Now, with just 19 days before the election, is not the time for Democrats to start talking about corporate tax cuts

It’s being that Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, in an interview yesterday with CNBC’s John Harwood, said that one of his top two priorities next year, if he and the Democrats take back control of the Senate, would be to push for a tremendous corporate tax cut. The following comes by way of The Intercept.

Speaking of himself in the third person, Schumer said that “we’ve got to get things done… The two things that come, that pop to mind — because Schumer, Clinton, and Ryan have all said they support these — are immigration and some kind of international tax reform tied to a large infrastructure program.”

American multinational corporations are now holding a staggering $2.5 trillion in profits overseas, refusing to bring the money back at the current tax rates until they get a special deal.

Revenue-starved Democratic leaders have broadly hinted they are prepared to cave, either for a “holiday” period or permanently.

In an exchange with CNBC’s John Harwood, Schumer confirmed that the latter is in fact in the works. When Harwood asked Schumer if “it would be a permanent lower rate, not a holiday rate,” Schumer replied, “Yes, you can’t do a one-shot deal.”

While the idea makes sense on one hand, as it would perhaps give us the revenue we need to fund an infrastructure bank, allowing us to finally address our nation’s crumbling highways, bridges and tunnels, putting American’s back to work in the process, it would, on the other hand, be a – to use the words of Senator Elizabeth Warren – “a giant wet kiss for the tax dodgers” who have taken advantage of loopholes for the past several decades to hide their profits oversees.

I suppose I should withhold judgment, as it might well be the case that President Clinton and the Democrats could negotiate an awesome deal for the American people to bring corporate profits back to our country, where they could fund projects that would lay the foundation for future American growth. I can’t help but think, however, that, we the Democrats win in November, especially if they win in a landslide, as some are suggesting, that there might be an opportunity to do something more ambitious than pass a corporate tax give-away. I mean, if Clinton comes to office with a mandate, and if we retake the Senate, do we really want our first order of business to be a tax cut? Again, I get the up-side, and I understand that it would be great if Clinton could get an immediate “win” that could bring conservatives to the table, but I don’t know that this is the kind of thing that you and I had in mind when we sent checks to her campaign. And that’s what concerns me. I’m afraid that talk like this will keep progressives from the polls on November 8, and we can’t afford to see that happen. So, yeah, I’m pissed at Schemer for bringing this up right now. Even if it just makes a small fraction of voters from coming out on election day, it could have a huge impact.

I should also mention that there’s some question, given the history of such initiatives in the United States, as to whether this plan of Schumer’s would even work. The following comes from former Labor Secretary Robert Reich.

A good idea? Congress’s last tax amnesty, in 2004, was a flop. Executives of large global U.S. corporations had argued that the amnesty would allow them to reinvest their overseas earnings in America. But a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that 92 percent of the repatriated cash was used for dividends, share buybacks, and executive bonuses. “Repatriations did not lead to an increase in domestic investment, employment or R.&D., even for the firms that lobbied for the tax holiday stating these intentions,” the study concluded.

Again, I’m hesitant to pass judgement at this point, as it could make sense, depending how how well we negotiate with these firms, but, on the face of it, something seems wrong about offering an enormous corporate tax break, which could come the American people tens of trillions of dollars over the next several decades, in order to repatriate $2.5 trillion that should have never left the country in the first place. What’s more important, though, I think, is the impression this gives to voters as we’re now just 19 days away from the election. I don’t mind having this debate. I just don’t want it now. I’m of the same opinion as Bernie Sanders on this. Job number one has to be to get Hillary Clinton into office. On November 9, though, we need to change focus and go at her from the left, keeping the pressure on her to serve as President for all the American people, and not just the corporate elite.

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As if we needed yet another reason to vote the Republican Party out of existence, John McCain says he intends to continue blocking the appointment of a ninth Supreme Court justice if Clinton wins

John McCain came out today and said that, despite his past statements, he has no intention, if Hillary Clinton is elected president, of considering the man or woman she selects to fill the seat on the Supreme Court left vacant after the February 2016 death of Antonin Scalia, continuing what has to be one of the most shameful chapters in U.S. Senate history.

Following, by way of my Facebook friend Timothy Drouhard, are three quotes from McCain which illustrate his progressively downward evolution on the subject. [I’ve added links to the source material, for those of you who might be interested.]

