Michigan Policast for Monday, August 5, 2019In this episode:
- Segment one: America and guns
- Segment two: Democratic debates
- Segment three: Religious leaders denounce Trump’s racism
- Segment four: Retiring Republicans, Fred Upton
- Segment five: Republican lawsuit to save gerrymandering
- Segment six: Slay the Dragon movie review
- Interview: Katie Fahey of Voters Not Politicians, The People
- Dean Randy Hollerith on the Recent Mass Shootings in Texas, Ohio and California
- Axios AM – Newsletter with data on the week of gun violence
- lThe El Paso shooter faces the death penalty in a ‘domestic terrorism’ case
- Police: Ohio gunman who killed 9 was stopped in 30 seconds
- Attack on Texas shoppers to be handled as domestic terrorism
- Minutes Before El Paso Killing, Hate-Filled Manifesto Appears Online
- The deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history
— Josh Keller (@joshkellerjosh) March 2, 2018
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) October 28, 2015
Using the words “invasion,” “infestation,”w respect to a specific, targeted group of people, implying they are vermin: this is the language of white supremacy &it goes all the way to the top.
It’s not a matter of political stances. This is stoking hatred+endangering the country. https://t.co/zuziTB0c3u
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) August 5, 2019
- 2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination – latest polls
- CNN Debate video July 30
- CNN Debate video July 31
- Democratic debate in Houston will have fewer candidates: Here’s who is qualified
- What people are saying about Pete Buttigieg’s debate performance
- At the Democratic Debate, Pete Buttigieg Addresses the Age Issue
- Why go to the trouble of running for president to promote ideas that can’t work?
- Michael Moore urges Michelle Obama to run against Trump
- Sanders and Warren Battle Accusations of ‘Fairy Tale’ Promises as Intraparty Rift Flares
- “This Need Not Be Our Normal”: Why Washington National Cathedral Published Such a Strong Statement About Trump
- In our opinion: What America can learn from the National Cathedral’s call for character
- Archbishop Gregory Says President Trump Tweets Have ‘Deepened Divisions’
— Washington National Cathedral (@WNCathedral) July 30, 2019
Washington’s new Catholic leader —the country’s lone black archbishop— issued his first statement since his installation, accusing Trump of “diminishing our national life” with “tweets on some members of Congress, deploring Baltimore and related matters.”https://t.co/esQh6FaU1j
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) August 3, 2019
- The House Republicans and Democrats not seeking reelection in 2020
- Will Hurd, Only Black Republican in House, Is Retiring From Congress
- Will Hurd’s shocking retirement is the most painful in a string of House GOP exits
- Republicans rattled after surge of retirements
House Republicans right now have all the influence and glamour of a grade-school hall monitor. No wonder some are leaving. https://t.co/OSM7tTttqr
— New York Times Opinion (@nytopinion) August 1, 2019
- Republicans sue to block Michigan redistricting commission
- GOP group sues to block Michigan redistricting commission
- Some Michigan Republicans want to keep cheating
- Of Course Scott Walker’s New Gig Is Anti-Democratic Arson
It’s here. GERRY. A font created by your congressional districts. Log on to https://t.co/WkuVp7oDpu and use the font to tell congress how happy you are that your vote doesn’t matter. pic.twitter.com/j9U5W7qmTz
— Gerry (@UglyGerry) July 23, 2019
Republicans believe the only way to win and keep winning is to cheat. Lawsuit filed to stop #Michigan Proposal 2 (67% voter passed) is a put-up job by the national Republican districting organization. Scott Walker should have stayed in Wisconsin. https://t.co/pEFMF8iGj6
— Linda Robinson (@ZiggityBoomer) July 31, 2019
- Slay the Dragon (2019) on IMDB
- Traverse City Film Festival – Slay the Dragon
- The AFI DOCS Interview: SLAY THE DRAGON With Directors Barak Goodman and Chris Durrance
- ‘For Sama’ Wins Grand Prize at Traverse City Film Festival; ‘Slay the Dragon,’ ‘American Factory,’ and More Claim Doc Awards
TFCC’s award for Best US Nonfiction Film went to Slay the Dragon, directed by Chris Durrance and Barak Goodman, a documentary focusing on “the corrupt practice of gerrymandering… and the fight for fair elections in America.”
