign reminds us who ultimately took away the rights of women … and brags about it.

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Jack Ohman – Tribute Content Agency

The WØRD – “Unity”

From chairperson Lavora Barnes

On Thursday, Democrats celebrated unity heading into the November election with an historic event: a massive fundraiser which brought together three great presidents: Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Together they represent 20 years of leadership that moved America forward. 

The unity of the 3 Presidents was a reminder of the lack of Republican unity. Donald Trump is running without the support of much of his party’s leadership. He does not have the endorsement of President Bush, nor does he have the support of any of the living former GOP Vice Presidents: Dan Quayle, Dick Cheney and Mike Pence. Add to that the long list of more than two-dozen Trump cabinet members and White House staff who will not endorse him. Some are actively opposing him.

One of many reasons for that contrast is the philosophy behind the campaigns. 

Donald Trump is running to benefit Donald Trump. His two goals:

  1. Stay out of prison, and
  2. Make money for Donald Trump

His fundraising is all about him, a lot of it to cover his $100-million-and-growing personal legal bills. He has side hustles to make him wealthier, constantly hawking everything from sneakers to perfume and even Bibles with the profits going into his pocket. His TruthSocial is likely his next business to go bankrupt, but his cult members are pushing the short-term stock price to ridiculous levels which brings huge profits to Trump.

Despite all that wealth, he won’t pay his own legal bills.

At the fundraising event Thursday, Presidents Biden, Obama and Clinton had a different take on the presidency and why they served: the ability to make life better for Americans.

The fundraiser was historic in that it raised more than $25-million in one night for not just the Biden campaign, but to support Democrats up and down the ticket.

Trump has a fundraiser this week where he says he’ll raise more money. Maybe he will. But we know one winner from the event will be Trump himself. He’s staging the event at his Palm Beach club, and you can be sure he’s collecting a hefty rental and catering fee for the night … more money to line his pocket.

One of the commitments I had when I first became your party chair was to work in every county to earn every vote. This month, we will move closer to that goal with our first Michigan Rural Summit. It is being organized by the MDP’s Rural Caucus. On this week’s podcast we hear from caucus chair Mark Ludwig about the Summit.

Mark was born and raised in Michigan. His youth was spent assisting his father during the early days of the environmental movement, studying Great Lakes water birds affected by industrial pollution. He settled in Allegan County, founding a small beef farm in Clyde Township in 2005 with his wife Kim. Mark served on the Fennville Public School Board, Clyde Township Planning Commission and currently serves on the Allegan Conservation District Board of Directors. Mark graduated from Michigan State with a degree in Environmental Issues and has a Short Course Degree from UW Madison in Grass Based Dairy.

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National Politics

The Biden-Harris campaign is actively courting Nikki Haley supporters while Trump says he doesn’t need them

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The WØRD – “Anniversaries”


March 23, 2010: President Obama signs the Affordable Care Act with Michigan’s lifelong healthcare advocate Representative John Dingell seated to his left.

From chairperson Lavora Barnes –

Saturday marked the 14th anniversary of the signature achievement of the Obama administration: enactment of the Affordable Care Act, a. k. a. “Obamacare.” Republicans rampaged against the legislation, calling it the potential death knell for the U.S. healthcare system, raising the spectre of government “death panels” deciding who lives and who dies, and predicting it would mean you could no longer choose your doctors.

President Obama fought for the law knowing it could mean he’d be a one-term President. Today in America, the Affordable Care Act is more popular than ever, and coverage is more affordable than ever.

There are more than 100 million Americans — friends, family, neighbors, people you love — who can no longer be denied coverage because of a preexisting condition. More than 45 million Americans have health coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act and millions of seniors have lower prescription drug costs. The Biden administration is expanding the benefits of the ACA with the new ability of Medicare to negotiate prescription costs.

The law has special meaning in Michigan, and the legacy of the Dingell family. The first national healthcare bill was introduced in 1943 by Congressman John Dingell Senior. After his death, the law was reintroduced every session on his birthday by his son, John Dingell Junior. When President Obama signed the law in 2009, John Dingell was seated next to the President and presented with the first pen used to make the law official.