7/21/05: “So, if you have got a complaint — I’m talking about the left and the far left — then win the next presidential election, and then your guy can appoint Ruth Bader Ginsburg — or your woman— your man or woman — excuse me — can appoint Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Breyer and others that are to the left. That’s — that’s the way the system works.” [source]

2/15/16: “I believe that we should wait until after the next election and let the American people pick the next president, and we should consider who the next president of the United States nominates.” [source]

10/17/16: “I promise you that we will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up.” [source]

So, just so we’re clear, the 11 months Senate Republicans, in violation of their constitutional duty, have neglected to consider Obama’s appointee to the Supreme Court, Merrick Garland, apparently wasn’t good enough. Now McCain is promising, without even knowing who Clinton might select to fill the vacant seat, that he has no intention of ever fulfilling his obligation as outlined in Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution, which states that the President “shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law.” No, he has made it clear that he, and his fellow Republicans, having learned nothing over the past eight years, will continue their unprecedented obstructionism, putting their own desperate need to retain some semblance of control over the health of our democracy.

Thankfully, as of right now, according to, Democrats have a 73.8% chance of retaking the Senate. So, if all goes well, we won’t need McCain and his fellow Republicans to provide their advice and consent.

As for why McCain chose to make this announcement today, some think it’s a desperate appeal to his base, now that the Democrats are starting to invest more heavily in Arizona, where Hillary is projected to win. As of right now, McCain is polling at 53%, but the momentum seems to be with his challenger, Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick, who has climbed to 43% in the polls. So this may very well be a desperation play on the part of McCain.

[If you’d like to donate to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee you can do so here. Or, better yet, why not send John McCain a message by investing a few dollars in the campaign of Ann Kilpatrick?]

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So, what happens on November 9?

During this past weekend’s episode of the Saturday Six Pack, I talked at some length with Scott Hagerstrom, the Michigan director of the Trump Pence 2016 campaign, about both the possibility of polling place discord on November 8th, as a result of Trump supporters attempting to suppress the vote in “certain areas”, and the likelihood that Trump’s followers, having been told repeatedly by their candidate that the election is “rigged”, may not accept a Clinton win. Hagerstrom dismissed my concern, stating that, over the past 200 years, we’ve never had an issue in this country with the “peaceful transition of power,” and there was no reason to fear that wouldn’t be the case this time as well. In response, I shared the following excerpt with him from the Boston Globe’s coverage of a Trump rally this past Thursday in Cincinnati, where, by the way, the accompanying photos were taken.

…At a time when trust in government is at a low point, Trump is actively stoking fears that a core tenet of American democracy is also in peril: that you can trust what happens at the ballot box.

His supporters here said they plan to go to their local precincts to look for illegal immigrants who may attempt to vote. They are worried that Democrats will load up buses of minorities and take them to vote several times in different areas of the city. They’ve heard rumors that boxes of Clinton votes are already waiting somewhere.

And if Trump doesn’t win, some are even openly talking about violent rebellion and assassination, as fantastical and unhinged as that may seem.

“If she’s in office, I hope we can start a coup. She should be in prison or shot. That’s how I feel about it,” Dan Bowman, a 50-year-old contractor, said of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee. “We’re going to have a revolution and take them out of office if that’s what it takes. There’s going to be a lot of bloodshed. But that’s what it’s going to take… I would do whatever I can for my country”…

[Video of the entire Cincinnati rally, for those of you who appreciate context, can be found here.]

cusbwvpvmaadoqyYou could argue, of course, that these people interviewed by the Boston Globe, and others in the media, aren’t representative of Trump supporters. You could say, as my guest did on the radio Saturday night, that it’s highly unlikely that any Trump supporters, despite what you might read in “attack” pieces like the one referenced above, would actually take up arms against the administration of President Clinton, should she win the race. And let’s say that’s true. Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that Dan Bowman was just “blowing off some steam” when he said that Hillary Clinton, if she wins, should be shot. And let’s say the Governor of Kentucky, Matt Bevin, was just kidding around earlier this summer when he told his fellow conservatives at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. that blood might have to be shed if we’re to prevent Hillary Clinton from snuffing out the “candle” of liberty. And let’s also say that every single one of the 21,000 people who attended this recent rally in Cincinnati knew, when Trump said that the election was going to be “fixed” on behalf of his opponent, that it was nothing more than a dramatic flourish from the reality television personality well known for his use of hyperbole. Let’s say that every single person in attendance that night knew better than to take him at his word when he said that his “crooked” opponent, who he also, by the way, said should be “in jail,” is stealing the election so that she can put into motion her “plot (to destroy) U.S. sovereignty.” Let’s just assume, despite all of the evidence to the contrary, that everything is going to be just fine, and all of these people chanting “hang the bitch” just reenter society on November 9, as though nothing had ever happened. It would take us a while to get over it as a society, but, I imagine, in time, we could work through the issues and heal the damage to some extent.

