Non-Democrats in the Ypsilanti Democratic Primary… is there anything wrong with that?

As the deadline for registering to vote in the August 7 primary is one week from today, I thought that now might be a good time to publicly commend a certain local landlord for defecting from the ultra right wing America First Party and professing his allegiance to the party of Ted Kennedy, Barney Frank and Barack Obama. If you walk past his property on Washington Street, of course, you’ll still see his John Birch Society materials scattered about, but, as Mike Eller announced officially that he’s running as a Democrat in our City Council primary, I can only assume that he’s been too busy celebrating our recent health care victory to lug all of his radical right wing propaganda to the trash bin. The alternative, and I hate to even consider it, is that he’s not really a Democrat at all, but just running as one because it’s the politically expedient thing to do, in a city where the winner is almost always decided in the Democratic primary. I’m sure that’s not the case, though. As someone who prides himself on being a man of character, I can’t see as how that would be possible.

Speaking of the America First Party, I’ve just spent the last few minutes skimming through their past platforms, and I can see why someone might be inclined to pack up in the dead of night and flee screaming. The stuff is crazy, even by the Republican standards of today. Not only are they unabashedly homophobic and anti-immigrant, but their views, as far as I can tell, contradict one another at almost every turn. For instance, they spend a great deal of time talking about the sanctity of human life, but then argue that we should bring back the death penalty. And, they talk about how important it is to protect the Great Lakes and our public lands, but, in the very next breath, call for the immediate destruction of the Environmental Protection Agency and all laws that would seek to protect these precious natural resources. And the rest is just a crazy mish-mash of paranoid conspiracy theories, like you might expect to hear from an untreated schizophrenic on a park bench. For instance, it would seem that they don’t believe that “date rape” exists. Furthermore, if I’m understanding correctly, they believe that our seat belt laws were enacted at the behest of Chinese communists. Oh, and it probably goes without saying, but they also don’t believe in the separation of church and state, and feel as though all foreign aid should be eliminated. And, here’s my favorite part. They have a cure of AIDS! Isn’t that exciting? Here it is… “AIDS: The first politically-protected disease. The Cure: Not one Dime (from Government). That would cure it in a hurry.” And, as if that weren’t offensive enough, they also argue that “the Black man” is worse off as a result of civil rights legislation. You know, that terrible legislation that allowed them to attend decent schools, ride public transportation, drink from water fountains, marry whom they loved, and vote. [note: These America First folks also apparently like to capitalize random words.]

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that this fellow who is running for City Council in Ward 3 isn’t sincere about his newfound love of Democratic principles, and that he’s just looking to ride the current anti-incumbent sentiment into office… Is that wrong? I mean, I know that it’s morally reprehensible, but is it technically wrong? And, if so, is there any recourse? Can any action be taken when a person switches party affiliations in order to sneak his way into office? Can the Democratic Party, for instance, do anything about it? Can they deny someone from running with a “D” beside his name? (My guess, given that Democrats couldn’t stop former KK Grand Wizard David Duke from running in their primaries is that nothing can be done, but I thought that I’d ask.)

Regardless of what he really believes, since he’s the one guy on the ballot who stood firm against the proposed Ypsilanti income tax, I’m sure some Democrats will vote for him… It’s kind of sad, but some people just don’t do their homework. Or, worse yet, they just don’t care.

update: For the most part, I got the comments that I was expecting. This one, however, kind of surprised me. It comes from a reader calling himself Ypsi-Republican.

i don’t care what mike eller’s stance is on aids or ponytails or date rape BECAUSE IT DOESN’T MATTER.

i only care that he’s fiscally conservative and against taxes. that’s the kind of leadership this town needs.

ypsilanti doesn’t have the platform to make policy on aids or to keep ypsilanti out of the united nations.

a vote for eller is a vote for a new ypsilanti. if that means less ponytails, then so be it.

“That’s the kind of leadership this town needs,” indeed.

[If you don’t know whether or not you’re registered to vote in the August 7 Michigan Primary, you can find out here.]

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  1. Posted July 2, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    Not only was he affiliated with the AFP – he was the President of the Michigan Chapter of the AFP. Having anyone in office who ever thought any of that nonsense is acceptable is scary. Just knowing there are people out there with that mentality is scary.