In a hot-mike moment, Vice President Biden famously called it, “a big blanking deal.” It still is.

But if Donald Trump and extreme MAGA Republicans in Congress get their way, they will gut the Affordable Care Act and rip away health care from millions — just like they tried to do in 2017.

As we approach the fall election, it’s important to remember that ALL of the Republican U.S. Senate candidates are enemies of the ACA. Mike Rogers, Peter Meijer, Sandy Pensler, and Justin Amash have all vowed to gut the Affordable Care Act which would result in millions of Michiganders being denied health care access and increase costs for families.

During the most recent enrollment period, more than 418,000 Michiganders signed up for affordable health care coverage. A repeal of the Affordable Care Act means “1.3 million Michiganders would lose their insurance and about 1.8 million with pre-existing health conditions could lose critical protections.”

Saturday was also a special anniversary for 323 Michigan families. It was their 10th wedding anniversary. Theirs were the first same-sex weddings in Michigan history. It’s also a part of the legacy of Attorney General Dana Nessel. In 2014, Nessel successfully argued for the plaintiffs in DeBoer v. Snyder, which challenged Michigan’s ban on the statewide legal recognition of same-sex marriage; the case was eventually combined with others and appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States as Obergefell v. Hodges, which led to the nationwide legal recognition of same-sex marriage. Another benefit of that legal effort: Nessel met her wife Alanna Maguire while they were both working on the case. She proposed to Maguire in 2015 outside of the United States Supreme Court. 

This week will be remembered for the enactment of another pro-family law: a statute protecting surrogacy births, and in vitro fertilization. We’re joined by the sponsor of the new law, Representative Samantha Steckloff. The bills are a long overdue win for reproductive rights and would-be parents who can’t conceive on their own. They not only safeguard the rights of biological parents, but also prioritize the protection and the reproductive freedom of those surrogates.

Representative Steckloff is serving her second term representing Michigan’s 19th House District. A lifelong resident of Farmington Hills, Rep. Steckloff has been a consistent and tenacious leader on the issues that impact her communities, as well as the state of Michigan as a whole. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 31 which has given her a unique understanding of the need to reform health insurance so no person will go broke battling a life-threatening disease.

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The Anniversary of the ACA

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Trump Outrages

The WØRD – “Results”

VIDEO – The men and women of LIUNA show their support for a President who gets results for working families.

From the chair


Government is supposed to work to improve our lives. We measure our public officials by results. Under Joe Biden and Gretchen Whitmer, we’re getting results.

Three years ago this week, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act into law. There’s an excellent report on what that has brought Michigan in the current edition of the online publication The Gander.

Among the highlights:

  • 300,000 jobs added to Michigan’s economy
  • The unemployment rate dropped from 6.5% in 2021 and has kept at 4% for the last 14 months.
  • A surge in new businesses. According to US Chamber of Commerce data, nearly 150,000 small business applications were filed in the state in 2023.
  • Tax relief for families. In Michigan, families of nearly 1.9 million children benefited from tax relief in 2021—with more than 1.1 million families receiving $3,000 or $3,600 per child, depending on their age. The legislation also enabled Michigan families earning less than $125,000 to get back up to half of what they spent on child care while working or studying, saving up to $8,000 for two children.
  • An expansion to the federal Earned Income Tax Credit also benefited 600,000 workers in Michigan in 2021, providing up to $1,500 in tax relief to those without dependent children. The Whitmer administration added to that savings by repealing the Snyder Administration cuts to the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit.
  • Michigan received more than $1.1 billion in federal funding to be used for rental and utility assistance. State officials said more than 250,000 applications were received, with more than 130,000 approved—an average of about $5,600 in aid for each household. Additional funding was designed to help low- and middle-income homeowners who fell behind on their bills.
  • The American Rescue Plan Act  also expanded health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—ensuring more middle-income families in Michigan were eligible for low- or no-cost insurance, and providing key incentives for states to expand Medicaid.
    The law’s subsidies—which were reauthorized as part of the Inflation Reduction Act in 2022—led to record-breaking sign-ups for ACA plans this year. More than 418,000 Michiganders) enrolled in plans for 2024. 
  • More than $15 billion in ARPA funds have been dedicated to public safety, with investments by over 1,000 state and local governments to avoid cuts to police budgets, hire more cops, upgrade equipment for first responders, and expand community violence intervention programs. 
  • Governor Whitmer campaigned on a promise to “Fix the Damn Roads”. She’s keeping that promise with massive repairs underway or completed across Michigan. Legislators are working on expanding road repairs to local streets.