- The People
- Connect with Katie on LinkedIn
- Voters Not Politicians
- Apply to serve on the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission
Walt Sorg 0:05
In a week that featured two nights of Democratic debates, this is still the quote of the week.
Donald Trump 0:10
I think the Washington Post is a Russian asset By comparison, Mitch McConnell. Mitch McConnell is a man that does less about Russia and Russia influence and even Donald Trump and I know nothing.
Nothing. I was not here I did not even get
Walt Sorg 0:35
For once fearless leader speaks the truth he knows nothing. Donald Trump admits he is the Sargent Schultz to the White House. This is the Michigan podcast I’m also work on this week’s show. We’ll try to know something beginning with the aftermath of the showdown in Motown, the two nights CNN reality show with the Fox Theater.
Amy Kerr Hardin 0:54
I’m Amy Kerr Hardin and a little reported story the iconic National Cathedral, the official House of Worship for American presidents has issued a condemnation of our current president
Christine Barry 1:04
I’m Christine Barry. Republicans have launched still another attack on the voter approved ban on gerrymandering in Michigan. This time their lawsuit aims to protect the rights of political insiders to serve on the independent citizens commission.
Walt Sorg 1:16
And we’re going to have our very first Michigan podcast movie review. Amy and I attended the Michigan premiere of Slay the Dragon, the story of the battle against gerrymandering waged in Michigan and Wisconsin. But first as we record this week’s Policast police in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio are investigating two mass shootings over the weekend, in which a total of 29 people were murdered. dozens more were wounded.
The Texas shooter was an avowed white nationalist intent on sending a message to immigrants. As a record less has known about the Dayton shooter other than he too, was a young white man wearing body armor and armed with an AK-47. And apparently he managed to kill nine people in about one minute before the police stopped him. Thoughts and prayers are political double talk actually total bullshit for doing nothing. What does it take for something anything to be done? Your thoughts?
Amy Kerr Hardin 2:10
I think that the President has to stop dog whistling these lone wolf’s and they’re really not lone wolf’s anymore. I think that they’re a little bit more organized than that they’re, you know, operating through websites and, and on Reddit, and so forth and encouraging each other to you know, this violence basically,
Christine Barry 2:28
They’re really not dog whistles anymore. They’re actual out loud whistles that everyone can hear. I mean, what is there left to say today? After the past decade, decade and a half of these mass shootings just get worse and worse and worse? Or what is there left? I didn’t we lose the gun control debate when we let those children get slaughtered at Sandy Hook. Didn’t we lose the debate right then? Nothing was done after that those were little kids in school? And we did nothing? How will we ever change?
Walt Sorg 3:00
Seems like there’s a lot of talk out there. But the real movement really has been pushed by a bunch of high school kids in Florida. They have made some progress. And maybe this will push people over the edge. In Michigan, we’ve got fairly lax gun laws, they aren’t quite as crazy as they are in Texas. But still, it’s a fairly easy to obtain weapons and to carry weapons. Do you see anything at all happening at the state level? Is this going to be an issue for our legislature,
Christine Barry 3:27
As long as the legislature continues to be gerrymandered the way it is, nothing will ever happen? I don’t think because the ideology behind, you know, quote, unquote, gun rights and quote unquote, liberty, and I use the quotes intentionally there is so strong and so firm. And let me let me tell you just let me put this out there, I actually don’t have any issues with gun ownership at all, I live in a rural area where we need to have, I believe we need to have firearms to protect ourselves in our in our animals. So I don’t have a problem with people having firearms. And in fact, I have a concealed carry permit, I don’t even have a problem with concealed carry.
The problem that I have is the access to the weapons. That’s what we need to be talking about. That’s the gun control that we’re all talking about. But as long as people get they dig in on the side of proliferation, which is where we’ve been, at least since Barack Obama was elected, and, you know, ban all guns, which is such a small, small voice out there. As long as we focus on those two ends of this debate. We’re never going to get anywhere and something has to be done and Walt, you sent over an article, I think, from axioms that mentioned that we just have so many guns in this country. That’s probably what the problem is. I think that’s a big part of the problem, because there’s nothing to curb that demand for guns, you can just get them so easily.
