Democratic war chests, debates, redistricting, and Mike Murphy is our guest.

July 22, 2019

Michigan Policast for Monday, July 22, 2019

We had some technical issues this week and our audio quality is a bit degraded during our chat. Our interview with Mike Murphy is not affected. We'll have it resolved next week.

  In this episode:

  • Segment one: Slotkin and Stevens building a war chest
  • Segment two: Benson moves forward on citizen redistricting commission
  • Segment three: Democratic Presidential Candidate debates in Detroit
  • Interview: Republican campaign consultant Mike Murphy
  • Transcript



Jump to:

Slotkin (MI08) and Stevens (MI11) building a war chest

‘The 14 lawmakers who represent Michigan in the U.S. House reported raising $4.1 million from April 1, 2019, through June 30, 2019, according to new disclosures due on Monday. That’s an average of about $45,500 per day.'  ~via Michigan Campaign Finance Network

.@HouseDemocrats are crushing the fundraising this quarter. @ElissaSlotkin #MI08 and @RepHaleyStevens #MI11 lead Michigan with over $734k raised and over $1m on hand. Click To Tweet





Benson moves forward on citizen redistricting commission

“Voters overwhelmingly supported a transparent, citizen-centered redistricting process and we are happy to see the Secretary of State’s office is executing its administrative role in that spirit,” said the group’s Executive Director Nancy Wang. “This is an exciting opportunity to engage in our democracy and restore the people’s trust in our government.”  ~via Bridge Michigan

“This is an exciting opportunity to engage in our democracy and restore the people’s trust in our government.” Nancy Wang of @NotPoliticians on the citizens redistricting commission, via @detroitnewsClick To Tweet
“We still believe that this is an unconstitutional mess, and we continue to look at what the most viable options are ... to solve or fix those problems,” Tony Daunt of @MichiganFreedom on the citizens redistricting committee, via @detroitnewsClick To Tweet


Democratic Presidential Candidate debates in Detroit

Five candidates will not attend the debates at the end of July: former Sen. Mike Gravel, Rep. Seth Moulton, Mayor Wayne Messam, former Rep. Joe Sestak and Tom Steyer.  Gravel and Moulton both reached the qualifications for the debate, but did not make it onstage because their polling averages or fundraising numbers were not as high as those of other candidates.  ~ CBS News

The two-hour-long debates will  begin at 8 p.m. each night on CNN and CNN en Español. They will also be streamed live on without requiring a cable provider login. CNN's Dana Bash, Don Lemon and Jake Tapper will serve as moderators.  ~Detroit Free Press

Interview:  Republican campaign consultant Mike Murphy

Generically, I'm dubious of other minor party candidates, because it splits the anti-Trump vote. But if it was ideological enough, and [Amash] is honestly that person, you know, maybe there is a little micro-campaign in a couple of states that would be powerful. Now, I don't think he'll get many votes, period, this is going to be such a passion election that people are going to pick their side and dig in … but it could be kind of an interesting, interesting little sidebar in the Great Lakes area. ~Mike Murphy on Justin Amash as a Libertarian candidate for President


'If you buy that equation that 'I'm right, you're evil,' then everything you can do to the other side is legitimate because they're evil. That means the rulebook is out.' ~ @murphymike @MichCurmudgeonClick To Tweet
If @JoeBiden can get his A-game together, which we have not seen yet, he might be able to crawl back into this thing. The media is ready to give him a comeback if he can do it. ~@murphymike #DemDebateClick To Tweet


Donald Trump 0:05
People want to leave our country they can if they don't want to love our country, if they don't want to fight for our country they can. I'll never change on that. When you look at some of the things they said, they're unthinkable if somebody else or me or anybody else said things like that, it would be historic. So you want to look at some of their horrible statement because there's never been statements like that.

The American Dream is dead. The US has become a dumping ground for everybody else's problems. We're like a dumping ground for the world. We're dumping ground. The United States is becoming a dumping ground. We used to be at the top. Now we're like a third world country.