  2. Edward
    Posted July 3, 2012 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    America First: The party for those who like to talk about the unfettered freedom of the individual, while ranting about men who choose to have ponytails.

  3. rodneyn
    Posted July 3, 2012 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    If local Democrats don’t want non-Democrats running in their primary (and VOTING in their primary as well), then the best solution would be to support the change to a non-partisan election for Mayor and City Council when the updated City Charter comes up for a vote (possibly in November).

    Nothing would solve the problem faster than making this simple change.

  4. Posted July 3, 2012 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    America first is Ron Paul. He made those very same claims about AIDS and civil rights.

  5. mark k
    Posted July 3, 2012 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Was this writen in the 30’s. As a Republican I don’t identify with one thing you’ve wrote. But then again what would you liberals have without lies?

  6. Posted July 3, 2012 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Mark K – these are the current views of the AFP. The party was formed in 2002.

  7. Posted July 3, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Mark k, all you have to do is go to their web site. It’s all up there.

    As far as I know, the site was put up after 1930.

  8. Lynne
    Posted July 3, 2012 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    LOL. That guy friended me on facebook and I thought “Hey, wasn’t this that crazy republican guy from before?” I guess so.

    FWIW, the Democrats *can* prevent this guy from running. That is what the primary is for. If he fools voters, then they deserve what they get.

  9. Knox
    Posted July 3, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Is he suggesting what I think he’s suggesting? Is he saying that the way to end the AIDS epidemic is to simply let it run its course, killing all gay men, IV drug users, and others who come in contact with it? If so, that’s just horribly homophobic but sociopathic and psychotic.

    Also, is he really so stupid as to think that that AIDS is the only disease that we are funding research on? A simple trip to the NIH website would show him that we’re investing across the board, in research on a number of different disease states, most notably cancer.

  10. Knox
    Posted July 3, 2012 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    And, yes, all of the AIDS stuff was written in the 1930’s, a half century before the disease was known to exist. In addition to being the self-appointed guardians of our constitution, these men a prophets.

  11. Posted July 3, 2012 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Knox, that’s exactly what AFP and Ron Paul have both suggested.

  12. anonymous
    Posted July 3, 2012 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    If you see Mike Eller (that’s who we’re talking about), slap him on the back, congratulate him on his transformation, and ask if you can put up some Obama posters in the window of his building on Washington. And, while you’re at it, ask him if he’d allow his space to be used for upcoming Planned Parenthood activities, Trayvon Martin rallies, etc.

  13. from facebook
    Posted July 3, 2012 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    LAST DAY TO REGISTER TO VOTE for the August 7th Primary is Monday, July 9th until 4:00pm. Register at the Clerk’s Office in City Hall – One South Huron Street between the hours of 8:00am and 4:00pm today Thursday, Friday and next Monday.

  14. Elf
    Posted July 3, 2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    Funny to see this mention of AIDS funding after having just signed a petition asking Congress to do the following: “Reverse proposed budget cuts to the life-saving AIDS program PEPFAR and fulfill our commitments to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.” So, Eller would be happy to know that plans are already in the works to cut our funding for programs that provides medication to AIDS patients. If, like me, you would like to stop this from happening, you can sign the petition here.

  15. Star Child
    Posted July 3, 2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    It amazes me how much I hear some of the right wingers suggest that the solution to our budget problems is to cut funding for things like AIDS research or cut off humanitarian aid to other countries etc. When this is a really small portion of the budget…. like if we stopped funding AIDS research there would be no deficit… crazy talk IMO

  16. Posted July 3, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for paying attention. In 2010, we had a similar case in the State House race — it is the job of those with core progressive tendencies to pressure this person and show what his real affiliations are — ask him questions, and do it on video. :)

  17. Posted July 3, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Go to the website and check out the decal/logo in the upper left hand side. It looks like a guy standing there with a dildo up in his butt whilst grabbing his huge fake donkey dong from the front. It’s truly spectacular.

  18. mark k
    Posted July 3, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    akronymn (Adam G) as a Republican I’ve never heard of “America First Party”. But since we are generalizing I bet as a Democrat you still belong to the Klan (KKK).
    And to Pete I have no interest in going to their site, but feel free to enjoy their site all you want.

  19. kjc
    Posted July 3, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    “akronymn (Adam G) as a Republican I’ve never heard of “America First Party”. But since we are generalizing I bet as a Democrat you still belong to the Klan (KKK).”

    lol. see what mark k did there? yeah me neither.