Amy Kerr Hardin 4:54
And it’s a small group of people to own the vast majority of the guns, they’re amassing them and you know, have giant gun safes in their basements. I think that another problem obviously is the NRA, our lawmakers in our state and every other state are beholden to the NRA, and they want that a rating from the NRA to get reelected. They don’t want to be primary by them. And it’s not just Republicans, there are plenty of democrats that are also beholden to the NRA.
Christine Barry 5:21
Well, as long as people identify having a firearm with being American, there’s going to be you know, it is going to always be the more conservative or like I said, quote unquote, Liberty oriented people who feel that this is an individual right, that must be exercised as part of being American as long as that’s their people are that you know, their representatives are people who want to represent them in Congress are going to court, the NRA, and I will give the NRA some credit for the original mission, which was training and awareness and understanding and it actually helped people The NRA did a good job training people and helping them understand you know, rifling and hunting and that kind of thing, but it’s changed now. It’s now it’s a political it’s the firearm arm of the Republican Party.
Walt Sorg 6:18
Back to the more normal political news, the showdown in Motown two nights are Democrats attacking each other and Barack Obama. First I got a rant about this just a little bit cnn is approach to what should be a serious discussion about the future of our nation was to package it like a sports event that needed tons of hype. They began with that ridiculous one hour show where they were setting up the brackets, just like the NCAA bracket tournament show. And then they had this opening night sequence that looked like the lead in the Monday Night Football. And then the candidate introductions that sounded like the baseball All Star game pregame show.
The actual discussion didn’t start until 20 minutes into the broadcast. And then you’ve got candidate expected to explain complex policies 60 seconds or less, in effect, a series of Twitter solutions, and Jake Tapper his questions were all designed to pit candidate against candidate he framed every issue is democrat versus democrat often parroting republican talking points. It seems like they just wanted to generate sound bites that they could use the the next day’s analysis, rather than actually have an in depth discussion of issues. And to me the whole thing was in the polls have shown, at least initially that it really didn’t amount to much of anything. In terms of public opinion, nothing changed.
Okay, I feel better now. The actual debates. Christine, your thoughts?
Christine Barry 7:36
First of all, I’m, I’m going to agree with you. I feel like that was a waste of a debate. It just it just wasted the opportunity. It was just a show. But going on to the candidates I think didn’t do much. It didn’t change much. For me. I think it gave Warren and Kamala and Joe Biden opportunities to strengthen the brand that they had already created for themselves. The things that stood out for me, there were three things that really stood out for me one, Marianne Williamson (I hate myself already) but I love the way that she just went right after racism, she can do that she’s not going to win anyway. But the way that she went after reparations, and I don’t have any idea how her plan about that would work. But I love that she called it out for what it is, which is a debt that has never been paid. This nation was built on the backs of black people that were never made whole. And I do think it’s an outstanding debt. And I love that she called it out.
The other thing that I really loved Andrew Yang talking about stay at home moms being so undervalued, especially in this economy. That’s an important conversation to have. And then Mayor Pete used his age brilliantly. He talked about being the first generation of school shootings. He said, when he left Afghanistan, he thought he was one of the last troops leaving. And that kind of led into his three years sunset on the authorization of military force. I mean, he had a lot of authenticity there about the future. I think, you know, let’s look at the future when he’s as the youngest guy. He didn’t say people were too old or too young to be president –
Jake Tapper, I’d be cutting you off right now.
Christine Barry 9:19
Yeah, well, I would be telling you what a twit you are for setting up debates like that there was so much to be said.
We’re gonna move on standby, please stand by please, please abide by the rules.
Walt Sorg 9:36
Okay, please play by the rules. Amy?
Amy Kerr Hardin 9:40
I just don’t buy into the debates at all. I think we’re going to get more information from individual interviews and a lot of news outlets, media outlets are doing the pod save America is getting all the candidates, and
Walt Sorg 9:53
so have CNN, they’ve done town halls with all of them.
Amy Kerr Hardin 9:56
And that’s the best way to get, you know, full information as where these candidates stands to stand on public policy.
