I am disappointed in you, my fellow Michiganders


The people of Michigan had their chance yesterday to remove Rick Snyder and his administration from office. And, much to my surprise, they chose to given him four more years instead.

I would have thought, given our state’s history relative to organized labor, and the conversations I’ve had with folks over the past several years, that the outcome of yesterday’s election would have been dramatically different. I know that, in recent history, Democrats have done a piss poor job of voting in the midterms, but I really thought that people would be motivated to get Snyder out of office, given what he’s allowed to happen. And I would have thought, given the chance, the people of Michigan would have risen up, hand in hand, and booted Snyder from office.

I thought that the parents among us would have voted against him, seeing as how he slashed our K-12 education budget, aggressively dismantling public education and pushing our kids into unaccountable for-profit charter schools.

I thought that our working men and women would have voted against him for slashing unemployment benefits and signing anti-union “right to work” legislation into law after promising repeatedly that doing so wasn’t on his agenda.

I thought that our seniors would have voted against him, seeing as how he began his tenure in office by taxing their pensions in order to pay for unprecedented corporate tax cuts.

I would have thought that women would have voted against him, seeing as how he signed into law our nation’s most restrictive anti-abortion legislation, and then looked the other way as zealots within his party began shutting down reproductive health clinics and forcing health care providers to withhold treatment from victims of rape and incest.

I would have thought that those of us living in cities would have voted against him for defunding our communities to the point of collapse and then sending in an army of so-called Emergency Managers to sell off our assets, break union contracts and privatize everything that could be privatized.

I would have thought that the good and decent people of Michigan, regardless of their race or sexual orientation, would have voted against him for the aggressive attacks against gay families that have taken place on his watch, and the disenfranchisement of black Michiganders under the Emergency Manager regime, which, by the way, we collectively voted out of existence in 2012, only to have it return thanks to the machinations of the Snyder administration.

But I was wrong. The people of this state are not the people that I thought that they were. At best they’re lazy and stupid. At worst, they’re close-minded racist homophobes who value neither public education, nor a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions. (If it’s any consolation, I suspect it’s more that they’re lazy than evil, but I don’t know that it really matters, as the result is the same.)

And I realize that I’m being harsh when I say that my fellow Michiganders are stupid and lazy, but that’s how I feel. In time, I’m sure, I’ll find myself making excuses for them. I’ll start to blame the Koch brothers for their control of the corporate media, and John Engler for setting in motion the systematic destruction of our public education system, which has given us a generation of young citizens that don’t understand that it’s their civic responsibility to stay engaged and participate actively in government. And maybe I’ll even be willing to direct a little blame toward our Democratic candidates, who, for whatever reason, weren’t able to break through and connect with voters. But, for now, even though I know it’s not constructive, I just want to vent. I want to express my anger with those people who, even though they know how bad Snyder is for our state, still chose to stay home.

According to the Department of Sate just over 3 million of us voted in Michigan. That’s 3 million out of a population of nearly 10 million, in which 7,437,088 are registered to vote. And it’s that lack of turnout, I’m convinced, that killed us, not the fact that a majority of Michiganders actually want rape insurance, charter schools, and anti-union right-to-work legislation.

But the non-Republicans just didn’t come out. Democrats could have won this thing handily if they’d just showed up, but they didn’t… And, before someone calls me out on it, yes, I suspect that I share as much blame as the next guy. Even though I thought that I was doing my share, by writing here, and interviewing candidates, and using social media to educate my fiends and push them toward the polls, the truth is, I could have done more. I could have taken the day off from work and knocked on doors. I could have physically dragged people to their polling places, like I did during the first Obama campaign. But I didn’t. And I have to live with that. But I’m not the only one that has culpability… Why is it that not one person knocked on my door to talk about Mark Schauer this campaign season? Why is is that no one called me, a registered Democrat, on election day, asking if I’d already voted? Where was the campaign infrastructure? Where was Lon Johnson? We brought him onboard to run the Michigan Dems because we were tired of losing, and he got his ass handed to him worse that Brewer ever did. I’d say that he’s got some expelling to do.

But, as I’m sure Lon would tell you, it wasn’t just here in Michigan that we got beat. Dems stayed home everywhere… Here, for those of you who are interested in such things, is some national trend data from Talking Points Memo.

…Comparing yesterday’s exit polls to those of 2012, the first thing that jumps out at you is a big shift in age demographics: under-30 voters dropped from 19 percent of the electorate in 2012 to 13 percent in 2014, while over-65 voters climbed from 16 percent in 2012 to 22 percent in 2014. That’s quite close to the age demographics of 2010.

In terms of race and ethnicity, the white share of the electorate increased modestly from 72 percent in 2012 to 75 percent this year, not quite back up to the 77 percent whites represented in 2010. And interestingly enough, Republican performance among white voters didn’t change at all from the 59/39 margin achieved by Mitt Romney. What did change is that Republicans boosted their percentage among African-Americans from 6 percent won by Romney to 10 percent yesterday; from 27 percent to 35 percent among Latinos; and from 26 percent to 49 percent among Asians. It’s likely the age demographics had some impact on Republican minority performance, particularly among Latinos, given the relatively strong attachment of young Latinos to the Democratic Party. And in general, it’s probable more conservative minority voters were more likely to vote…

Like I said, I’m sure, in a few days, I’ll begin to calm down a bit, and I’ll start thinking more strategically. I’ll realize that, among other things, you can’t win races by calling people stupid and lazy. And, instead of trying to place blame, I’ll begin to think about what I might be able to do differently, both on this site and in my real life, in order to get my fellow Michiganders to recognize what’s going on, and realize that they have agency to do something about it. For now, though, I just want to complain about the laziness of those who didn’t vote, and the stupidity of those people who can’t see what’s happening and understand the ramifications. We’re digging a hole that it will take us generations to get back out of, and that makes me terribly sangry*… the thought that all of the civil rights and organized labor battles of the past will have to be fought all over again, and that more people will die. But that’s what’s going to happen. It may be true that people aren’t voting, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a breaking point. And I fear it’s fast approaching.