  20. mark k
    Posted July 3, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    TeacherPatti your comment is interesting to say the least. Might be time you had a “girls night out”.

  21. Elviscostello
    Posted July 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    anonymous, you have exactly the right response…In fact, I’d go one farther. Offer to put his name on a bumper sticker with the rainbow symbol, or put a raibow sticker on his vehicle..

  22. Elviscostello
    Posted July 3, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    rainbow, of course…

  23. Eel
    Posted July 3, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Is anyone going to take Jeremy up on his suggestion and ask Eller about his beliefs on video? I imagine that he’d run off and hide like he and Steve Pierce did during the income tax discussion, but it’s still worth trying.

  24. Rodney Smith
    Posted July 3, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    While I am loathe to agree with Rodney N on any issue without some qualification, I have to admit that non-partisan elections will make it a lot easier for the city’s best and brightest to do their best by their city.

    To answer the question posed by the article: What other choice do those who want to make a difference have?

    To run on a non-partisan ticket in this town requires a campaign of some magnitude to overcome the habit among Ypsilantians to vote Democrat. Such a campaign is expensive, and so is reserved for the moderately wealthy and the covertly corrupt.

    That Mr. Eller has called himself a democrat for the purposes of this election, even though his past affiliations belong with the Lunatic Right, make the point more vividly than I could.

    While I am fairly sure most informed democrats will vote for another candidate in the primary, why shouldn’t the local moderate republicans also have the chance to vote against him? For that matter, why should those who hold no party affiliation be disfranchised?

    I am sure Mr Eller’s past will keep him out of office, and would do so under non-partisan elections as well.

    Ypsilanti is a Democrat town through and through, however not all among its best and brightest belong to that fold. It is high time Ypsilanti recognized that the best way ahead can only be forged with its best and brightest at the helm.

  25. ypsi-republican
    Posted July 3, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    i don’t care what mike eller’s stance is on aids or ponytails or date rape BECAUSE IT DOESN’T MATTER.

    i only care that he’s fiscally conservative and against taxes. that’s the kind of leadership this town needs.

    ypsilanti doesn’t have the platform to make policy on aids or to keep ypsilanti out of the united nations.

    a vote for eller is a vote for a new ypsilanti. if that means less ponytails, then so be it.

  26. Watching Laughing.
    Posted July 3, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    Do not vote for Eller.
    We have stop these crazy right wingers from even getting in the door.

    Trouble looms if this 100% NON Democrat gets in any type of office.



  27. Posted July 3, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    Mark K, I know right? Believe it or not, I have a boyfriend and get laid on a regular basis!!! :)

  28. John S
    Posted July 3, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    Is there a way, if anyone knows, to challenge someone’s credentials to be able to run in the democratic primary? Eller is as much a democrat as Lyndon LaRouche…

  29. Posted July 3, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    You are, of course, entitled to your opinion, but I hope there are very few people like you in this community, ypsi-republican.

  30. Ernie
    Posted July 4, 2012 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Judging from its publications, the AFP was formed by current or former members of the John Birch Society. Its positions are indistinguishable from those taken by the JBS and it frequently has invited JBS President John F. McManus to be interviewed and share the JBS viewpoint on all sorts of matters.

    This 197-page report explains why J. Edgar Hoover and senior FBI officials within the Bureau’s Domestic Intelligence Division concluded in FBI memos that the JBS was “extremist”, “irrational” and “irresponsible”

    Contrary to claims made by the Birch Society about the alleged “left-wing” origins of JBS criticism, the most potent adverse comments about the JBS have always originated from the right-side of the political spectrum. This report presents a representative sample of such comments.

    This report presents documents which, generally, have never been previously publicly available — including private correspondence between Robert Welch and numerous individuals and correspondence by JBS National Council members during the formative years of the Birch Society. This report is a work-in-progress and considerable new material will be added over the next few months.

  31. Posted July 4, 2012 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the additional reading material, Ernie. It’s much appreciated.