Walt Sorg 10:03
And then and I think Rachel Maddow had virtually every one of them on, I think the only one she’s missed out on is Joe Biden, who hasn’t done Pod Save America either.
Christine Barry 10:11
I think he’s holding out does he need to I mean, he’s, so he’s at 32 plus percent. I mean, he’s polling higher than Bernie and Warren combined.
Walt Sorg 10:23
We’ve really got, I think you’ve got two theories of the campaign. One is a return to normalcy. And that’s Joe Biden, it’s, you know, it’s Uncle Joe. And it’s let’s get back to normal real people in the White House. who don’t make us cringe every day and pick when we pick up Twitter. And the other side is, is the Bernie Sanders. Elizabeth Warren, let us let us do something really spectacular. Let me I got one sound bite here. This is Elizabeth Warren, we really kind of summed up the whole thing.
Elizabeth Warren 10:52
I don’t understand why anybody does to all the trouble of running for president of the United States, just to talk about what we really can’t do and shouldn’t for Democrats, win when we figure out what is right, and we get out there and fight for it.
I think the democrats win when we run on real solutions, not impossible promises and I’m a little more pragmatic.
Walt Sorg 11:14
That pretty much sums up I think, the attitude on the progressive side. And then on the moderate side, you got more of let’s reassure America, and let’s stop fighting with each other. And it’s, it’s a real, it’s a basic battle that that’s got to be fought. And I personally don’t think that these primaries, his toughest has been so far, that these debates and these confrontations are bad for the party. It’s sorting out how we want to attack somebody that they all agree is damaging to the nation.
And the other sound bites that stand out. Let me ask you about one that I still haven’t I still don’t understand it to this day.
Mr. Vice President there’s a saying in my community, you’re dipping in the Kool Aid and you don’t even know the flavor. What the hell does that mean?
Christine Barry 11:56
I don’t know. I was gonna ask you guys.
Walt Sorg 11:58
I don’t know. Apparently, I haven’t been into kool aid for a while, but I don’t understand that at all. I find it interesting. that warden Sanders really were kind of like they heard him described as Batman and Robin fighting off the moderates at the gate. They refuse to go after each other.
Amy Kerr Hardin 12:14
Which one is Batman and which one is Robin?
Walt Sorg 12:16
Well, it used to be that I think the Bernie from what they both would like to be Batman right now, but it seems to me like Bernie is fading. And Elizabeth Warren is Ascendant. And I think part of that may just be style. She doesn’t shout at you.
Christine Barry 12:32
Well, it’s just so credible on policy every time she shaved brings up a policy now. You know, the people who like her, okay, I think have finally come to believe that, you know, she probably has really worked really hard on this policy, because she’s that’s just where her credibility is.
Walt Sorg 12:51
I think the big winner in this whole debate process is Facebook. I’ll tell you why. Right now you’ve got eight candidates who are in for the next round of debates because they reached the threshold for 130,000 contributors plus they’re getting 2% or better in the polls, several polls.
You’ve got Biden Sanders, Warren, Harris, Buddha, Judge Booker, O’Rourke, and Amy Klobuchar just qualified. Andrew Yang and Juaquin — Julio Castro I got just got him confused with his twin brother, shame on me, are on the cusp right now.
And then you’ve got Tom Steyer, who is basically spending he spent a half million dollars last week on Facebook, trolling for $1 contributions. So you could get that hundred and 30 contributor, hundred 30,000 contributors. Facebook is really, reeling in the cash on this process because people are spending $5 to get a $1 contribution. It’s called customer acquisition costs in the retail world. And it’s really kind of crazy.
Amy Kerr Hardin 13:49
At my newsfeed. He pops up Tom Steyer pops up like every 10th post.
Walt Sorg 13:55
Is there anybody else who you think might qualify? Because right now you got eight and you’ve got two on the coast. What about Gillibrand or Bullock or Inslee? Do you see any of them qualifying for the next round?
Christine Barry 14:06
I don’t see Bullock or Inslee qualifying. I thought Gillibrand would be doing a little bit better by now. I, but I’m not really I don’t have a lot of confidence and in her campaign right now.