We're like a third world country. We're becoming a third world country because of our infrastructure, our airports, our roads, everything. The whole world is looking at us and laughing at us. The world is laughing at us. They're laughing at the stupidity of our President

Walt Sorg 1:07
Donald Trump does the impossible he unites Democrats even as 20 of them at the Detroit run to the debates. This is the Michigan Policast, I'm Walt Sorg

Christine Barry 1:16
I'm Christine Barry. The latest campaign finance reports show Michigan democrats are focused on expanding the gains in Congress with freshmen, Elissa Slotkin and Haley Stevens both raking in more than $700,000 in the last three months.

Amy Kerr Hardin 1:30
I'm Amy Kerr Hardin. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has started the process of implementing Michigan's new independent citizens redistricting commission. We will talk about how you can be one of the 13 people who draw Michigan's legislative and congressional district maps.

Walt Sorg 1:45
And I'll be talking with Republican political consultant Mike Murphy. The Michigan native has been a top advisor to presidential candidates George HW Bush, John McCain, and Mitt Romney, along with helping John Engler and Spencer Abraham win campaigns in Michigan. Now he's a Never Trumper. Let's begin with the congressional campaign finance reports. Christine, there are a bunch of potentially tight races in Michigan next year. And it looks like Democrats are raising a ton of money for those campaigns.

Christine Barry 2:12
The House Democrats are really crushing the fundraising. We have two Michigan democrats in particular who are leading in fundraising, and that's Haley Stevens in the 11th district and Elissa Slotkin in the 8th district. Let's start with Haley because she has the most money. She raised $735,872 last quarter, and almost $480,000 of that comes from individual donors. She now has over $1 million on hand, more than any other Michigan House Democrat. Her district leans Democratic, but it is going to be competitive, at least that's what's predicted by the Cook Partisan Voting Index. Her district is R+4, but they still favor the Democrat in this race.

Then let's look at the eighth district, Elissa Slotkin, we've mentioned her a few times. She raised $734,407 in the last quarter. And $561,000 plus of that is from individual donors. She also has a little over $1 million on hand, and her race is considered a toss-up. Cook Partisan Voting Index says this district leans GOP by four points. Neither one of them has a challenger declared right now. But Elissa Slotkin is going to have a tough race.

Walt Sorg 3:33
Rumor has it the State Senator Tom Barrett, is actually going to be moving into the 8th Congressional District which is just next door. He would be a very formidable opponent.

Christine Barry 3:42
I also heard Mike Bishop is considering running again, but I don't have any idea if that's true.

Walt Sorg 3:47
I thought it was interesting that the two West Michigan races that have been in districts that have been held by Republicans for a long time, there's a lot of money being raised on both sides. Of course in the Justin Amash district you've got Amash running, at least for now he's running as an independent, and he has raised $177,000, which really isn't all that much, but he is the incumbent. You've got State Representative Jim Lower from Greenville, taking him on to the primary. There are several Democrats running as well, in that district, and the field could get larger.

In the sixth district, you've got Fred Upton, who's been behaving kind of like a democrat lately, he was one of just four Republicans to vote in favor of the resolution condemning Donald Trump for that racist tweet, he put out about the four Democratic members of the House, just one of four. And he's been working very closely with Elissa Slotkin on border issues lately, and he's very nervous because we had John Hoadley on the pod a few weeks ago, and he's raised well over $300,000 already in his campaign, and there's a long way to go. They're about even right now in the money trail. And what's interesting about the money that's coming up that is most of it's coming from PACs, what 65% so far, come from PACs and political parties Hoadley's fundraising. 97% of it is from individual donors. And PACs can't vote. Individual voters can.

Amy Kerr Hardin 5:09
Amash also has very little PAC money. And Fred Upton, he has very, very deep pockets. He just doesn't want to dig into them.

Christine Barry 5:17
Elissa Slotkin's race was the most expensive in 2018, $28.3 million spent on that. She and Haley Stevens are two of the 55 targeted districts for the Republican Congressional Committee. So it's going to be ugly. I see that Fred Upton's district was the third most expensive race $9.2 million.

Walt Sorg 5:42
He's had trouble every time but hopefully, by far the best opponent the Democrats have been able to field against him in quite a while. I think that's that is ripe for the plucking, especially if Trump does badly in Michigan.

Amy Kerr Hardin 5:54
Let's all hope.

Walt Sorg 6:00
Last year, Michigan voters decided to take control of legislative and congressional district maps away from the legislature and give it to an independent citizens commission. The task of implementing that constitutional amendment falls on Michigan's top elections official that would be Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. Amy, Secretary Benson is taking on the task with glee even as the Republican legislature does what it can do make her life difficult.