One last thing… This never would have happened had the Republicans not successfully maneuvered to get minimum wage off the ballot. Had the that proposal been in front of voters this year, I don’t doubt for a minute that we could have turned out the 129,548 additional people that we would have needed to win the Governor’s race. But we were outplayed. And, as much as I hate the fact that it happened, I have to confess that I have some level of respect for the Republicans, who played it perfectly.

[*Sangry, not to be confused with synergy, is the state of being equally sad and angry.]

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  1. Posted November 5, 2014 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    The following comment was left in another thread today, but I think that it belongs here instead.

    Pocket Beaver:

    Even more dispiriting is the new batch making up the Michigan Legislature. From the Detroit Free Press:

    “Lana Theis of Brighton believes legislators should be prepared to “defend states’ rights” if the federal courts strike down Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage.

    Bradford Jacobsen of Oxford says the state should increase funding for road maintenance by diverting sales tax revenue currently earmarked for K-12 education.

    Peter Lucido of Washington Township thinks Michigan should consider allocating its electoral votes by congressional district — a scheme that would have awarded most of the state’s 16 electors to Mitt Romney in the last presidential election.

    And Gary Glenn of Midland has opined that Michigan and other states should be free to criminalize homosexual behavior.”

    ” . . . many of the Republican newbies have expressed enthusiasm for new restrictions on abortion rights, expanded privileges for gun owners and concealed-weapons permit-holders, and increased privatization of public services . . .”


  2. Posted November 5, 2014 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    The following comment was left in another thread today, but I think that it belongs here instead.


    I’m in a bad mood–not so much because Democrats were steamrolled (I’ve never placed too much hope in them, or in electoral politics, as salvation of any sort), but because one of the godfathers of Michigan’s 1% was nearly elected Regent to a local university.

    The reason I’m (pretty rashly) jumping in here, to Marks’ blog’s comments field, is twofold.

    First, I’d like to hear what ideas and hopes you all have—moving forward—for pushing back against enclosure and resource extraction; against Weiser, McKinley, and any number of other places of consolidated conservative *as well as* liberal wealth in our community? Though it had much to do with racism, this election wasn’t so much a referendum on President Obama’s politics as it was a demonstration of the brainwashibility of mainstreet Americans by the propaganda of affluence. A local example: apparently the Michigan Theater has sent out an email praising Weiser for his “service” to the community. How is it the dons of the 1% not only extract loads of capital from a community, but manage also to then extract praise from that same community? I recall that David Koch is a benefactor of modern dance . . .

    Second, and directly related to this: I’m also reminded of a comment Dug Song left here a few weeks ago; I was startled, as he managed to namedrop Nas and Albert Berriz in the same comment. Since some aspects of our communal future rest in the hands (assets) of affluent liberals like Dug, how are we to teach them, as well as the rest of our neighbors/friends/enemies, that to amass wealth is malignant, and furthermore, to attempt to wield influence after having amassed that wealth, is a crime?

    I see this as our work moving forward. Perhaps if, as a community, we can educate each other about the workings of wealth and its networks of power, our lives (and the political institutions we claim represent us) would grow more relevent.

  3. Posted November 5, 2014 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

    The following comment was left in another thread today, but I think that it belongs here instead.


    related to JC’s comments: innovation as the new religion.

    “Values like solidarity are very hard to sustain in a technological environment that thrives on personalisation and unique, individual experiences.”


    but i’m in a bad mood too.

  4. Posted November 5, 2014 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    The following comment was left in another thread today, but I think that it belongs here instead.


    “Though it had much to do with racism, this election wasn’t so much a referendum on President Obama’s politics as it was a demonstration of the brainwashibility of mainstreet Americans by the propaganda of affluence.”

    Well said, JC. Wish it could fit all over highway bridges and across every consumer product. (I also wish I were more practical–and effective.)

    The best thing I can think of is for us, and people in every state, to force the legislature (can we do this? please say yes) to redistrict to reflect true batches of populations and protect the system so that we can’t have weird snakelike districts that reach from, e.g., Belleville to Bloomfield Hills. This is one critical step toward fairer representation–and I think it’s something we can do.

    Another thing, and I have no idea how to do it–given humans’ seemingly inborn propensity to double down on their beliefs when confronted with inconvenient and unwanted data/proof/facts–is to devise a completely compelling emperor’s-new-clothes demonstration of the ruse that is Fox “News.” But people keep trying, and it seems that the only noticeable result is that FN gets played in more and more public places–big places full of people such as airports. It really does seem like a “Twilight Zone” episode we’ve been stuck in for so long and can’t find our way out.

    The only other purely off-the-cuff-of-despair comment for the moment is–so many people who could’ve didn’t vote. I know some say they forgot (waaaa, what?!); others talk like they’re too cool to vote; and surely there are myriad explanations. And some of us sappy people still dreaming about a country that cherishes and encourages learning and thinking and acting and overcoming–and love–so wish they all would vote.

  5. Lynne
    Posted November 5, 2014 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    I find it frustrating that the very people who will be hurt the most often dont vote.

  6. Posted November 5, 2014 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    The following comment was left in another thread today, but I think that it belongs here instead.