We’re joined on the podcast this week be the chair of the state House Transportation Committee, Representative Ranjeev Puri. He is also House Majority Whip, serving his second term in the Michigan House, representing Canton Township.

Before joining the Legislature, Rep. Puri worked in financial consulting and then went on to work for President Barack Obama. After completing his MBA, Rep. Puri began his work in Detroit’s automotive industry, helping solve complex business problems and developing innovative solutions to help prepare Michigan for the economy of tomorrow. He believes in holistic solutions to the challenges facing the automotive industry, from cultivating the required talent by investing in our public education system to fixing and modernizing our infrastructure and building a regional transit system to attract and retain the talent of tomorrow.

Today his committee is focusing on a tremendously difficult issue: how to respond to shrinking gas tax revenues so that we can do more to fix Michigan’s pothole-plagued local roads.

In the News

Joel Pett – Tribune Content Agency

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Trump Outrages


The WØRD – “Memories”

Click here for the full video President Biden’s State of the Union Address

From the chair

“Are you better off now than you were four years ago?”
                                  — Ronald Reagan (10-28-1980)

One thing some politicians rely on during their campaigns: how time weakens our memory. It’s a tactic that Donald Trump’s campaign is using: hoping Americans don’t remember just how bad things were four years ago. 

Do Americans Have a ‘Collective Amnesia’ About Donald Trump? – The New York Times

For the first half of his term, Trump rode the wave of the 8-year Obama economic recovery. But by the end of Trump’s turn, that wave quickly disappeared thanks to his bungled non-response to the COVID pandemic. Let’s go back four years and revisit the reality Donald Trump would have us forget:

March, 2020
Unemployment was at 4.4 percent. But a month later, it was a staggering 14.8 percent. By the time Trump left office, his four-year record was the loss of 3-million jobs: the worst jobs number for a President since Herbert Hoover. This week, the monthly jobs report showed another 275,000 Americans were employed. Unemployment has been under 4 percent for a record 39 months … dating back to the beginning of the Biden administration.

March, 2020
A total of 80 U.S. cases of COVID had been reported. At the White House, Trump told Bob Woodward in private that he knew COVID was extremely deadly and highly contagious. 

But he told the nation that his administration had it under control, and that the virus would disappear in a matter of weeks. His administration offered nothing but happy-talk.

Nearly 1,200,000 Americans have died from COVID. And our economy began to shut down from the pandemic. Hospitals in many cities, including Detroit and Lansing, were jammed to capacity by COVID cases.  We had nationwide shortages of personal protective equipment: N95 masks, respirators, protective clothing and even exam gloves. Worldwide supply chains were disrupted, setting the stage for a logjam in the supply chain that would disrupt our economy for three years.

To his credit, Trump pushed the development of the first COVID vaccines…but he didn’t put in place a plan for getting the vaccine to the people.

Joe Biden came into office with the goal of getting 100-million Americans vaccinated within 100 days. They did it in 58 days. Nearly half the U.S. population was vaccinated within the first 6 months. It was the beginning of the end of the pandemic. COVID no longer threatened to shut down America.

March 2020
In world affairs, Trump had already seriously damaged our standing in the world. U.N. delegates literally laughed at him during his 2018 speech to the General Assembly. NATO was on the verge of falling apart due to Trump’s open hostility to the alliance that had kept the peace in Europe for 60 years. And Trump’s open admiration for autocrats – Putin, China’s Xi, Hungary’s Victor Orban (a guest at Mar-A-Lago just this week), Turkey’s Racip Ergogan and North Korea’s Kim Jung Un – was a slap in the face to democracies across the world.

