Overcoming the gerrymander in Michigan

Targets to flip it back blue

Welcome to the big Sunday edition of Progressives Everywhere!

We’ve got a big issue for you today, with a guide to flipping another swing state, notes on the biggest remaining primary elections, and voting rights news.


Flip Michigan Back to Blue

The Republican-controlled Michigan legislature has been one of the most awful and heartless in the country. Among other things, the GOP — in power only because of a ridiculous gerrymander — has ignored the water crisis in Flint, gerrymandered voters out of representation, installed voter ID, and fought Gov. Whitmer every step of the way on COVID-19.

It was devastating to lose Michigan in 2016, but 2018 was much better — Democrats pushed hard for some big wins, including the governorship (Whitmer!) and a number of ballot initiatives. Now, the party has to flip just four seats in the State House of Representatives to turn it blue despite the ridiculous gerrymandering. Between flipping the legislature and winning the state in the presidential election, helping in Michigan is absolutely essential.

Below, I’m listing the most flippable Michigan State House seats. Do what you can to help out — any donations are crucial.

Donate to Michigan Democratic Candidates

State House District 104: This district is an absolute mess. Long-time incumbent Republican Rep. Larry Inman was charged in mid-2019 with soliciting bribes in exchange for voting against a GOP anti-worker law. Even most Republicans voted on a resolution asking him to resign, which he refused to do, and then the citizen effort to trigger a recall election against him fell short on a technicality.

Inman will not run for re-election, which he was more or less guaranteed to lose anyway. Democrat Dan O’Neil lost to Inman in 2018 by just 349 votes and is running again to finish the flip. The lawyer and former public official in Traverse City is focused on education and rooting out corruption. He’s running against John Roth, a former county GOP chair.

State House District 38: Like O’Neil, Democratic Novi City Council member Kelly Breen came super-close to unseating the incumbent Republican in 2018, losing by just 588 votes. After a close primary, Breen is back for another run at the seat, but due to term limits, she’ll be facing off against a new Republican: Chase Turner, a 25-year-old far-right conservative who touts himself as a “Trump Republican.” Yikes.

State House District 110: This is the one district that Republicans flipped from blue to red in 2018 (Democrats flipped five). Republican Greg Markkanen won by just 579 votes that year and will now have to defend the seat against Democrat Janet Metsa. She is an MIT-trained engineer who worked for the EPA and now runs a private business dedicated to helping the environment.

State House District 61: Progressives Everywhere endorsee Christine Morse is running in a district where the previous Democratic candidate lost by just 2.7%. Morse is a Kalamazoo County Commissioner with a practical and progressive platform; she’s running against a former Trump aide who has taken in a boatload of money from special interests.

State House District 98: Like many of the top races here, District 98 will feature a rematch of the very close 2018 contest, which was decided by just 4%. Sarah Schulz, a non-profit executive, returns for Democrats and will face off again against Rep. Annette Glenn, who took the seat over from her husband and has some pretty shady financial connections.

Donate to Michigan Democratic Candidates


One More Progressive Revolution in 2020

This past Friday, I sent premium members of Progressives Everywhere an in-depth interview with Alex Morse, the young progressive mayor who is running a tight primary campaign to knock off Rep. Richard Neal, Wall Street’s favorite Democrat. It touched on a lot of topics, including the attempted hatchet job on his campaign by members of the state party as well as his big plans for the final week of campaigning.

Here is an excerpt, which really gets down to the heart of his campaign and why he’s challenging Neal in the first place:

This is a guy that was proud to say that his first call was to Bob Rubin, the former Goldman Sachs CEO, to help craft the CARES Act. He's opposing $2,000-a-month monthly payments, he is opposed to the Paycheck Guarantee Act. He still doesn't believe health care should be a fundamental human right. And he's openly talking about the deficit. He just is unable to grasp the urgency of the moment here.

He thinks that his one-time payment is enough for people and all of these corporations should be bailed out. And he doesn’t talk about food insecurity and jobs and rent, issues that people are actually struggling and experiencing within the district. Because he doesn't do town halls, it makes it almost impossible for him to actually understand what real people are going through. 

Even his TV ads — he’s got an ad campaign now with a business shooting an ad for him saying “Thanks to Richie Neal, I got money from the Paycheck Protection Program.” Essentially his ads are saying, “I'm a small business owner, I couldn't get access to the money and Richie Neal helped me.” That’s not how government should work. It should work for everybody. You shouldn't need to know somebody in the office, you shouldn't have to have access to your congressman to get a loan from the federal government. 

He also has a country club where it costs $40-50,000 a year to be a member featured in an ad as getting money from the Paycheck Protection Program.