    We probably could force some kind of redistricting via a voter referendum but not as long we keep insisting on voting for people who have demonstrated that they will do whatever it takes to go around voter referendums.

  7. Taco Farts
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    The old are to blame for evil taking hold of this country.

    The young are to blame for not exorcising it.

    I was one of those “I won’t support this farce by participating” kids. Now I realize that republicans were masturbating to the idea of my disaffection/non-participation all along. That needs to be Rock The Vote’s campaign in 2016: a bunch of ancient white guys self-pleasuring to turnout stats for young Americans. Nothing would have got me to the polls faster as a twenty-year old.

    If I were more interesting, I’d give odds on my being the subject of a trademark mm exit interview before four years are up. At some point it seems like you have to admit to yourself that – in this place – you’re the one who doesn’t belong. Also you get sick of being punished for others’ simple-mindedness.

  8. Oliva
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 5:28 am | Permalink

    Fox News might have had fewer viewers than for other elections but still had the most. See NYT, http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/06/business/media/fox-election-coverage-draws-biggest-share-of-a-less-than-rapt-audience.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=b-lede-package-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news:

    “With interest down sharply across the board in television coverage of the midterm elections, Fox News had about as big a night as the Republican Party, drawing the biggest audience not only in cable but also beating the broadcast networks’ limited coverage.

    Fox News labeled the victory historic . . .”

    A different NYT piece is relevant (sorry, it adds to the heartache of where we’ve gotten ourselves to–or more like, where we stubbornly or even nonchalantly make ourselves remain): “What ‘White Privilege’ Really Means,” http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/05/what-white-privilege-really-means/?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=Moth-Visible&module=inside-nyt-region&region=inside-nyt-region&WT.nav=inside-nyt-region

    Those who abhor the many detestable parts of dominant white male culture–epitomized by Fox and so many governors and members of Congress–have to reject it en masse and with every ounce of our beings and not let up–and not get caught in the sometimes compelling trap that none of this matters or that both parties equally suck, etc. We really did blow it. Lowest voter turnout since 1940?! when the stakes are so high and the reality so low and slipping fast, with policies that harm so many being hammered into place so that, like Mark said, it will take a very long time to undo.

  9. Thom Elliott
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    My question is; how does anyone expect with this flood of possibly billions of dark money dollars, that our elections will be even close to real? The vile plutocrats who support Snyder do so with unlimited anonymous cash, which goes to pay for many nefarious things, but amongst them are dissimulating political TV ads. 50% of Americans read 0 books in the last 12 months, they get 100% of their ‘actionable’ information about the world from glowing screens. If cynical plutocrats flood what is on these screens with lies without any checks whatsoever, and people have no ability to tell what is real, then they will control a huge amount of the perception/cognition of our a-literate population, ad infinitum.

  10. Thom Elliott
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    So in other words, you cant be mad at people without defenses who have been cynically manipulated by sociopaths. The people of Michigan have been subjected to thousands of lying political ads, whose sole purpose is to bypass your rational intellect in order to suggest they vote against their own intersts. This is exactly how advertising itself works. School children recognize Ronald McDonald before they recognize Christ, but that doesn’t change McDonalds’ massive yearly advertisment expense. You just repeat the lies over and over again, and people will ‘believe’ it, and act accordingly. As Derrida said, ‘there is nothing outside the text’, if the people’s context is utterly controlled by vicious plutocrats, then how could they know any better?

  11. jcp2
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    The gerrymandering has to be fixed, but the effort this time was not wasted. Also, McDonald’s is in a bit of trouble, and people are smarter than you might think.


  12. Posted November 6, 2014 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    I think you’re right, but elections like this also remind me how Michigan is actually a pretty conservative state. You are right about the tradition of organized labor (though that’s been on the downslide for a long time and keeps getting weaker) and it is hard for us to see it from the mostly liberal region of metro-Detroit, but if you look at the map county by county in Michigan, there’s A LOT of red.

    And to me, I think this election was also pretty indicative of the increasing problems with campaign finances out of control and districts so gerrymandered that 90% of congressional races are non-issues. Until this stuff changes, it seems to me that none of this is going to change.

    I do take some solace in the fact that I for one don’t think this election was a “game changer” at either the state or national level. Despite all the drama in the MSM about how this is a “sea change,” the fact is every sitting president since FDR has lost control of congress in the middle of their second terms. It wasn’t like congress was a well-oiled machine with the Democrats running the U.S. Senate, and now the Republicans are going to have to figure out something to do other than to say “we oppose anything Obama says.” And I don’t think they’re able to do that, so I suspect another switch of control of the U.S. Senate in 2016.

    As for Michigan politics: well, I have a feeling we’re going to continue to be frustrated by the redness of the state for a few more cycles.

  13. Posted November 6, 2014 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    “To resist despair in this world is what it is to be free” – Operation Ivy

    Voting is hard. It takes a lot of time, and a lot of actual work to figure out that indeed is shortcut by the media. We need to do like Australia, and not only make election day a national holiday, but incent participation (not sure how I feel about their fines for not voting, though). IMO, this is the biggest problem we actually have with American democracy.

    The Internet’s democratizion of media has not stopped big media’s influence, but to call ordinary folks brainwashed is a bit much. Maybe they vote based on their common, lived experiences (e.g. economy’s doing better, “I’ve still got a job”, etc.) and while some more analytical, abstract thinking would certainly benefit us all, to vilify folks as ” sheeple” ignores the reality that only the most advantaged among us can afford the time to study complex issues and weigh vexing choices to a level of intellectual / moral certainty. The rest of us just vote a straight party ticket and pray for the best. Or hope someone else does.