Imagine, however, if just one in a thousand Trump supporters actually believed the toxic nonsense being fed to them. What if, on November 9, when it’s officially announced that Hillary Clinton will be the 45th President of the United States, .1% really think that Hillary had stolen the presidency in order to open our borders to Mexican rapists and set in motion a plan to “destroy” the United States?

In this election, according to the substantial polling data aggregated by, 42.7% of those casting a ballot will likely vote for Trump. Based on voter turnout numbers in the 2012 election, where 129.1 million Americans voted, that would mean that roughly 55,125,750 will be casting their votes for Trump. If we assume that just one in a thousand believes the conspiracy theories being put forward by the campaign, that would mean there are approximately 55,125 people out there who really, genuinely believe that this election is being stolen, and our country is being hijacked. And, for what it’s worth, I think, given recent polling, that’s an extremely conservative number. A month or so, for instance, a poll was conducted by Public Policy Polling (PPP), which showed that “69% of Trump voters think that if Hillary Clinton wins the election it will be because it was rigged, to only 16% who think it would be because she got more votes than Trump.” The PPP report went on to state, “More specifically 40% of Trump voters think that ACORN (which hasn’t existed in years) will steal the election for Clinton.” This, they concluded, demonstrated “the long staying power of GOP conspiracy theories.”

Sure, these beliefs, even if they’re widely held, may not directly lead to armed rebellion or an assassination attempt, but how can we be expected to function as a nation when we’ve got this fundamental distrust of American institutions eating away at the very foundation of our civil society? And is it really too much to ask that our candidates for the office of president not engage in such talk, encouraging the spread of conspiracy theories, making offhand comments about imprisoning their rivals, completely disregarding the facts, and playing upon the unfounded fears of voters? When asked about this, my guest on Saturday’s show essentially said that we should just get used to it. This, he implied, is our new normal. Citing television shows like Married with Children, he made the argument that we now live in a coarser world, where people are less restrained when it comes to expressing their views in what might once have been considered objectionable ways. Hagerstrom then went on to say that Trump, when you look at him objectively, is really no different from Reagan, who was also talking without a filter during his era, pushing the boundaries of acceptability. Trump, he seemed to be suggesting, was essentially carrying the same pro-freedom, small government message, but tailored to the electorate of today, with their considerably shorter attention spans and heightened appreciation for bombast and showmanship… This, Hagerstrom said, is our future, like it or not.

trumpdirtyIt may be too late to make a difference, but some who are responsible for the rise of Trump, are beginning to pull back. As we discussed a few days ago, many elected Republicans took the opportunity last week, when audio of Trump admitting to sexual assault surfaced, to distance themselves from the candidate and retract their endorsements. More importantly, though, it would appear as though members of the press, sensing the clear and present danger posed by Trump, have decided to lock arms and take him on en masse, hoping to derail this runaway hate train of a campaign that they’re in large part responsible for having set in motion. [It’s estimated that the media has given Trump approximately $2 billion in free coverage.]

Sure, he was great for business for a while, as his increasingly provocative quotes sold papers, and drew tremendous ratings, but it would appear as though, with the election just about three weeks away now, there’s been a real, concerted effort on the part of just about everyone in the media to ensure that he doesn’t take the White House… If I had to guess, I’d say that it’s probably his tacit approval of Putin’s assassination of journalists that may have been the final straw, but maybe it was his threat to change libel laws if he becomes president, so that he can sue those who oppose him into bankruptcy. Regardless, the ranks are closing around him, and he’s beginning to feel the pressure.