So the first thing that I’m going to do when I’m president is I’m going to Clorox the Oval Office,
Walt Sorg 14:22
she’ll forever be remembered for at least that one line in that plug for Clorox.
Christine Barry 14:26
Yeah, I don’t. I don’t feel like it was a very strong line for her. But anyway,
Walt Sorg 14:32
it was something that got her attention.
One final thing on the debate process in the nominating process. Michael Moore goes on, and does interviews after the debates and he is urging Michelle Obama to run. Well, first of all, she’s the most admired woman in America. Her husband is the most admired man in America, year after year after year, which has got a really pissed off Donald Trump. He thinks that she’s the one who can excite people has a handle on the issues, can speak the issues, and is really tough for Trump to attack.
The one problem with Michelle Obama running for president and if she doesn’t want to run that is kind of an impediment to her campaign.
Amy Kerr Hardin 15:10
Do you think?
Christine Barry 15:11
Barack and Michelle Obama have other things to do? You know, let them go be the former President and First Lady and let’s bring in new leadership to the White House to obviously clean up after Donald Trump and get us back on track.
I’m hoping to see some of these really big ideas come to fruition and I have all the confidence in Michelle Obama, but let’s move forward. Let’s not have presidents wives you know running again? Yeah, I mean, like, I love Hillary, Hillary was her own person and so as Michelle, but let’s move forward.
Walt Sorg 15:48
Okay, let’s wrap up this segment with something I think we can all agree on. for Governor Jay Inslee.
We can no longer allow a white nationalist to be in the white house number one.
Walt Sorg 15:58
Pretty much says it all.
Christine Barry 16:05
The only non-white Republican in the US House has announced he won’t run for reelection. 41 year old Will Hurd of Texas, considered a rising star in the Republican Party stunned everyone with his announcement. His District, which is on the Texas-Mexico border, now becomes a likely pickup for Democrats in 2020.
The announcement came in a week when President Trump eliminated any doubts about his racism. The man who started his political career by claiming Barack Obama was born in Kenya with full throated racist with his attack on Elijah Cummings and Baltimore. And it drew and unprecedented rebuke.
Amy, you’ve been following what seems to be an under covered story?
Amy Kerr Hardin 16:47
Oh, yes, yes. The Washington National Cathedral, also known as the National House of Prayer, issued a scathing rebuke of President Trump. It was penned by three reference there, and they did not mince their words. I’m going to quote from it here,
“as faith leaders who serve at Washington National Cathedral, the sacred space where America gathers at moments of national significance, we feel compelled to ask, after two years of President Trump’s words and actions, when will America have had enough?”
They go on to say the time for silence is over. It’s it was over quite some time ago, I believe. And then they also say,
“What will it take for all of us to say with one voice that we’ve had enough? The question is less about the President’s decency, but of ours.”
And then right on the heels of that Washington’s Archbishop Wilton Gregory, who’s who’s new to the office, issued his own public statement condemning Trump for divisive divisiveness and race baiting. Other than evangelicals, this is my opinion other than evangelicals, we can expect to see a wave of condemnation from religious communities, I hope, and hopefully also they will spark nonprofits and corporate entities to follow suit will have a link in the show notes to both of those statements, that public statements.
Walt Sorg 18:06
It’s interesting that both of these statements came out before the race based mass shootings over the weekend, the shootings almost underscored the statements and I suspect we’ll be hearing a lot more from those religious leaders. But it’s pretty good one weekend to be called up by both the leader of the Episcopalians and the Catholics in your hometown.
Amy Kerr Hardin 18:25
Yeah, and he can’t show his face, neither can Melania, in the National Cathedral anymore.
Walt Sorg 18:30
One other thing that I thought was very interesting last week, and all the discussion on Will Hurd was that their speculation Fred Upton might not run for reelection, although he’s acting like he’s running for reelection right now. I’m not exactly sure I saw it on both Daily Kos and Washington Post that it was a possibility with Upton, part of that could be the Trump factor. Plus he’s got a very strong opponent, john Hoadley was on the pilot several weeks ago. And it may be time for Fred up to to take his inherited money and go home.
Amy Kerr Hardin 18:58
I’m okay with that.