    I get that Mark’s blog is an outlet for these kinds of screeds and frustration. It serves an important purpose in generating real dialogue. But to direct this against others is to drive the very real experience commonly conservative, working class folks call “liberal arrogance”. Maybe you do know better how to herd the sheep, but just berating them isn’t going to get you very far.

    @JC: I’m not amassing wealth, any more than Mark is amassing vitriol. This argument won’t go very far if we fundamentally disagree about the creation of wealth (shortcut: I believe wealth is best created, and economies grown, through technology – the ideas and processes that increase human productivity). I think Mark believes and understands this too, given his choice of profession. You’re welcome to teach me anything else, though.

    And yes, I feel like I should be allowed to give props to Nas or Al Berriz for the things they say or do that I actually agree with. To go through life understanding people only as caricatures (“homophobic black rapper”, “rich white landowner”, “stupid and lazy non-voters”, etc.) is actually stupid and lazy.

  14. JC
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Dug.

    A couple quick replies:

    –would you agree that Weiser and Berrriz are amassing wealth?

    –if you do, will you describe for me how amassing wealth, and then deploying it politically (killing public school millages, running for Regent, and so on) is a collective good?

    –I like Nas; what I was alluding to is what I perceive to be the symptomatology of your referring affectionately to both him and a feudal lord like Berriz in the same comment.

    –I believe economies are best grown through cooperation; more important, though, I believe that growing economies takes a distant second place to living for strangers.

  15. site admin
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Quote of the Day: “I’m not amassing wealth, any more than Mark is amassing vitriol.”

  16. Gene
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    I’m sorry for your sanger. When i landed back here in 2004, this state voted against gay marriage, so i immediately lowered my expectations in order to stay. When i describe MI, i say it’s like a huge Walmart, with beautiful natural resources, and i don’t recommend anyone to move here. I mostly love this state, and have moments of MI pride – but Michississippi is a thing for a reason. Again, sorry for your sanger.

  17. Jon
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    If you’re a dependable, regular voter, it’s likely you weren’t on campaign lists because the effort was focused specifically on the “drop-off” voters (people who tend not to vote in the mid-term elections)

  18. Mr. X
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    I’ve yet to verify it, but I heard from a reliable source yesterday that, after Bush was reelected, the three biggest Democratic donors in Ann Arbor moved to Windsor. I’d known that people had threatened to do it, but I didn’t know that anyone had followed through. Assuming this is the case, one wonders how the loss of their dollars may effect the dynamics of these campaigns.

  19. Al McWilliams
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    I can whine and and theorize and blame all day; as an ad-dude I can talk about the money, and the TV spots, or demos and voters, but on the best (worst) day that stuff adds up to a few points in either direction. Elections aren’t lost – they’re /won/. Strong candidates win elections. If Peters was running for governor, I think we’d be a blue state. Bill Clinton? A democrat from Arkansas? Regan GOP from California? Jesse. Fucking. Ventura? If an attack ad from a PAC can push two points; likeability can push you 40.

  20. anon
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Here’s a guy who thinks it’s a lack of likeability that’s the problem with electoral politics.

  21. Krik
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    I’d never thought about it, but when things get so shitty that your biggest liberal donors leave the country, that’s a huge win for the bad guys.

  22. Old Grump
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    In the world of regulation there is a phenomena called “regulatory capture” wherein regulators become too cozy with the industries they are supposed to regulate, and end up becoming shills for them.

    This, too, happens in the non-profit world, when organizations become co-opted by the wealthy who are big donors (i.e., Weiser and Berriz). They start to look the other way about the politics and excesses of the big donors- and end up advocating for them. Just another way the all that sweet, sweet cash silences all opposition.

  23. Meta
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    More turnout numbers.

    Washtenaw County voters were more willing to cross party lines in the gubernatorial race, with 42 percent supporting Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, though a majority (56 percent) still voted for Democrat Mark Schauer.

    In the city of Ann Arbor, 69 percent of voters supported Schauer, while 29 percent joined the rest of the state in re-electing Snyder.

    A majority of Washtenaw County voters also came out in support of the Democrats in the statewide races for secretary of state (55 percent voted for Godfrey Dillard) and attorney general (59 percent voted for Mark Totten).

    In the 12th Congressional District race, 74 percent of voters in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and surrounding areas supported Democrat Debbie Dingell.

    Read more:

  24. Bob
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Most of the other points are valid but I don’t think you are hitting on the number of working class voters who quietly supported Snyder. I suspect it was many. I think lots of white, suburban Dems secretly like that Detroit finally got what it deserved, in their eyes. They give Snyder credit. I suspect many small business people, like local beer moguls you staunchly defended, quietly cast another ballot for the nerd. Just a hunch.

  25. kjc
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    “to call ordinary folks brainwashed is a bit much.”

    i thought we could all agree on the brainwashing thing. maybe we should be put it more politely? tv, advertisting, social media sets the parameters of our reality nowhere more than in this country. the excuse never to think about or even know oneself separate from this information overload is something technology won’t fix. and it’s not about pointing and calling some people sheeple. it’s a cultural malady. thinking that technology is a long march of progress that is never at odds with human values seems like, well, brainwashing.

  26. Old Grump
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    “to call ordinary folks brainwashed is a bit much.”

    To be fair, perhaps no members of his family have been reduced to being fearful, drooling Fox-bots. But outside of the tech-Valhalla, it is a not uncommon occurrence.