The question is, will it be too little, too late? And, perhaps just as importantly, will the media backlash that we’re seeing right now just reinforce Trump’s message to his followers that there is a “rigged” system working against them? In past years, I think it might have actually hurt a candidate if, like Trump, they didn’t get a single major newspaper endorsement. Now, though, at least with Trump, I think it’s more a badge of honor — definitive proof that Hillary and the Jewish media are working against him and the “real” Americans who comprise his base.

For what it’s worth, Obama also feels as though the media is deserving of much of the blame for what we’re seeing play out right now. On Thursday, as Trump was addressing the crowd in Cincinnati, the President was calling for a return to fact-based news coverage in Pennsylvania… The following comes from Yahoo News.

President Barack Obama on Thursday decried America’s “wild, wild west” media environment for allowing conspiracy theorists a broad platform and destroying a common basis for debate.

Recalling past days when three television channels delivered fact-based news that most people trusted, Obama said democracy require citizens to be able to sift through lies and distortions.

“We are going to have to rebuild within this wild-wild-west-of-information flow some sort of curating function that people agree to,” Obama said at an innovation conference in Pittsburgh.

“There has to be, I think, some sort of way in which we can sort through information that passes some basic truthiness tests and those that we have to discard, because they just don’t have any basis in anything that’s actually happening in the world,” Obama added…

So, let’s add that to the list of things we need to do come November 9, once we put down the armed revolt, and hold our Republican legislators accountable for having allowed Trump to rise to power, OK? Let’s start teaching media literacy in our schools, and let’s hold our journalists to a higher standard. If we don’t, you can be sure this exact same thing will happen again. Only, next time, we might not be able to dodge the bullet… No, it’ll likely be full-on Camacho time.

trumpcangrabIn retrospect, we should have seen this madness coming. The handwriting was on the wall back in 2008, when Republicans, having lost the White House to our nation’s first black president, decided to push the issue of race in order to undermine his effectiveness and put themselves in a position of political advantage. In their attempt to delegitimize the Obama presidency, by casting our newly elected Commander-in-Chief as “a non-American,” they did irreparable harm to the fabric that holds this nation together. By allowing the laughable speculation to continue that our President was, in fact, a Kenyan-born illegal alien, they planted a seed whose roots have continued to grow, pushing deeper into the American consciousness, and creating damage that will take decades, if not centuries, to undo. As it served their political ends, however, the leadership of the GOP went along with it. They turned a blind eye to the false “news” being broadcast by Fox News, and cheered as conservative billionaires, like the Koch brothers, began to undermine the democratic process through the use of front entities, like Americans for Prosperity and the Tea Party. If they didn’t outright say that Obama was a foreign agent who had taken over our country, they certainly didn’t go out of their way to squash those conspiracy theories when they arose. No, they kept right on with it until the monster they created eventually turned on them. The ones that weren’t far right enough were eventually voted out of office. And those who remain, like Paul Ryan, are just biding their time until they’re taken out by the “unshackled” beast they brought to life with the Tea Party, and its corporate agenda of tax cuts, deregulation and global warming denial marketed as “freedom.”

We are all to blame. Every one of us who sat back since the turn of the century, allowing those with power to dismantle our public schools, poison our water, thwart environmental protections, and move us toward a world where corporate money is considered free speech. No, this isn’t just on the “infotainment” media and the lying GOP. This is on all of us who just stopped engaging and retreated into our own lives, hoping for it to all pass as we “Netflixed and chilled.” This is what happens when you stop aggressively fighting back.

As for how all of this ends, I’m not sure. I fear the worst. I’m afraid that threats of violence may keep people from the polls on November 8. I’m afraid that we may not have heard the last of the Russian hackers who have shown again and again that they’ll do anything to deliver Donald Trump to the White House. I’m afraid that Trump may not concede if he loses. I’m afraid that, even if she wins the White House, that conservatives will continue to deny Democratic attempts to move forward with a new Supreme Court justice. And I’m afraid that, if the country remains as divided as it is, we may miss our opportunity to act on global climate change, hastening the end of our species. At the same time, however, I see reasons for optimism. While the GOP base has grown whiter, older and less educated, America is becoming more diverse. We’re no longer a country with a white, Christian majority, and, based on what we’re seeing playout at Trump rallies, I think that’s probably a good thing. As much as I love the religious, white conservatives in my life, I’ve come to accept that we’d probably all be better served if, from here on out, we’re led by people who are less in the mold of Pat Robertson, and more like Neil deGrasse Tyson… We’ve had enough white fear. Let’s give black science a shot.