Christine Barry 18:59
Yeah, vaya con dios
While republicans are continuing to fight to save gerrymandering, a big part of their efforts to continue minority control of government by manipulating the rules, the latest is a lawsuit challenging the restrictions on who conserve and Michigan’s Independent Redistricting Commission. Walt, you are one of the people who wrote the constitutional amendment with Voters, Not Politicians. Is this lawsuit a serious threat?
Walt Sorg 19:28
All lawsuits with the current United States Supreme Court or a serious threat. However, I don’t think this one’s got much merit.
First of all, the amendment the way it’s set up, it restricts people who have a part of the political system right now political insiders from serving on the commission. It includes partisan elected officials, gubernatorial appointees, legislative employees, lobbyists, and also the immediate families of those people. So it’s going to disqualify several thousands of people in the state of Michigan, but they’re still I think, 7 million right registered voters in the state. So it’s not overly restrictive, there are still millions of people who are eligible to serve on the commission.
What the lawsuit says in Part one is that this restriction, because of political activity is a violation of your first amendment rights, your rights of political Association and free speech. But what they’re also trying to do to invalidate the entire process is to say, because of this one flaw the entire amendment must fall. That’s despite the fact that written right into the amendment is what’s called a severability clause, which says, If any one part of this is found to be unconstitutional, the rest of it stands.
They say that the voters basically were deceived, because an unconstitutional section was included in this amendment. There’s no deception in my mind. The entire amendment, of course, is published on every petition that was signed by every one of the 450,000 people who signed petitions. And also there is a big poster in every polling place, with a complete wording of the amendment that people are free to read before they vote on it. Now, I will tell you, nobody’s read it. And what the heck, nobody’s read the Mueller report either. But it was out there. So there’s no attempt to deceive. It’s a pretty weak case. But with this Supreme Court, in Washington, you never know if you can get a five for ruling.
The bigger threat really is that they go after, again, the whole concept of independent commissions. The Court upheld the concept of independent commissions in a case involving the Arizona commission several years ago. But it was a five to four ruling, the majority opinion was written by Justice Kennedy who was gone and replaced by bread. I’ll have a beer later, Kavanaugh, and that could tip the scales. Although Chief Justice Roberts has spoken approvingly lately of independent commissions as a possible solution to the gerrymandering problem. So we shall see but … there will probably be two or three more lawsuits before this was all over in California, when they enacted their independent commercially had several lawsuits. And fortunately, they won them all.
Christine Barry 22:03
I think that’s significant part of the lawsuit, it just is that it underscores the length that people will go to hang on to this last little bit of not even, you know, not even authority or power by itself. But this last mechanism by which to control the government. And gerrymandering it has been very good to the Republicans in Michigan and it will continue to be unless we can implement the changes from prop two.
Walt Sorg 22:33
You know, really important part of this too is the lawsuit is against Jocelyn Benson, the Secretary of State, who is one of the leading experts on election law in the nation, and she is being represented in court by the Attorney General Dana Nessel. It is no longer Voters Not Politicians against the world. It is the republicans against the state of Michigan.
Christine Barry 22:51
The lawsuit was filed the day before the Michigan premiere of slay the dragon, the documentary built around Michigan’s grassroots efforts to end gerrymandering, the film debuted at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival. Amy, you and Walt attended the Michigan debut at the Traverse City Film Festival last week. And it’s time for your very first movie review.
Amy Kerr Hardin 23:13
Oh, I really enjoyed the movie. It was the content was naturally disturbing. Its outline outlined basically what was happening in Wisconsin where they were using litigation to try to end gerrymandering versus our constitutional amendment. And in Wisconsin, they were not successful whereas here in Michigan so far we are successful.
It featured Katie Fahey he who was the person that started the whole thing, just with a Facebook post saying, Hey, who wants to be with me on ending gerrymandering, she was featured in it and she was there along with a probably about at least maybe three dozen other people from across the state of Michigan and one person actually came from North Carolina, who was also fighting gerrymandering and that state, these people were absolute rock stars. And even though Katie’s very humble about the whole thing, and the people that worked on the film with her and worked on the petition drive with her, but the audience, you know, erupted into applause again and again and again. And when they did the q&a afterwards, they did a panel discussion. Once again, the standing ovation for Katie, it’s it was really something to see. What did you think Walt?