  27. Keith Agdanowski
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Mark, I am sure you put in your time campaigning and getting out the vote (we missed you at the Bill Farmer event in Ypsi), but you are living in aother era. The 90s and the recession saw massive layoffs and plant closing. Union labor went with them and so did union influence. To infer unions have any say in Michigan is ridiculous. The loss of union influence weakens working class consiousness and policies that reflect it. For many reasons the people in western and northern Michigan hate Obama and “the liberal agenda.” No one cares about charter schools, because parents who attend them generally like them. So, when Lisa Brown makes incorrect comments on education folks who can’t send their children to progressive private schools, but have good charter school options, that are much better then the crummy public school option, they get scared. I’ve spent much of this year canvassing a Michigan that is not the Michigan I knew growing up. Samll towns are falling apart (in Athens the police function is and soon schools will be funded by the Potawanami Tribe because they are swimming in casino profits and are driven by a belief that you help your neighbors out when they need help the state is nowhere), gut wrenching poverty is everywhere and people feel lost, confused, isolated and angry. The way out is to organize around a working class consiousness. Michiganders need fucking food and heat for their children not politicans pandering middle class bull shit. (the hallow eyes of children staring at me from rusting trailers will forever press on my soul) This can be lead by what is left of organized labor and an attempt to move local Democratic (the political party) organizations into the treches or rebuilding support based on working class issues. If we don’t act our state will only fall deeper into poverty and ignorance.

  28. Oliva
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    I wish Canada could annex a bit of this state with us in it. I also wish CBC TV were still widely available to people in southeastern Michigan, helped us be smarter and less brainwashed. (As for the revelations about Jian Ghomeshi, formerly of CBC Radio, well, it’s just so disappointing . . . but off-topic.)

    But more practically–and re. the prospect of forcing fairer congressional boundaries– FairVote.org had this to say a year ago re. California’s Independent Redistricting Commission: “the California case is illustrative of both the benefits and limitations of independent redistricting commissions. California’s citizens have taken away from the politicians the power to choose their voters, and that was reflected in the high incumbent turnover in 2012. But no matter who is drawing the lines, the polarization of the American electorate makes achieving competitive single-member districts effectively impossible on a large scale.” http://www.fairvote.org/research-and-analysis/blog/did-the-california-citizens-redistricting-commission-really-create-more-competitive-districts/

    Until Canada annexes us, what do we do?

    Oh, one uplifting thing you can do while you’re thinking and devising workable plans . . . two-ingredient cookies really do help to lift one’s spirits. Two ripe, brown-spotted bananas and a cup of quick cooking oats (or more but roughly in that ratio). Mash the bananas, then add the oatmeal and mix. We added cinnamon, mini chocolate chips, and some milled flax seed for a little hidden nutrition (but it changes the chemistry, so we used only a little). Bake at 350 degrees for 12 mins. (Lightly coated pan with coconut oil first.) Voila. A tiny, tasty pick-me-up. Surely must be good for the heart . . .

  29. Posted November 6, 2014 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    I have been thinking on this. Until recently, I worked in a rural county and with very rural people, almost all of whom presented as Republicans/conservatives. By no means am I painting all low income Repubs with the same brush…I am going with own experiences.

    We say “OMG they are going to take away a woman’s right to choose”. They’ve already lost their right to choose, either because their religion “forbids” abortion (but, interestingly, must be alright with out of wedlock sex), lack of resources (money, travel) or because lack of knowledge. We say “OMG they’re going to take away our weekends and sick time!” They already don’t have weekends or sick time. We say “But we will get you better jobs!” and they say, “We don’t think that’s the government’s job so butt out.” We say “OMG no more retirement or pensions or unions!” and they don’t have those to begin with. We say “OMG climate change!” and they say “doesn’t exist” so we say “But scientists say…” but they don’t believe in science because they don’t understand it or have somehow been taught to distrust knowledge.

    They think (via Fox News or hate radio or just through family stories) that jobs would pay better if not for unions/government regulations/affirmative action.
    Democrats are associated with welfare which is associated with non-whites (in their minds) and as some politician said, “convince the lowest white man he is still better than the highest non-white and he will vote Republican.”

    They already have no money, and so the idea of paying more taxes for future schooling or roads does not sound awesome. I read a great book that talked about people in poverty live in the “now”. I win $80,000 in a settlement? I pay off some debts, bank some. People in poverty buy nice cars for their families…why pay for a future that may never come? Ergo, why pay taxes for roads or schools I may never use?

    Also feeding into this is the “I got mines, now you get yours” and “I don’t have X, but she has X…I don’t have it so neither should she” mentalities. I don’t know where these come from…hate radio? Fox News? Or the simple human envy problem. For example, I think I am a good writer and have written a YA book. The Hunger Games chick pisses me off because I think her books suck and she ripped off “Battle Royale” to boot. So I’m all SCREW YOU HUNGER GAMES CHICK YOU SUCK I HATE YOU. I should be thinking, “That chick got published, how can I?” but instead I am all, “I’m not rich from YA books so neither should she!” Stupid of me. I know this. How do we change all of this?

    Another question I have…is the old school phone call and door-to-door thing still working? I have some friends who worked their asses off doing door-to-door and GOTV stuff and they deserved better than this bullshit election. But I was wondering, is it worth it for statewide candidates? I mean, I get why a local candidate will come and talk to me but does it work to talk to people about Schauer? (Maybe it does, I really don’t know). And do the robo calls work? My job has turned into about 30% teaching, 70% data and so I am sort of focused on data these days (against my will). Where do people get their news from and how can Democrats reach them with pithy little sound bites and preferably with a cute candidate who can riff of funny quips and of course, one with whom you can have a beer because that’s what’s really important when voting.

    Okay, lunch is over, back to collecting data!