Election Day is on September 1st and early voting began yesterday, so it’s really coming down to the wire. Given the urgency, I’m opening up our interview with Alex for the entire community — check it out and spread the word!


Real Quick…

Together, we’ve raised nearly $1.5 million now for progressive candidates and causes, as well as another $1.5 million for bail funds and civil rights organizations.

To make this sustainable, I need your help. If you become a member of Progressives Everywhere, you’ll get nightly emails chock full of deep dives into elections and the crucial political stories not getting enough attention. You’ll also receive exclusive updates from candidates you’ve supported and interviews with other progressive leaders.

Becoming a member (just $5 a month!) allows me to bring you more original reporting and interviews and raise money for amazing progressives working to save the country. And it’ll help you win debates with your conservative family members!


Big News You Need to Know

Here are some of the big headlines you may have missed over the long weekend and late last week.

National: As the outrage over the USPS and the sabotage of voting by mail continues, a new front in the GOP’s war on voting has opened up. Republican secretaries of state and President Trump himself are now targeting dropboxes for absentee ballots in tweets, lawsuits, and refusal to act in logical and pro-democratic ways. Today, Trump tweeted some terrible lies connecting drop boxes to voter fraud, which Twitter soon blocked for being terrible lies.

Ohio: Outrage continues to grow over Secretary of State Frank LaRosa’s decision to allow just one dropbox per county.

  • Right now, people in tiny rural counties and big cities such as Cleveland will have access to an equal number of dropboxes, which will severely curtail safe and early voting by Democratic-leaning voters.

  • On Friday afternoon, Democrats protested in Cincinnati, where there will be just one dropbox for 580,000 registered voters, some of whom will have to travel up to 45 minutes just to get to it.

  • Ohio is seeing a huge surge in applications, with over 400,000 thus far.

Maryland: The state is expanding the number of dropboxes from 75 during the primary to 270 for the general election.

  • Over a quarter of a million voters in Maryland have already applied for an absentee ballot.

  • State officials expect half of all registered voters to use the system.

Pennsylvania: The Trump campaign fell flat on its face in court on Thursday.

  • Last month, the Trump campaign filed suit to block Pennsylvania from expanding the number of drop boxes available in the general election.

  • The federal judge hearing the case asked them to produce evidence of voter fraud in the primaries, as they alleged to have happened.

  • Guess what? They couldn’t do it.

  • Unfortunately, the case isn’t over — they’ll be in court next month.

Iowa: The Trump campaign is in court trying to throw out absentee ballot applications sent by Woodbury County.

  • Basically, Secretary of State Paul Pate finally agreed to let counties send out applications to all voters, but he refused to allow certain information to be included (ostensibly to make it harder for voters to successfully get a ballot).

  • Woodbury sent their ballots with some personal information filled in to make it easier, which Trump and the local GOP are hopping mad about.

  • They’re also suing a few other counties over the same issue.

National: As if Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s testimony before the Senate about his hack job at the USPS wasn’t disconcerting enough, it turns out that the delays happening in the mail system are much worse than previously thought.

Florida: The state announced that six initiatives qualified for the ballot in November.

  • For our purposes, the most important one is Amendment 2, which would provide a rise in the minimum wage to $15-an-hour… by 2026. So, not perfect, but better than the $8.56 that it is now in Florida.

  • Also of interest is Amendment 3, which would create a top-two open primary system for state office primary elections. This is the kind of system that California uses for all of its elections.


Quibis:

Republican death cult: This is horrible and terrifying:

  • This is why pandering to get Republicans to vote for Biden is such a waste of time. They are a sick cult. If they still have to be convinced, they never will be.

  • Here’s some more math on that: 45% of eligible Americans didn’t vote in 2016 and yet Democrats are spending all their time in 2020 trying to win over 5% of the people who voted for the obvious sociopath last time.

  • On that note, Rahm Emanuel is a monster and nothing he says should be trusted or even considered, especially not this crap.

On a lighter note: I watched this movie last night and really enjoyed it:


Real Quick…

Together, we’ve raised nearly $1.5 million now for progressive candidates and causes, as well as another $1.5 million for bail funds and civil rights organizations.

To make this sustainable, I need your help. If you become a member of Progressives Everywhere, you’ll get nightly emails chock full of deep dives into elections and the crucial political stories not getting enough attention. You’ll also receive exclusive updates from candidates you’ve supported and interviews with other progressive leaders.

Becoming a member (just $5 a month!) allows me to bring you more original reporting and interviews and raise money for amazing progressives working to save the country. And it’ll help you win debates with your conservative family members!