Today, the NATO alliance has been strengthened by the addition of Sweden and Finland: two nations sharing a border with Putin’s Russia. NATO is united in its support for Ukraine, with every nation contributing to the war against Putin’s aggression. World leaders once again respect our nation and its leader.

So: in answer to Reagan’s question, the answer is
Yes! Under the leadership of Joe Biden, this nation is far better off now than it was 4 years ago.

Trump will do his best to make us think otherwise, but he has no choice. He was a disaster as President, and his return to office would be devastating.

The State of the Union

President Biden’s State of the Union address. It was superb, putting to rest the baseless Republican assault on the President’s capability to continue as one of the most effective Presidents in U.S. history. Ironically it came in the same week that featured some Donald Trump speeches where his sentences evolved into incoherent babbling, raising serious questions about his mental state.

It wasn’t just President Biden’s strong presentation. It was also his vision for America: virtually limitless possibilities for the nation. That was a stark contract to his predecessor’s continuing tearing down of our nation, calling it weak, unrespected and even “failing.” President Biden laid out a strong agenda for improving the lives of all Americans, building on the tremendous successes of his first 3 years.

In the after-speech commentary, I was struck by one analyst who said on Bill Maher’s “Real Time” show that President Biden focused on the long term: a commitment to leave a better country and better world for our children and grandchildren, rather than focusing on short-term politically driven policies. Signature Biden successes including support for U.S. manufacturing of computer chips, infrastructure investments and attacking climate change aren’t proposals designed as instant-gratification laws. They are laws that set the stage for world leadership for the next 50 years or more.
I was also deeply disappointed — but not surprised– by the aura of Republican incivility and downright rudeness during the speech that seems to get worse every year. We remember our shock when Congressman Joe Wilson shouted out “you lie” at Barack Obama during the State of the Union. Now, outbursts like that are seemingly a regular feature of Republican congressional behavior. The heckling from the likes of Marjorie Taylor Green are an embarrassment.
And it’s gotten so bad the Speaker of the House couldn’t even find it in himself to applaud when President Biden said there was no role for violence in politics, or that United States would not bow down to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. When did those become partisan issues?

Unfortunately, Donald Trump’s crude and rude behavior seems to have become the norm for many elected Republicans.

Joining the podcast this week is the chair of the state House Education Committee, Representative Matt Koleszar who is leading a deep-dive into ways to make our schools safer.

Representative Koleszar is serving his third term representing Michigan’s 22nd House District, which includes the cities of Northville and Plymouth, most of Northville and Plymouth Townships, and a portion of Livonia.

Prior to his election, Koleszar worked as a teacher and coach in the Airport Community School District and president of the Airport Education Association in Carleton. He received an undergraduate degree from Saginaw Valley State University before attending Eastern Michigan University, where he received a master’s degree in english studies.

Koleszar is committed to securing adequate funding for Michigan’s schools, finding effective solutions to fix the roads, and increasing access to and quality of healthcare in the state.

“For You” – Biden/Harris Campaign

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Political insights from Kalamazoo’s Jordan Klepper…

The WØRD – “Chaos”

Find out how you can become a Michigan Messenger!
This week’s guest: Michigan’s senior Senator, Debbie Stabenow.

From the chair


It’s the ongoing story of Republicans running to succeed Debbie Stabenow in the United States Senate. Their story got even more muddled this week with the announcement by ultra-right-wing former Congressman Justin Amash that he was joining the circular firing squad. Michigan Republicans’ brutal infighting is getting nastier by the day. Their caustic showdown will leave them with a badly damaged nominee who is out of touch with Michigan families. Amash has an extensive record of leaving Michiganders behind: supporting dangerous abortion bans, vowing to gut health care access, and backing the 2017 tax giveaway to the wealthy and large corporations.

In the meantime, the other Senate wannabes focused on slamming each other:

Grab your popcorn and pull up a chair. When millionaires Pensler, Rogers and Meijer start spending their vast personal funds you can count on the political bloodbath moving to your television.