    And, I’ve been thinking about your comment, Ypsi Republican, and, while you’re right, in a way, that much of what the City Council in our town deals with is outside the scope of what Eller rants about on his website, I do think his positions are relevant. For instance, he’s said that he doesn’t believe there should be zoning laws, or a historic district commission. (He’s called the city employees to enforce such laws “Nazis” in his publications.) From his perspective, there would be no issue, for instance, with putting a hog rendering plant downtown, on Water Street. And that’s just one example. Here’s another. What if, to use your example about ponytails, a qualified applicant for City Manager happens to have one? Worse yet, what if he’s gay? And, what if a charge of date rape is made against a police officer? Would Eller take it seriously? His views on these issues, I’d argue, do matter… very much.

  32. Watching Laughing.
    Posted July 4, 2012 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Just don’t vote for ELLER and he can’t get into office; whatever his right wing agenda would end up being?
    Stop him before he can start, pretty simple.


  33. outlook is grim
    Posted July 4, 2012 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    If Tyrone Bridges splits the African American vote on the south side with Lois, Steve Pierce could find his way onto Council. If that happens, and, if people decide to vote against Pete, because he did the responsible thing, and proposed an income tax, that could give us the following City Council.

    Mike Eller, Susan Moeller, Steve Pierce, Brian Robb, Ricky Jefferson, Dan Vogt.

    Goodbye to sanity. Hello tea party, libertarian bullshit.

  34. MarkH
    Posted July 4, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    I heard that Paul Shreiber has refused to endorse either Murdoch or Richardson.

    Does anyone know why he’s not supporting them?

  35. Natalie
    Posted July 4, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    a vote for eller is a vote against many, many ypsilantians and ypsi families. i for one want to continue to live in a place where i feel safe and respected. if my fellow neighbors feel inclined to vote people who align themselves with bigotry into public office, i will feel less safe and disrespected. the AFP is a blatantly homophobic and anti-family party. the AFP platform works to create policy to try to make my family and my friends disappear. Today, as eller’s supporters marched behind us in the fourth of july parade, i wanted to simply get off my bike and walk with my partner holding her hand in front of their envoy.

    Sure, i know lots of folks in this town hate me or look down on me for loving my beloved and looking more like a dude than a lady…ignorance and fear drive a lot of drivel. but, really, i choose to live here cause of the overwhelming love and the dedication of the citizenry to helping one another out. AFP is a party dedicated to a pull-yourself-up-by-your-boot-straps-abide-by-a-god-of-judgement-and-disdain-no-hand-outs-for-the-downtrodden-addicted-suffering-or-salt-of-this-earth-and-kill-the-queers-while-we-are-at-it-and-straight-up-racist ideology.

    so, unless, eller has had some kind of conversion experience, this democratic run is really dishonest and shameful and while there may be nothing”wrong” with the run, Mark, thank you for outing the ethical issue here. and, please someone get him on video and ask him the hard questions…

  36. Posted July 4, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the note, Natalie… I wish I’d been feeling better this morning. I would have gone to the parade an interviewed him. Maybe I’ll send him some questions by way of email and see it he responds.

    Here are some ideas off the top of my head.

    • As a Democrat, how proud will you be, assuming you win the primary, seeing your name on the ticket, right there, alongside President Obama, come November?

    • What were you thinking, back when you used to be the head of Michigan’s American First Party, when you said that the Civil Rights Act was bad for black people? Please elaborate on how black people were better off under laws that didn’t allow them to attend school with whites, eat at the same lunch counters, marry whom they loved, and vote?

    • Please walk us through your conversion experience. When was it that you turned your back on the America First Party, and what triggered it? Was it the homophobia, the xenophobia, or something else?

    • If a skinhead and a ponytailed homosexual are vying for the same City job, which do you hire?

    • If a hog rendering plant wanted to locate on Water Street, and dump their sludge into the Huron River, would you be OK with that?

    Any others folks would like for me to add?

  37. John S
    Posted July 4, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    here is one Mark,

    Now that you are a democrat and “Obamacare” has passed, how happy are you that AIDS victims will no longer be turned down for health care for a pre-existing condition?

  38. ypsi-republican
    Posted July 4, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    mark we all you know you are too much of a pussy to try and interview eller, so stop pretending.

    has anyone that claims eller is so hateful actually spoken to him?

  39. anonymous
    Posted July 4, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for using “pussy” and not “vagina.” Had you said that, we would have had to indefinitely suspend you from the site.

    As for speaking with Eller, I haven’t found it necessary, as I know how to read. Does he have a firm handshake in person? Is he handsome? When you look into his eyes, do you swoon? Do you need moist panty ointment?