Walt Sorg 24:21
Well, it was kind of interesting seeing it from the outside looking in after living it for more than two years. Because you really don’t realize when you’re inside of it, how incredibly audacious it was for us to even try.
I’d forgotten how silly we must have looked at the outside world when we first started because we basically we knew nothing, we had no money, and we had no support. But other than that we were all set. And I give a lot of credit to the producers in New York, they joined with us in our campaign, when we were basically just a handful of people. And they took a real gamble and following us I’m not sure maybe they thought that it was going to blow up in our faces and would make for a really good story on how it was a disaster trying to overturn the establishment and then we fooled them. But for whatever reason, they stuck with us. The other thing was interesting was they set the whole thing up by talking about the Flint water crisis. And how gerrymandering really led to the Flint water crisis because it resulted in a legislature that passed and then repassed the emergency manager law, which was at the root of the poisoning of Flint’s water. And so that it wasn’t a academic exercise in why gerrymandering is bad. It was a practical exercise. And this is what gerrymandering does to you, if you’re not careful. And from from that standpoint, it was really very effective. And I also found a very emotional.
Amy Kerr Hardin 25:42
it’s true, and there were some moments of levity in there to where they had filmed or got some clips of people Katie and basically just bullying her and making her trying to make her feel small or like a failure and and it’s just, you know, blew up in their face.
Walt Sorg 26:00
They underestimated us all the way through, and didn’t launch a campaign to stop this amendment until it was really too late. And that helped an awful lot.
It was fun at the post party. Of course, we had a post party. That’s one thing we’re good at with volunteers. All throughout the campaign was partying, I did have a chance to sit down with my buddy, my unofficial third daughter, Katie was launched the campaign with that Facebook post. And it was really the experience of a lifetime.
First the post then there was nine people in the Lansing conference room. Ultimately, we had a team of 7000 volunteers, we gathered probably 450,000 signatures, we turned in about 430,000, we had two and a half million yes votes. And now a feature length documentary that could one learn an Oscar nomination. So talk to Katie about it.
You’ve seen yourself at Tribeca Film Festival, you seen yourself at the Traverse City Film Festival, thinking back to where we were to two and a half years ago. This is weird.
Katie Fahey 26:57
It is, it’s so surreal. And what’s really interesting about being able to see the work put into a documentary is something like writing the constitutional language took us months. And yet it was shown in just a couple of minutes. We’re gathering the petitions again, took months, and then it’s a couple of minutes and but it was so cool to see the to be able to relive so much so many of those moments, and re-experience them too. Because it’s really different when you’re in it compared to being able to have some hindsight and then see how each of those decisions ended up being the right call and we were able to be successful.
Walt Sorg 27:34
Arc media is it’s a big time for him out of New York, I remember we first got the call from the we didn’t know who they were, but we checked them out and found out they were big bet. They got into this when nobody but nobody thought that Voters Not Politicians was going anywhere.
Katie Fahey 27:47
Yeah, I remember one of the first calls I had with the directors, Derek and Chris. And, you know, I was really trying to sell us and I was like, nobody really believes in us. But I swear, you know, we got a lot of spirit and there’s something special happening and they were willing come and check it out. As you know, I I think it’d be interesting to talk to them.
I think we are were originally going to be a minor storyline. And we ended up being one of the major ones, because I think it really gets at the root of what gerrymandering attacks and what the film is about is that democracy is at stake. When you’re taking away how district lines are drawn, you’re taking that away from the actual voters at our campaign was so much about people our campaign is so much about using the democratic process. So I think that’s what ended up hooking them and allowing us to be such a big part of the film.
Walt Sorg 28:33
In the film, probably the most dramatic point is your other work really.
Katie Fahey 28:37
Yeah, there was never doing this before, you know, not ever really thinking I would lead this. And then the film at a certain point it was we were up in the Michigan Supreme Court. And really, you’ve done all the work, you’ve gathered all the signatures, you have written the constitution language, and then it’s a couple months before the election, and a lawsuit comes basically saying, you know, all of that work can be for thrown out overnight.