As for what Trump will do next, I doubt, given his multiple Vietnam deferments, he’ll be out in front, leading any kind of revolution. I suspect, as other have suggested, he’ll likely go a different route, parlaying this newfound political fame of his into a media business of some kind. Given that the man running his campaign is Steve Bannon, who runs the white nationalist leaning Breitbart News, it makes sense. Trump has captured the imaginations of at least 30% of the American electorate, and he’s not about to just walk away from them if there’s an opportunity to make a buck. History has shown us that. And Bannon is just the guy to help him monetize Trump’s following. So, the same way we had the Trump multi-level vitamin company, Trump Steaks and Trump University, we’ll now have Trump News, constantly broadcasting half-truths and conspiracy theories in hopes of both boosting advertising revenue, while, at the same time, delegitimizing the Clinton White House.

GOP consultant Steve Schmidt, who worked on George W. Bush’s reelection campaign in 2004 and headed John McCain’s campaign in 2008, had the following to say about the future of the Republican Party, and I think it points to the niche post-election Trump will fill.

I think the Republican Party has an outstanding chance of fracturing,” Schmidt said in a recent interview. “There will be the alt-right party; then there will be a center-right conservative party that has an opportunity to reach out, repair damage, and rebuild the brand over time.”

And Donald Trump will become the de facto leader of that Alt Right “Make America Great Again” party, stepping in where Storefront left off, and taking the movement further into the mainstream.

As long as we’re quoting Schmidt, did you happen to see him on Meet the Press last week? If not, here’s what he said.

When we look at where this race is today, the Presidential race is effectively over. Hillary Rodham Clinton will be the 45th President of the United States. Chuck Schumer will be the Majority Leader of the United States Senate… And the only question that’s still up in the air is how close the Democrats will come to retaking the House Majority. What this exposes, though, is much deeper and it goes to the Republican Party as an institution. This, this candidacy, the magnitude of its disgrace to the country is almost impossible, I think, to articulate. But it has exposed the intellectual rot in the Republican Party. It has exposed at a massive level the hypocrisy, the modern day money changers in the temple like Jerry Falwell Jr. And so, this party, to go forward and to represent a conservative vision for America, has great soul searching to do. And what we’ve seen and the danger for all of these candidates is over the course of the last year, these, these candidates who have repeatedly put their party ahead of their country, denying what is so obviously clear to anybody who’s watching about his complete and total manifest unfitness for this office…

The whole thing just leaves me feeling ill… I know it shouldn’t surprise me that someone like Trump would be willing to put his personal brand, and the potential to amass even more wealth, before the welfare of this country, but it does. FiveThirtyEight, as of right now, is showing Clinton with an 88.4% chance of winning, and yet Trump, unwilling to accept defeat, is suggesting to his followers that the only way Clinton could possibly beat him would be to cheat. According to the most recent polling data, she’s well ahead in Ohio, North Carolina and Florida. And states that weren’t thought to be in play a few weeks ago, like Georgia and Arizona, now are. As the RNC is cutting support to the Trump campaign, shifting money instead to down ticket races in hopes of retaining Congress, the Democrats are even starting to invest in Texas, thinking that they might have an outside shot at the established Republican stronghold. But, in spite of this, come the night of November 8, when the election results start rolling in, I’m sure we’ll hear from the Trump camp that it was rigged against them. Maybe it’s his inability to accept defeat that won’t allow him to just walk away. Maybe it’s that bluster that got him to where he is in life. How else could someone who has gone bankrupt six times still claim to have the most “tremendous” business mind of all time? It’s so incredibly ballsy, and so uniquely American. And, it would seem, there’s no incentive for him to stop, as the path to even greater financial reward is waiting once all of this is over.

Speaking of which, it’s no longer just a theory. It was reported this morning that Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner has begun the process of lining up funding to launch the Trump television network.