Amy Kerr Hardin 6:25
Yes, the Secretary of State has pitched a proposed application for Michiganders who wish to serve on the 13 member citizens redistricting commission, as provided by the voter-adopted constitutional amendment last year.

She's opened it up to public comment. She's rolling it out, rolling out her plan in three phases. The first phase would be public comment, which I just mentioned, on the application process itself. The second is the actual selection process. And of course, the third logically is the redrawing of the districts based on the 2020 census, and that will also be with public inputting that just straight up census.

The five-page application, which will be available in the show notes, specifies qualifying information. Certain parties are not eligible, for example, party officials, of course, also recent partisan candidates are not eligible, that would that include judicial candidates, because they are purportedly nonpartisan, although we know that that's not the case really also partisan elected officials that are sitting in office right now.

Also, and this is a little bit controversial, probably mostly with Republicans that precinct delegates and their family members are not allowed to serve. However, the applicants will be required to disclose their party affiliation when they apply. The pay for the job is 40,000, which is for semi-part time position at certain times. It'll be obviously more full-time. Walt. Now I know that there's some confusion and concern over funding, in getting this thing off the ground. Do you have any new information on that?

Walt Sorg 8:02
The legislature is still negotiating with the Governor and the Secretary of State on this. When we drafted the amendment, we tried to make it automatic that the commission would be funded properly by saying that we would get an exact percentage of the Secretary of State's budget, something equal to one-fourth of the Secretary of State's budget. And the legislature has been looking for ways to get around that to reduce the funding for the commission. Plus, they completely took out of the budget, money for this implementation phase was not covered by the amendment.

The Governor recommended some money for the Secretary of State's office, in order to get the process going, and the legislature took it all out of the budget. They're doing anything they can to get in the way the process. The one other thing you mentioned was about precinct delegates and their immediate families not being eligible to be on the commission. This was the subject of quite a bit of debate in the policy drafting stage for this amendment. But what won out finally, was the idea that people that are directly attached to the political parties, even if it's at the precinct level, should not be a part of this process. We want it to be as independent as possible from the political system. And so the decision was made to make it fairly broad. But still, if you're a registered voter in Michigan, chances are you're eligible to serve on this commission. The restrictions apply to a few thousand people out of more than I think it's six and a half, 7 million registered voters in this.

Christine Barry 9:21
Right unless you're in a pretty urban area, I think the actual precinct delegate office election, whatever you want to call it, that position isn't taken very seriously, at least by counties that are considered rural. There just aren't that many. The party leadership goes out and asks people if they can get on the ballot so that they can fill up those slots, but a lot of times, it just goes understaffed.

I did see that there are potentially some legal challenges saying that, you know, just because I'm a precinct delegate, doesn't mean my mom can't serve or my, my wife or whatever. But I think it was the right thing to do to not allow precinct delegates to serve.

Walt Sorg 10:04
There were legal challenges and other states for similar restrictions on who could be on their independent Commission's most notably lawsuits in California. And those lawsuits all went nowhere, we're pretty confident that they'll go nowhere in Michigan as well.

Amy Kerr Hardin 10:17
That's good to know.

Christine Barry 10:23
In a TV show, somewhat similar to the basketball brackets show every spring, CNN unveiled the lineups for round two of the Democratic presidential candidate debates set for Detroit on the 30th and 31st of the month. On night number one, the lineup includes the battle of the progressives, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders will likely be side by side flanked by South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Senator Amy Klobuchar. On night two, it's a rematch between Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Amy Kerr Hardin 10:54
What I see here is that on the first night of the backbench Buttigieg, O'Rourke, and Klobuchar, they're pretty weak on their policy specifics, so it's going to just be a lot of nebulous ideas tossed around, whereas the on the 31st is going to be a little bit more interesting for a policy wonk like me, because Booker and Castro and Yang are very, very strong on the specifics of their policy positions.

Walt Sorg 11:17
I find it really interested in the night one of this debate of the most diverse field we've ever had in the Democratic Party is all white. And what's really interesting all the minority candidates, all the people of color are on night two for some reason, and it's the luck of the draw just the way things worked out. But at least they've got the head to head that contest between the front runners to on the first night and two on the second night. And then Mayor Pete hoping to slide into that. It's that first tier, and certainly with the money is raised, he's kind of in the first tier, but the others in terms of the polling are certainly well ahead of the rest of the hordes that are running for president.