  40. Posted July 5, 2012 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    MarkH – Paul isn’t making any endorsements whatsoever.

    ypsi-republican – There is absolutely nothing that makes it ok to vote for someone who has worked against civil rights, and women’s rights. The list of issues where Eller falls on the bat shit crazy side of the fence goes on and on and on but those are the two that always come to mind first. I know well enough that he is all to willing to lie to my face to give him one second of my time. His history is all I need.

    Mark k – what the heck are you even saying? Care to clarify?

  41. Ed G
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    “[If you don’t know whether or not you’re registered to vote in the August 9 Michigan Primary, you can find out here.]”

    The State Primary is August 7, 2012.

  42. Anonymous Mike
    Posted July 5, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Now that you’ve seen the error of your ways, Mike, how do you intend to make amends for everything you’ve said in the past?

  43. Whaz Up?
    Posted July 6, 2012 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    Obviously, Mike Eller isn’t a real threat to the incumbent, Pete Murdock.

    Mike, and he’ll have to contend with his lies and bringing his kids to porches to soften lies (I felt bad for his young son, to witness his father’s lies on my porch) obviously isn’t a Democrat. Or anything close.

    Mike. I know you’re reading this. Clear the air. Tell us why you’re a Democrat… Tell us why your children are ringing doorbells as Democrats…

    My guess is Pete Murdock planted a seed a few elections ago… and, after a few frustrated elections … you bit.

    Which brings up to date. You won’t be elected. Pete will be. Checkmate.

    You compromised your ideals for a head fake. Made Pete look sane in the process.

    The real question is how can anti-tax / pro-tax Murdock survive?

    Answer: He doesn’t have a job. This is his hobby. Toying with voters/Ellers.

    I’m voting for Mike. He’s capable of far less damage.

  44. Elf
    Posted July 6, 2012 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Whaz, are you suggesting that Pete tricked Eller into running, so that he’d have an easier road to reelection? Do you really think he’s that Machiavellian? Personally, I think it more likely that would have wanted to run unopposed. And how is is that, after saying Eller is a liar, you say you’ll vote for him? If you dislike both Pete and Eller, I believe there’s a third candidate you could support. Why vote for a man you perceive to be a liar?

  45. name not given
    Posted July 6, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    What’s the deal with not believing in date rape? Are they suggesting that, if you consent to go on a date, you should accept the consequences? Does this go back to the notion that if a guy buys you a pizza and a beer that he’s entitled to a little compensation at the end of the night? Or are they just saying that rape is rape, which, from my perspective, is a fair enough question. I’ll have to ask him when he comes to my doorstep.

  46. Watching Laughing.
    Posted July 7, 2012 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Whaz, is that classic person, who calls into, say The Stephaine Miller Show and and starts with saying. “I’m not a Republican or a Democrat and by the end of the conversation, morphs into his/her true colors as being a far right wing shill nutjob.


  47. 734
    Posted July 10, 2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Mike Eller is still a member of the Democratic Populist Caucus (, which has its roots in the John Birch Society. The Democratic Populist Caucus, according to its website, not long ago, “proudly announced its affiliation with” as organization by the name of The Freedom First Society (” Freedom First Society, according to its website, “is particularly guided by the insights and experience of Robert Welch, as reflected in his writings and speeches.” (Robert Welch was the founder of the John Birch Society.) Furthermore, the Democratic Populist Caucus, on its website, promotes a platform that is almost indistinguishable from the America First Party, which is the organization that Eller, until recently, ran the Michigan branch of. Both, for instance, claim that FDR and MLK were traitors to their country.

    As a friend recently said to me……. How is it possible for one to profess to be a Democrat when he opposes Social Security and Medicare, and calls FDR a traitor? Those are the three things that you would think should unite virtually all Democrats.

    This is a man that should never be seriously considered for office. Not in Michigan. Not anywhere. I don’t care if he was active alongside Steve Pierce in the anti-income tax campaign.

  48. snitch
    Posted July 10, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    I’d respect Eller more if he went around town handing out these.

3 Trackbacks

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  3. By Non-partisan elections and the Ypsi City Charter on October 21, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    […] as a Democrat, regardless of their actual beliefs?This summer’s screaming match about whether Mike Eller was a “real Democrat” is a great demonstration of the problem. Eller ran as an Independent in […]

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