All of this stands in stark contrast to the long history of our guest on this week’s podcast. Debbie Stabenow has always run on a forward-thinking platform of progress for Michigan, and the voters have endorsed that approach to campaigns time after time. Senator Stabenow symbolizes the very best in public service. Beginning as an Ingham County Commissioner, she has served the people of Michigan for nearly 50 years: state representative, state senator, Congresswoman and, for the last 23 years as our United States Senator.

In the News

VIDEO – President Biden calls out Trump for sabotaging the bipartisan border protection bill, and challenges him to work together on fixing the crisis.

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National Policy and Politics

The WØRD – “Teamwork”

From the chair

My special guest this week: DNC Chair Jaime Harrison

It’s no secret that the Republican Party is in turmoil these days. The state party has a civil war underway with competing factions fighting for control. The national party is undergoing a leadership purge as Donald Trump transforms the RNC into another one of his companies. He is installing his daughter-in-law as co-chair, and she’s already made it clear the RNC has two missions: return the family to the Oval Office, and pay Trump’s legal bills.

Ann Telnaes – Washington Post

Democrats are united. Yes, we will work tirelessly to reelect Joe Biden. But we are working just as hard on races all the way down the ballot. Michigan is a purple state, and it is going to be a battle to maintain the gains we’ve made in the last few years.

We have an ally at the top. The Democratic National Committee is 100% behind us. Joining me on a special episode of this podcast this week is my friend and leader, Democratic National Committee chair Jaime Harrison.


In the News

Michigan Policy and Politics

Trump/Republican Outrages

Pia Guerra – Washington Post

National Policy

The WØRD – “Vote!”

Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson celebrates the first day of early voting in the presidential primary, casting her ballot on Saturday.

From the Chair

Early voting is underway in Michigan’s presidential primary.

A vote for any other presidential candidate or a vote as “uncommitted” does not help our cause against Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans. Trump and MAGA Republicans are a danger to our democracy and the health of our nation. Trump and MAGA Republicans are looking to undermine our democracy, remove gun safety measures, stall our nation’s economic progress, enact a national abortion ban, and much more. President Biden and our vision of unity must be at the forefront, and that begins with a united effort to support President Biden in the primary.

The nine-day early voting period, culminating with the election on February 27, is a result of one of the 142 new laws passed in 2023 by our Democratic Legislature that went into effect last Tuesday. The delay was thanks to ongoing Republican foot-dragging. The state constitution says a law can only go into effect immediately if it gets a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate. Republicans decided to delay the inevitable on all of those laws by denying the two-thirds immediate effect vote.

Regardless, the early voting law is part of a package of bills enacted by the Legislature to make it easier for Michigan citizens to exercise their right to vote. Other new election laws include secure drop boxes, electronic tracking and streamlined absentee ballot processes, including a permanent mail voter list. Another new law directs the state to automatically register people who are leaving incarceration to vote. Effective June 2025, this landmark legislation restores voting rights for historically disenfranchised people.

Against a backdrop of historical disenfranchisement, Democrats stand as fervent advocates for voting rights, and will continue working to strengthen voting rights and accessibility for all Michiganders, especially Black voters.

Election officials across Michigan have faced threats of violence since the 2020 election, hindering efforts to fully staff elections. A new law protects poll workers against intimidation and threats, ensuring a safe environment for election workers, and another makes it a felony to prevent an elected official from performing their official duties in conducting an election.

House Democrats have solidified Michigan’s commitment to accessible and secure elections with key bills reflecting ongoing efforts to strengthen the state’s democracy. The measures increase access to voting, safeguard the democratic rights of Michiganders and affirm Michigan as a place where every voice matters.
And best of all: Michigan’s chief elections officer is the nation’s best Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson. She is one of the nation’s leading experts on election law and literally wrote the book on running state elections. “State Secretaries of State: Guardians of the Democratic Process”  looks into their pivotal role in the promotion of a healthy democracy. The book provides the first in-depth study of the Secretary’s role in registering voters, enforcing voting laws and regulations, overseeing elections, and certifying results.

In the wake of these monumental legislative victories, Michigan stands poised for a new era of empowered voters and strengthened democratic values. The dedication of our lawmakers has made it easier for every voice to be heard at the ballot box.