Amy Kerr Hardin 11:54
There might be fireworks on the second night, the matchup between Biden and Harris as there had been in the last debate. I have a feeling that the Warren-Sanders debate will be a little bit more cordial.

Christine Barry 12:04
I think that there's plenty of diversity on the first night just not in ethnicity. You have a woman, Elizabeth Warren, and you know, Bernie Sanders, then you have a gay man. And you have an extra-terrestrial in Marianne Williamson, she'll be there.

I do think it's going to be a great night to watch just for Warren and Sanders alone. But then I really want to see how Pete handles things compared to everybody else. He has a nice calming demeanor. I like the way he presents himself. Wednesday night with Biden. I don't think it'll be Biden and Harris race this time, you have Cory Booker, you have Julian Castro, and they can talk about race with legitimacy. So I don't think it'll just be Harris and Biden head to head although obviously, they are the main draw, I think for that particular debate.

Walt Sorg 13:07
I like the contrast in styles on the first night, you've got Bernie Sanders will be yelling at us for three hours or two hours, whatever it is. And then you're gonna have Elizabeth Warren is going to be the Harvard Law professor trying to explain things to us as common people. And then Mayor Pete, who's, like you say is a very calming, level headed doesn't get excited type of guy. It's a very interesting study, in contrast, and it'll be fascinating to see how the polling shows that the three of them work out against each other.

Christine Barry 13:36
Just real quick, I, I saw an article that John Delaney staffers have asked him to quit running after $19 million and 2.5 years. And polling at zero percent.

Walt Sorg 13:48
Is he running? Who is John Delaney?

Christine Barry 13:50
Exactly. That was their exact reasoning for that.

Walt Sorg 13:54
Now, as we record this show, I'm looking forward to Colbert on Monday night. He's got Marianne Williamson on. Should be a lot of fun.

Christine Barry 14:02
For some national perspective on round two of the debates and thoughts about bipartisan civility in an age of Trump racism and division, Walt talked with longtime Republican campaign consultant, Michigan native Mike Murphy.

Walt Sorg 14:15
Back when I was working for Jim Blanchard, Murphy was cutting his political teeth, working on winning Michigan campaigns for senator Spencer Abraham and Governor John Engler. Since then, he's been a senior campaign advisor to George HW Bush, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Christine Todd Whitman. These days, Murphy has an unlikely partner and a new political podcast. He's joined with former Obama chief strategist David Axelrod, for Hacks on Tap. If you haven't listened to it, you really should. It's a wonderful political program. They also work together on the board of the University of Chicago's Institute of Politics. We began our conversation with that unlikely alliance between the Republican pro and Democratic Pro.

You and David Axelrod working together, not just doing the podcast, but also at the University of Chicago. It's kind of an interesting combination. How did that happen?

Mike Murphy 15:08
Well, Axe and I have been real life friends for Oh, I'm going to really date myself here. But about 30 years, we met as young consultants, and we just struck up a friendship beyond politics. So we are in this funny position where we'd be running campaigns against each other. And then you know, we'd still be good friends, we never let that get in the way. We never thought that one's opponent is always one's enemy. So we'd even be sneaking around having a meal together once a while we're out beating the hell out of each other in an Iowa governor's race, or, or wherever. So, we have been talking politics for a long time, just as friends as people who've done it to you know, I've been involved with pretty senior level over the years.

And so we were joking around. And he said, you know, we have to turn these conversations either when we meet somewhere or on the telephone into a podcast. So we came up with Hacks on Tap. And the idea is, you're out on the campaign trail, and you go to the bar where everybody is that night, you know, the traveling circus coming through town on the presidential. And you pull up a barstool with David and I and you hear a view of politics, you're not going to get on cable TV, because we're not going to be screaming at each other about some issue. It's much more. two guys who've been coaches in the big game talk about what's really going on. So that was the idea behind that.

At the Institute, when he founded that at the University of Chicago is a way to try to excite young people of all political persuasions to get involved in politics, he asked me to be on the board and I, I gleefully accepted, and I've done some work with that Institute. And then I'm also the co-director of a similar instituting in Los Angeles, where I live at the University of Southern California, called the Center for the political future.