  30. Posted November 6, 2014 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Voting machine was broken at my station. Knowing my neighbors, maybe a net loss for Snyder. I have not amassed enough vitriol to get in a 200 person line to register a vote that won’t matter, for reasons related to Sr. Elliot’s comments. What do?

  31. Posted November 6, 2014 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Elliott. Not Elliot. Sorry, my good sir. I rashly misspoke.

  32. Lynne
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    TeacherPatti, you do have similar insights into this as I do. It is a shame though. If the GOP can convince these folks that unions and labor laws harm them, I wonder how we can convince them of the opposite. I know that as a young voter, I fell into that trap a bit.

    I worked for a private non-profit which provided services to the mentally ill which were previously provided by the state directly with unionized workers. At the time, I was against unions because I felt excluded by them. I had no chance to get a union job and was grateful to have the low paying job I had. What I didn’t realize at the time was that if it were not for this union busting activity on the part of the state (Thanks Engler), my job would have been a state union job that paid better. It was only later when I was studying Economics that I got some sort of understanding of how labor markets work and how unions and strong labor laws affect those markets.

    However, it isn’t realistic to expect the average person to know that much about how markets work (although goodness knows, a lot of people *think* they know about economics when they don’t. Just talk to a libertarian and it becomes obvious).

    So how can we sway such people? Must we stoop to Fox News fear mongering because I think with the right charismatic TV personalities, it could be done. MSNBC tries sometimes but they aren’t scary enough, imho for the very reasons you say. People who don’t have health care or benefits or paid time off etc are not at all worried about losing such things. In fact, they adopt an attitude of if I can’t have it, no one should have it. They really do not understand that by bringing other people down, they make it so they can never get a leg up but it is also true that because we have much less socio-economic diversity than people like to admit, it is very possible that even with very liberal pro-union policies, such people would not be able to advance anyways.

    Would it be worth lying to people? To exaggerate things like the effects of climate change? To start skewing the news to show white people suffering from the effects of policies instead of poor black people. Dems are already accused to appealing more to emotion than reason, which isn’t true and is highly ironic coming from Fox News which pretty much does whatever they can to use the emotion of fear to scare people into voting for right wing candidates. So why not? Maybe we just have to accept that things like logical fallacies work with most people as does making up facts. Maybe in order to win, we have to run even more ads containing such bad (but ultimately effective) arguments?

  33. anonymous
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Fear, stupidity and the fanciful notion that without “big government” you’d be better off is what feeds this insanity. And it happened by design. We are being dumbed down and manipulated by a global corporatist oligarchy.

  34. Lon Johnson by Proxy
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Together, we’ve worked hard to strengthen our party. Click here to see just a few of the results.


  35. JXNAnarchist
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    It’s not just Michigan, Mark (and everyone), this is a national trend! I really feel that racial and class sentiments, pooled with poor education and a love of patriotism, has led to this outcome. Some of us more liberal people feel differently about subjects, but we’re often ridiculed by the loudest voice in the room.

    One of the biggest problems I see with people who align themselves with the left is a sever lack of direct action and organizing. This used to be different, but those exciting times seem to be behind us. I only hope that, as more powers and efficacy are striped away, that people take notice.

  36. Marcia
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    I want to let go of the rage I have right now .. Because my children’s school is slated to close because somehow the people in my community and those who represent me in Lansing saw fit to have 5 for fucking profit schools in my community. Because Adam smiths invisible hand will fix everything. I’ve got to let the anger go because it’s too much too carry, but I won’t give in to apathy

  37. Mr. Y
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    It won’t stop until the first Koch brother is pulled from his limo and devoured on the streets on New York.

  38. Meta
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    And now it begins…..

    “Appeals court upholds Michigan’s gay marriage ban”


  39. kjc
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    Should be left to the voters huh. I don’t recall voting for straight people’s right to be married. Was that back when we voted for white people to be free?

  40. Posted November 6, 2014 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    Great blog. I, too, am mortified at who the people are that kept Snyder and that anti-marijuana Attorney General in office. I must not know any of them. Washtenaw county’s vote was very democratic, so it is the people of other counties that caused this continued chaotic confusion. yikes.

  41. Posted November 6, 2014 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    Lynne, I wish I had answers :( It is so discouraging and I feel helpless.

  42. Catherine Daligga
    Posted November 6, 2014 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    There was a lot of ticket-splitting: Peters got a lot more votes than Snyder or Schauer. In fact, if Peters had run for gov and Schauer for Senate, they both would have won. My own read on this is that Snyder is getting a free pass for what he’s done in his first term; clearly those who voted thought he was at least adequate. And, to be a bit inflammatory, I think there are likely MANY people among that group who think it’s about damn time that he took the situation in hand in Detroit and set things straight–regardless of the facts or the history of the situation.

  43. Posted November 7, 2014 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    @JC: Do you not agree that those 3 alleged top Democratic donors who left for Canada might have done any collective good with their amassed wealth?

    Money should not have a place in politics (nor should religion – worst when all three combine), and campaign finance reform is desperately needed. But as @Al points out, you don’t show up to a gunfight with a knife, and even Detroiters didn’t vote for a devil they didn’t know (they increased their support for Snyder, actually). Did the lack of *compelling* Democratic candidates simply fail to bring out the vote?

    The polls favored Democrats:


    Yet they didn’t show up – primarily those under 45:


    IMO, we should all be made to participate in democracy, just as we are taxed to support it. People, not politicians, should be holding parties on a federal holiday for Election Day. Australians discuss politics openly and help prepare each other as if everyone’s cramming before a pop quiz (which they often are!). Americans seem to keep their choices secret (as if it’s a sexual preference), or else just rant, like radios blaring at each other (yay sports culture).