So, what does November 9 look like? If it’s any comfort, I doubt there will be armed uprisings. I suspect, however, that there will be several tense conversations between old high school friends and relatives, who truly feel as though Clinton rigged the election. And I think it’s up to us, assuming our candidate wins, to extend an olive branch. It might not be accepted. It might even be slapped away at first. But I think it’s incumbent on us to keep trying. That’s the only way we’re going to make it through this. I just don’t see how we can ever move forward the way things are now. We need one another. There needs to be something better. If you have thoughts on how we get there, I’d love to hear them… As for me, I’m working on an idea of my own right now. It’s not fully formed yet, but I’m thinking that we should start simple. Maybe it’s a series of non-partisan neighborhood parties, just to get people talking again. They could be simple. Just small tents set up with free food on November 9. Just something positive for a change. Something set up completely outside the political system. These, as I’m seeing them, wouldn’t “Clinton Gloating Stations.” There wouldn’t be political pamphlets. We wouldn’t be looking to change anyone’s minds. It would just be an opportunity to connect with one another as human beings. It would just be a place to say, “We just made it through one of the most grueling, divisive campaigns in American history, let’s just take a deep breath, enjoy a beautiful, sunny day, and share a box of cookies.”

And, here, with the final word, to remind us once again what we’re up against, is the most recent Twitter post from Donald Trump.


[note: This post was originally titled “The November 9 War.” I changed it, though, as I’m trying to stay optimistic for the sake of my kids.]

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Required Reading… “The white flight of Derek Black”

stormfront0101476316631There’s an incredible story in today’s Washington Post about Derek Black, the son of Don Black, the man behind the white nationalist website site Stormfront, and how he came to renounce the racist ideology he’d been raised to believe in. Given all of the terrible things we’ve seen taking place this election season, as Trump’s rhetoric has paved the way for the so-called Alt Right to bring their message of white nationalism to the mainstream, it’s good to be reminded that people have it within themselves to change, and that, in some instances, all it takes is for someone to take a chance and extend a hand in friendship. In the case of Derek Black, that offer of friendship would come from a fellow student at Florida’s New College by the name of Matthew Stevenson, who, having discovered that Black was an avowed white nationalist, decided not to confront him directly, but instead invite him to share a Shabbat meal. That one meal would lead to others, and, over time, the young man who had been seen as a rising leader in the white nationalist movement began to undergo a process of transformation, which would ultimately lead to a very public refutation of everything that he’d spent his life up until that point promoting. There’s much to like about the article, but I was most struck by the courage shown by Matthew Stevenson and the other members of his weekly Shabbat group, who made a conscious decision to welcome the godson of white supremacist David Duke into their homes, knowing that he was, at the time, still producing a radio program directed at young white supremacists. Here, to give you a sense as to what Stevenson was thinking, is a clip. [Stevenson (left) and Black (right) can be seen above playing Monopoly.]

…Matthew decided his best chance to affect Derek’s thinking was not to ignore him or confront him, but simply to include him. “Maybe he’d never spent time with a Jewish person before,” Matthew remembered thinking.

It was the only social invitation Derek had received since returning to campus, so he agreed to go. The Shabbat meals had sometimes included eight or 10 students, but this time only a few showed up. “Let’s try to treat him like anyone else,” Matthew remembered instructing them.

Derek arrived with a bottle of wine. Nobody mentioned white nationalism or the forum, out of respect for Matthew. Derek was quiet and polite, and he came back the next week and then the next, until after a few months, nobody felt all that threatened, and the Shabbat group grew back to its original size…

I know it’s not always practical to invite a white supremacist over to share a loaf of challah and play a game of Monopoly, but it’s good to think about the potential we all might have within us to change lives and help put this nation of ours on a better path forward.

One last thing… It’s probably also worth noting that Black feels bad for any part he may have played in paving the way for Donald Trump and the Alt Right. “It’s scary to know that I helped spread this stuff, and now it’s out there,” he’s quoted as saying in the piece.

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The Michigan director of the Trump 2016 campaign, the chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, and the Washtenaw Intermediate School District superintendent… on this weekend’s episode of the Saturday Six Pack


This is going to be a heavy weekend on the Saturday Six Pack, so I’m going to do something unprecedented. I’m going to introduce the beer of the week now, so that you can stock up in advance and drink along at home. [Given everything we’ll be talking about, from the twists and turns of the current presidential campaign, to the closing of our local schools, I think we’re all going to need it.] This Saturday’s beer will be Bell’s Two Hearted Ale. I know it’s not a terribly adventurous choice, but it’s a good, solid beer that isn’t likely to cause too many problems as we delve into some murky political waters together during this highly contentious election season.