So these Institute's are springing up because I think there is an aptitude and a hunger out there to get beyond, especially among young people beyond this equation, politics always has to be I'm right, you're evil on both sides. Because you know, if you buy that equation, the I'm right, you're evil equation, everything you can do to the other side is legitimate because they're evil, you know, and that means the rulebook is out, it would be like having the Michigan – Ohio State game and afterwards you burn down the stadium and murder all the refs, you know, it's not so good for the game.

So anyway, we're trying to push back in some some ways. I mean, I like tough political differences. But we have a common set of facts. And we got to understand we're all Americans here. And the idea is not to throw acid but to win a battle and then fight fair the next day and maybe the other guy will win.

Walt Sorg 17:38
Let's get into a little bit of that political discussion. Specifically, your background in Michigan, of course, you're a Michigan native, you worked for John Engler, you worked for Spence Abraham, you know, the state very, very well. We've got a situation now with Justin Amash, as you're well aware, where he may decide to run as a Libertarian for president, does he hurt Trump? Or does he actually help Trump by giving the anti-Trump looks like you a place to land rather than having them come over to the other side?

Mike Murphy 18:05
You know that is the billion-dollar question and so I'm struggling with it. I'll tell you what I think what I applaud Amash for being courageous about the president, I've been an anti-Trumper or since 92. I wonder about all these Johnny-come- latelys is but we'll take them. I used to have to deal with them in New Jersey when I was Governor Whitman's consultant out there. But so i think i think i'm proud that he's had the courage to stand up and say, As has Fred Upton, by the way out there in West Michigan was one of the four, along with now independent Amash to support the resolution condemning the President's racist tweeting.

But as far as running for president, you know, One theory is, if you start having these independent candidates, all you do in effect is split the anti-Trump vote, people who want to fire Trump now have two choices instead of one. So under that theory, which I think is generally true, having other candidates run against the president, other than the official nominee of the democrats is a good thing for Trump.

But Amash is a little different because he's very ideological. He's from the libertarian wing of the party. And if he were to run, particularly only in a couple of states, and I think it would be a combination of obviously, Michigan, maybe Wisconsin and kind of that great lakes orbit. And you know, the other way to do it is go to some states that are red states, where the Dems don't have a chance, but if you have somebody else, coming at Trump highly ideologically, and that's the key to this, not just as anti-Trump or trying to get, you know, suburban Republicans who don't like Trump, but but as a strong libertarian Republican on fiscal issues on second amendment issues on issues that Democratic voters will not be so interested in. Could he pulled 1020 30,000 votes and a Michigan or Wisconsin away from Trump that might have been with Trump otherwise? Then it gets a little interesting because you know, you only need a thumb on a couple of scales here to change the presidential race.

So generically, I'm dubious of other minor party candidates, because it splits the anti-Trump vote. But if it was ideological enough, and he is honestly that person, you know, maybe there is a little micro campaign in a couple of states that would be that would be powerful. Now, I don't think he'll get many votes, period, this is going to be such a passion election that people are going to pick their side and dig in. So I don't think it'll be a major factor. But it could be could be kind of an interesting, interesting little sidebar in the Great Lakes area.

Walt Sorg 20:38
Michigan, Michigan, Michigan, and seems like we're all in all we hear from the national pundits on what's going to be happening in 2020. And a lot of people yourself included point to McComb County a lot is kind of the bellwether. My sense is really that the real story in Michigan's what's happening in Oakland County, the second-largest county in the state, which has been trending bluer and bluer and bluer. The two seats that were flipped congressional seats that were flipped in the last election, both in Oakland County.

Mike Murphy 21:05
Yeah, I agree with that, actually, that the Michigan story about McComb county is kind of dated, you know, the press loves these metaphors. Where the big change is, McComb has been getting more and more red and Oakland big important county is getting more and more blue. And so I think also, you know, gotta keep an eye on Traverse City in that area, which has had growth but not rock red republican grow. So and even West Michigan is not kind of what it used to be. So Michigan is still a true swing state.