    I would gladly support an Election Day holiday, even if only privately, for our company. We have an open vacation policy and flexible work schedule anyway, but maybe there’s a nonpartisan movement possible of progressive organizations that would do the same? It’s sad to think of voting time as a corporate benefit, but many are practically unprepared or unable to otherwise without some support.

  44. Thom Elliott
    Posted November 7, 2014 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    “…and people are smarter than you might think.” It is true, my estimation of people’s ability to systematically think with subtlety about complex philosophical issues when they haven’t read a book since the last day of highschool is very, very low. I think of a-literate people as basically walking around with enough information to eat, fornicate, watch sports/right-wing false-religious propaganda, work their menial jobs, neglect their children’s intellectual needs, and sleep. How you could think people whose context for life is fastfood and Fox News could actually think clearly through a dialectical/structural problem is totally mysterious to me. jcp2, I ask you, if cynical plutocrats manipulate the only information inputs/context postmodern aliterate Americans tune into, how are they supposed to make ‘good’ choices about polity? How could they but do what they did in the most recent election? They voted in droves against themselves, and the Other, in favor of heartlessly cruel ‘rule by wealth’, just like their reading habits would suggest they do.

  45. Posted November 7, 2014 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    I blame Mark.

  46. JC
    Posted November 7, 2014 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    I wondered if my queries would be dodged/left unanswered. I’ll duck out now, and look forward to carrying on the conversation with Dug in person. Before I do, though, I’ll formulate a response to the question he posed for me this morning:

    “Do you not agree that those 3 alleged top Democratic donors who left for Canada might have done any collective good with their amassed wealth?”

    If you read back over my originals comments, I think you’ll find that what I was getting at is that the gathering and “growing” of wealth is an ill; and that to deploy that wealth toward public influence (of whatever sort) is a crime. As such, I conceive of a “Democratic donor” as being as much of a parasite on the common good as a “Republican donor.” In fact, one could (should) argue that the Democratic party has its own Kochs: GoldmanSachs—each equally as destructive as the other, but the latter with more of an elegance to its cunning (related, perhaps, to a wealthy person who quotes Op Ivy).

    I do really value, and am enlightened by, kjc’s and Oliva’s contributions here.

  47. Thom Elliott
    Posted November 7, 2014 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    “…the gathering and “growing” of wealth is an ill; and that to deploy that wealth toward public influence (of whatever sort) is a crime. As such, I conceive of a “Democratic donor” as being as much of a parasite on the common good as a “Republican donor.” In fact, one could (should) argue that the Democratic party has its own Kochs: GoldmanSachs—each equally as destructive as the other…” I am just stunned by the sheer depth of incomprehensiblity of the rhetoric employed here. What could this nonsense possibly mean? Within plutocratic capitalism, to amasse wealth and use it to influence our society is a banal norm, it is the structure of plutocratic government itself. Unless you’re a Marxist-Maoist-Leninist seeking the total annihilation of global capitalism and it’s paltry false-democracy, then this critique is just ‘cloud-cuckoo-land’.

  48. Frosted Flakes
    Posted November 7, 2014 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    Critiques from beautiful souls seems to be part of the problem.

  49. Posted November 8, 2014 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    It’s probably a better conversation to have in a different thread, but I wanted to weigh in on the subject of “amassing wealth.” Personally, I’m OK with it, given the system that it takes place is fair, open and transparent. Furthermore, I don’t think that it should be legal for wealth to move from generation to generation on a large scale. I don’t like the idea of dynasties. I think they’re cancer for democracy. With all of that said, though, I don’t think wealth in and of itself, if it’s acquired honestly, is a bad thing. In fact, I think that a lot of good can be done with wealth. Should it be used to purchase attack ads, and push personal agendas? No. But I don’t have any problem with people working hard and donating to non-political causes close to their hearts.

    What I despise, however, is wealth accumulation in a system that is clearly unfair, in which the poor are not given access to education and resources, wile the sons and daughters of privilege have every opportunity to amass fortunes. Back room deals, ivy league secret societies, and the like, in my opinion, have no place in America.

    So, yeah, I don’t have a problem with wealth in theory. When you look at things at a global level, everyone reading this blog in America is wealthy, at least comparatively speaking. What I have a problem with is the system by which wealth is amassed unfairly and used to further political agendas. And I believe that the two issues can, and should, be separated.

  50. Demetrius
    Posted November 8, 2014 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Regarding the idea of being “disappointed” that more people didn’t turn out to vote this past Tuesday, I guess I would say this:

    For nearly 35 years, I’ve made more phone calls, knocked on more doors, and written more checks to support progressive candidates and causes than I care to remember. I pay careful attention to local, state, and national politics … and I always vote.

    Even so, even *I* found it hard to find any motivation to get involved this time around.

    With each passing election, I feel the process matters less and less. … It seems that, no matter whom we vote for, the rich and the corporations continue to get richer and more powerful; the country (and its citizens) become ever-more reactionary in their thinking and conduct; political family dynasties triumph over new candidates with fresh ideas; substantial issues that truly matter (the environment? education? jobs? infrastructure? civil/human rights?) are ignored in favor of trumped-up “scandals” and malicious accusations … and the whole political process becomes more and more to resemble an expensive reality-TV series — complete with a scripted (and corporate advertiser-sponsored) outcome.

    To be clear, I’m not giving up on the idea that our state, country, and society can be changed … in fact, I think our future survival depends on it … it’s just that I’m beginning to feel that the only way it CAN happen is outside the existing (two-party) political “system.”