Up first on this Saturday’s show will be Scott Hagerstrom, the Michigan director
of the Trump Pence 2016 campaign. While I image we’ll talk a great deal about Donald Trump’s positions on various subjects of interest to Michigan voters, ranging from tax policy to trade, I also suspect we’ll get into some of the bigger questions looming around the campaign, like what it means for the future of Republican party. [In related news, did you happen to see that Trump, having announced “the shackles have been taken off,” is once again going aggressively after Paul Ryan the GOP?] I don’t know Hagerstrom, and I’m not sure what to expect, as I’ve never talked with anyone from the Trump campaign, but I very much appreciate his taking the time to come on on the air with me, knowing that I’m a progressive, and I’m hopeful that we can have an open, honest discussion about Trump’s appeal to Michigan voters, the current challenges he’s facing, and his realistic chances of carrying the state. [They’ve been wrong before, but, as of right now, is saying that, based on current polling, Clinton has a 91.3% chance of winning Michgian’s 16 electoral votes.]

And, during our second segment, we’ll be talking with Brandon Dillon, the chair of the Michigan Democratic Party, who will be calling in from his office to discuss the work being done across the state on behalf of the Clinton Kaine 2016 campaign. And, as with our first guest, I imagine that we’ll not only be talking about Clinton’s policy positions on issues that matter to Michigan voters, but what, in his opinion, this election might mean for the future of our two party system. Also, if we have time, I’d like to discuss how things are looking in down ticket races, and whether or not there’s a possibility that the Democrats might make significant gains in the Michigan House and Senate.

My hope, when I first started pulling this show together, was to have Hagerstrom and Dillon both live in the studio, talking with me at the same time about their respective candidates. I think, however, it might actually be better this way, with one appearing after the other. I think I speak for a lot of us when I say, I’ve had enough of debates for a while. Now, with just a little over three weeks left before the election, I’m more interested in thoughtful introspection about the race, and larger trends that we’re seeing play out across the state and nation, than I am fighting over specific instances of ugliness and popular conspiracy theories. I don’t see many people are changing their minds at this point. I think we’re all far too entrenched at this point. So, as that’s the case, I’d rather just take an evening off and try to connect as human beings, like those French, German and British soldiers who laid down their weapons on Christmas day in 1914, climbed out of their trenches, and started playing football with one another. I know it may not work, but that’s my plan. And with that in mind, I want to ask Hagerstrom and Dillon, among other things, why they got involved in politics, what they’ve learned over the course of this campaign, and whether or not, come November 9, they think reconciliation is possible.

Then, during our third segment, we’ll be joined by Washtenaw Intermediate School District (WISD) Superintendent Scott Menzel about the current state of public education on the eastern side of the county. I recently heard Menzel give a very interesting speech about the disparity in opportunities afforded K-12 students on our two sides of the county, and I’d like to delve deeper into that with him on Saturday, discussing also what we might be able to do to increase equity, and perhaps push for changes in Lansing, where the current educational funding model, thanks to Proposition A, works against communities like ours.

And, lastly, if there’s any time left, I plan to just quietly stare out the AM 1700 studio window, drinking a beer. I know it won’t make for good radio, but my sense that Im going to need it after two hours talking about Donald Trump and the war against public education.


Unless you live inside the AM 1700 studio, chances are you won’t be able to pick the show up on your radio. As that’s the case, I’d recommend streaming the show online, which you can do either on the AM1700 website or by way of

And for those of you who aren’t yet familiar with the show, and need to get caught up, you can listen to the entire archive on iTunes.

Oh, and if you’d like to tell your friends and neighbors about this, our 50th anniversary broadcast, feel free to share the Facebook event listing.

And, here, thanks to AM 1700 senior graphic designer Kate de Fuccio, is this week’s poster, in case any of you want to print copies and leave them at one of the highway rest areas that you frequent.


And do call us if you have a chance. We love phone calls. So please copy down this number and slide it into your sock – 734.217.8624 – and call us between 6:00 and 8:00 this Saturday evening. The show, as you know if you listen, gets exponentially better with each phone call.

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