And really all you can do is put together your best legal case, you put it out there, but it ultimately comes down to seven supreme court justices. And there’s a lot of talk at that time about the partisan meddling we, you know, saw some conflicts of interest from some of the justices and, and we didn’t know how it’s going to turn out. And that was a lot of pressure, especially for somebody who’s new to it, somebody who’s younger in the field, and who’s never done it before I was feeling and I took a big responsibility and trying to make sure I was always doing the best I could for the campaign.
Walt Sorg 29:29
It was a lot of stress during the campaign to there were days when I was sure we were going to kill each other.
Katie Fahey 29:34
That is so true. And you know, part of that too, is we’re all strangers when we were starting out. And so you know each other through this cause, but you don’t really know that much about people. And so you’re trying to do this monumental thing on top of day jobs and top of kids and families and all of that. And then you have to put an immense amount of trust in other people and, and it was definitely a journey I have now explained running a campaign or being a part of one is a roller coaster, there are really high highs and really low lows all the time.
Walt Sorg 30:04
I think for me, the low point was when I finally realized that the establishment was just saying to hell with you, we can’t work with you people, you’re out of control. You’re on your own.
Katie Fahey 30:13
Yeah, I think that was really disheartening for me, too, is one of the biggest surprises I would say to you know, you donate or you volunteer with organizations, and you really hope that they’re putting the interests of people first and I do think that they were but then you are actually in it and you expect people to be your allies, and then they aren’t for their own reasons.
And being front and center experiencing that was really not only interesting, but it was really hard too because we were constantly just looking for anybody to work with us. And especially in the beginning, a lot of people wanted us to be able to prove ourselves beforehand, but what even printing petitions cost $40,000 you know, none of us were secret millionaires. It’s not like we could just make that magically appear overnight. Um, you know, being able to hold meetings in places you have to be able to reserve spots, have a 501C3
Walt Sorg 30:40
We learned a lot about libraries and churches
Katie Fahey 31:03
So much about libraries! I am so thankful for being a free public space. But yeah, I mean, there’s definitely times when I’m glad. I’m glad we all made it through it. And I think everybody did bring their own unique perspective, which ultimately made us stronger.
Walt Sorg 31:17
I think something else that is surprising the establishment and the reporters around this is that Voters Not Politicians is still around, and it’s actually growing.
Katie Fahey 31:25
Yeah, I think so too. I mean, even when we were going, everybody was like, you know, this is a blip. This is happening overnight, and they’re going to be gone. I heard that all the time. But from the beginning, we knew that passing this wasn’t the only thing we had to do, we had to make sure that it was going to be successful.
And the other thing was once you started volunteering, and once you start learning how to use the political process, it’s addicting, like, but you see that you can actually make change you see that you can have push back it’s just really hard to figure out how to use it and so you know, we’ve seen people leave the campaign to run for office we’ve seen people yeah, you included Walt, we’ve seen people decide to start their own initiatives. You know, there’s ranked-choice voting talk in Michigan and so I think that is one of the other really just inspiring cool things to see too is like once you actually make it easier to participate in democracy, people want to. It’s not a scary anymore.
Walt Sorg 31:47
Is there an Academy Award for Best Lead Actress in the documentary?
Katie Fahey 32:23
I hope so.
Walt Sorg 32:24
Work on your speech now.
Katie Fahey 32:25
Walt Sorg 32:31
Now voters politicians is focused on making sure thousands of Michiganders apply to serve on the citizens Independent Redistricting Commission, you could be a member of the Commission. To find out more about the gig and the qualifications go to VNP.vote/apply. And of course Christine will put a link to that on our website. final details are being worked out but we expect slay the dragon to go into full release next spring will have up deets on the Michigan podcast website.
Christine Barry 33:02
And that is a wrap for this week’s podcast. For more information on this week’s topics, including video links, head on over to our website, michiganpolicast.com
Amy Kerr Hardin 33:11
com. And if you could take a moment to rate us on iTunes. Those five star ratings help us move up in the search results.
And you can contact us in the email machine email@example.com. On behalf of Amy and Christine. I’m Walt Sorg. Thanks for listening.