  51. Chucks
    Posted November 9, 2014 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    I found it interesting that in the deluge of election-related flyers that hit my mailbox this year, I got *3* that discussed my previous voting record and exhorted me to vote this time.

    Dirty (non)secret is, I neglected to vote in the 2010 election. (I swear, that was the only time!!)

    So the first card had a chastizing tone and listed a bunch of nearby residents who have a better voting record than I do. The second card was neutral, just stating I had not voted in 2010, but had in 2012, so better make a good plan for 2014 dammit. The third one was a congratulatory “voter report card,” saying my voting record was excellent compared to my neighbors, and keep up the good work.

    Is this some psychological principle they’re trying to exploit? Bad cop/good cop? I’m not sure about the first card, but the other two came from the League of Conservation Voters, which looks to be an environmentally focused non-profit. Did anyone else get these? I can’t speak to how effective the campaign was, because I was already planning to vote before they started showing up. I therefore found them kind of pesky and annoying. I guess I deserve it for missing that initial Snyder election, though.

  52. Oliva
    Posted November 10, 2014 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    Chucks, I’m not sure about the effectiveness of this strategy either, but it was being done all over. I first heard about it on WNYC, on “The Brian Lehrer Show,” in which they mentioned how much it costs to buy this information (not too expensive) and that some researchers had found it was an effective way to get more people to vote. Shaming? I guess so. But the rationale they gave was that we’re social creatures and want to compare favorably to those around us. I can imagine it backfiring though . . . But how to get people to care more and go vote?

  53. Mr. X
    Posted November 10, 2014 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Watch this and the election will all begin to make sense to you.


  54. Posted November 13, 2014 at 1:23 am | Permalink

    Gah, gerrymandering!


  55. Posted November 13, 2014 at 3:52 am | Permalink

    @Chucks – yes, check out “Influence, the Power of Persuasion” by Robert Cialdini (who went on to use similar ideas in building OPower). Dunno how I feel about “gamefying” voter participation, but I also proudly wear the sticker to work just like everybody else.

    @Keith, @Demetrius – Robert Reich has been calling for the Democratic party to grow a spine for a while; his post this week hammers out what should have been the compelling platform point by point, but is anyone listening? http://robertreich.org/post/1023144084

    @Mark: Thanks, I was really starting to feel guilty about donating to the AATA’s More Buses campaign. The Better Transit Now folks were suspected of taking money from the Koch Brothers Americans for Prosperity, as the anti-transit lobby in Nashville had. Friends don’t let friends be Goldman Sachs!

    @JC: If you’re game, let’s go to Rich JC (ha! :-) where we can fork over our amassed filthy lucre in exchange for Korean food powered by Christ: http://yelp.com/biz/rich-j-c-korean-restaurant-ann-arbor-2

    They have the only jjolmyeon in the area, served over a Korean Christian rock soundtrack – which I guess I should have grown up on instead of rap or punk? Sorry I don’t fit so neatly in your worldview. Good luck figuring that out!

  56. EOS
    Posted November 13, 2014 at 4:47 am | Permalink

    I’m disappointed in Michiganders as well. The rest of the country got Republican Senators.

  57. Maria Huffman
    Posted December 9, 2016 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    I think it is a constellation of issues that has brought Michigan to where it is…unfortunately.
    There is a shift towards the right politically..in a time where we have an aging population. Coincidence?perhaps not.

  58. Maria Huffman
    Posted December 9, 2016 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    should Clinton have won? she is up by 2+ milllion votes…
    that she did not…and i have little hope the Electoral College will not ultimate.y vote for her, show what?
    That Democrats votes are worth less, power wise, than Republicans. It was amazing that Barack Obama , in retrospect.

  59. Maria Huffman
    Posted December 9, 2016 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    so Trump it is, or will be.

  60. Maria Huffman
    Posted December 9, 2016 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    When is any one ever discuss with Jeanice
    Swift why you cant keep taking kids out Of classrooms for behaviorS? I saw theAnn Arbor School post about mindfulness…when is someone finally going to esxplain escape behavIor to her?

  61. Maria Huffman
    Posted December 9, 2016 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    you think anyone will ever explain it to her?
    I think she really is uncomfortable around ASD people, especially children.
    so are the board members, except Deb Mexicotte.

  62. Anonymous
    Posted February 6, 2017 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    If you’re looking for another reason to be disappointed by Michiganders.

    GOP leader apologizes for tweeting: ‘Time for another Kent State’

    Marquette County Republican leader says he was trying to prevent violence, not promote it


5 Trackbacks

  1. By Appropriating the sitcom format on November 6, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    […] « I am disappointed in you, my fellow Michiganders […]

  2. […] there is hope. And we can’t afford to think otherwise. That, I’m convinced, is what kept people from the polls earlier this month, and we cannot allow it to continue. People feel hopeless. No matter what we do, it just […]

  3. By Snyder Watch 2016: Dinner at Old Town on January 29, 2016 at 8:12 am

    […] downtown, I’m sure it seemed like a good idea. Even though he’d done things in office that people didn’t like, folks still, for the most part, were happy to see him, and treated him with respect. That, […]

  4. […] was likely very different, but one does wonder what might have happened had Snyder chosen not to prioritize tax breaks for the wealthy over schools, retirees, and Michigan’s working men an…, and instead follow a course like Dayton. What would Michigan be like today if he had, I wonder. […]

  5. […] stay on the books… assuming, of course, they now pass the Senate, and get signed into law by our “tough nerd” of a Governor. Given what we’ve seen thus far this lame duck session, though, I have little doubt that this […]

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