State Senator Jeff Irwin (D-Washtenaw County)

While the 2023 legislative session was a record-setter for passing important laws, there is more to be done. One important effort will be expanding on the state’s contribution to fighting climate change. We’re joined on the podcast by Washtenaw County state Senator Jeff Irwin, a key leader on climate change.

Senator Irwin is a fearless advocate for the environment, public education, and criminal justice reform, among other areas. He is serving his second term in the Michigan Senate.

Since 2018, Senator Irwin has introduced legislation tightening regulations against polluters and ensuring our schools are properly screening students for dyslexia — and getting them the help they need. He has worked to allow more juvenile offenders to seal their records, expunge all cannabis-related offenses, ban PFAS in food packaging and expand the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Irwin has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Michigan and lives in Washtenaw County. He represented the City of Ann Arbor in the Michigan House of Representatives from 2011 to 2017.

A new ad from the Biden-Harfris campaign focuses on how Donald Trump has become Vladimir Putin’s proxy in the United States: calls for abandoning our allies, encouraging Putin’s Russia to invade any NATO members that don’t meet Trump’s standards.

In the News

How to vote and when to do it: A Michigan primary primer –

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Michigan Politics

Trump, the Crimes and the Courts

National News on Policy and Politics

The WØRD – “Governing”

From the Chair

Congressional Republicans proved this week that they are bad … very bad … at governing. When it comes to passing bills, sometimes they can’t even take ‘yes’ an answer.

Case in point: the border crisis. There’s no question that there is a law enforcement and humanitarian crisis on the border. Instead of working to solve the problem, Republicans are doing everything they can to weaponize the issue because they’ve got little else to use in their campaigns.

They don’t want to actually solve the border crisis. They just want to complain about it.

They had a bill negotiated by the very conservative Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma. It was, by all accounts, a win for conservatives with just about everything they wanted in border protection. But Donald Trump said “no. I don’t want a solution. I want an issue to use against Joe Biden.”

So Republicans tanked a bill that gave them exactly what they wanted. They were afraid that a law helping solve the border crisis would help Joe Biden politically.

It comes as no surprise. In 2023 fewer than 3-dozen new laws were enacted as House Republicans devoted most of their time to Fox News inspired investigations, posturing, promoting bizarre conspiracy theories and repeatedly changing leaders (until they finally settled on letting Donald Trump call all the shots).

Here in Michigan, Democrats have proven they are very capable of governing. On Tuesday dozens of new laws will go into effect. They are laws passed in 2023 despite unified Republican opposition, laws that improve life for every Michigan citizen with tax cuts, affirming reproductive rights, strengthening voter rights, improving support for education, fixing our roads, and so much more.

Our guest this week: Macomb County Prosecutirg Attorney candidate Christina Hines. She has devoted her legal career to public service. Right out of law school she became an assistant prosecutor in Wayne County, followed by service as the Chief of the Appeals Division at the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office, and Chief of the Special Victims Unit Division. She was raised in Warren, a graduate of Warren Woods Tower High School, and then the University of Michigan and Wayne State University law school where she now serves as an adjunct professor of law.

Among those new laws: a series of gun safety measures that will help reduce the epidemic of gun violence in Michigan. Ironically these laws will become effective exactly one year after the horrific mass shooting at Michigan State University. Had these laws been in effect back then, the carnage on campus might have been averted. 

You can learn more about the new statutes on the Michigan House Democrats’ website.

Also on this week’s podcast:

  • My thoughts on the outrageous social media posts about the “Great Replacement” theory by Republican Representative Josh Schriver
  • Our focus on building the party at the local level, including an interview with Macomb County Prosecuting Attorney Candidate Christina Hines
  • The importance of voting in the February 27 Presidential Primary
  • Three new Trump outrages: his willingness to let Putin invade our NATO allies, his profound disrespect for active duty military, and the political hit job by a Republican special prosecutor.
How MSU will observe the anniversary of the February 13 mass shooting.

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Michigan Politics
Michigan Policy
Trump Outrages