And, you know, Trump won not by the normal republican formula. We win in Michigan by he didn't necessarily do so well in some of those places. But he hyper performed in you know, around Saginaw, McComb, some of those places where you're going to find a lot of college, excuse me, non-college educated, middle class white working voters. So the question is, will Trump hang on to those people will he arguably will decline in other places?

And you know, I'm watching the Democratic primary now thinking, boy, they, they understand the incentives in the primary but they're not reading the general election tea leaves about how to beat Trump the industrial Midwest because they're, they're going into some issue positions that are going to give Trump a lot to work with. I mean, the country's ready to fire Trump his polling data is terrible. It's been terrible for a long time, every election test we've had since Trump was inaugurated, which I call the mark to market moment. We Republicans have done somewhere from mediocre to awful. So it's pretty obvious what's going on in the big picture. But what we don't know is who the Democratic nominee will be. And if the dems decide to make a big progressive statement this year, they're going to add a ton of risk to an election where they start with advantages and they could blow it they really could.

Walt Sorg 22:50
It seems to me that and I get a lot of argument from my more progressive friends, that the formula for winning in the Midwest for winning Pennsylvania, for winning Michigan for winning Wisconsin is the formula really the Gretchen Whitmer used to get elected governor she beat Bill Schuette by 10 points in a state that obviously Trump won by seven tenths of a point two years earlier.

Mike Murphy 23:12
Yeah, and I agree, I think there was some Trump tailwind to her because people, you know, his numbers have declined there. But yeah, look, we Michigan is always a good laboratory for what works in politics. And if you're a Michigan Democrat, you got to build a coalition, which gets you both urban voters, but you got to be competitive in the suburbs, and you can't get totally destroyed in rural Michigan, you know, there are pieces to it. And she did that quite well. That's not in Trump's playbook.

He'll he'll try to run up the real numbers, and he'll he'll try on race and other issues to gin up places like Macomb. You know, the problem is if the dems decide the big problem in the Midwest, and in Michigan, particular as well, you know, we were 10-11,000 votes short there. So the key is is city of Detroit, which did underperform a little bit for Hillary. But you know, if they go run an aggressive, highly progressive campaign with a lot of identity politics in it and try to run up to try it a bit, they're probably succeed, but they're going to give Trump the advantage a lot of other places, they're going to scare the suburbs away, even though they're uncomfortable with Trump. And Trump's gonna be able to rev up those working class, you know, white men who without a college education that are his bread and butter, you know, the dems oughta know, they ought to think about attracting the people that can't seem to get rather than turning up the heat on the war against those voters. But you know, it's hard to do general election strategy in a primary where everybody's chasing the short term incentive to get, you know, the endorsement of the Oakland County Karl Marx league or whatever, and they're all falling into that trap.

Now, maybe at this new debate coming up, and Axe and I are watching this tightly for the podcast, and we'll do a post-debate report on Hacks on Tap, but he there's an opening for some democrat and the polling showed that there that they're not all progressive, you know, this. There's an opening for somebody, maybe it's Klobuchar. Maybe it's Biden, you know, over the two nights and say, Hey, wait a minute, maybe this whole idea of decriminalizing crossing the border. And you know, seizing whether it's union or corporate paid, private health insurance is not so good. In fact, I'm not going to do that kind of stuff, to carve out a little of that regular democratic space where there are a ton of primary voters, they're just not being served well by the candidates right now, at least on issues.

Walt Sorg 24:46
You're going to have with the debate. You've got the rematch of Biden and Harris on one night, and then you've got the two progressives going head to head the other night. Is that going to drown out the other 16 candidates?

Mike Murphy 25:42
Well, I think that's a threat, particularly for the other 16 candidates. I think the Biden Kamala rematch is a bit of a gift to Biden, because now the expectations are on both of them to do well. Because she was the big Biden killer in debate one, but but if you study her she's very good at kind of preaching to the hall, she's good on the scripted moment. But when she's not in the scripted place, out on the campaign trail, she tends to trip over her feet a little bit. So it on the rematch of Biden, who is going to be expected to be weak, but maybe improve does really well. I mean, she was vulnerable, he can say last time we debated you attacked me for having the same position on busing you have, you know, if he can put her back on our heels and have a little comeback. It could be very, very good for him.

It's also the first debate where Cory Booker is on the stage with both of them who's pretty charismatic guy and didn't do bad in the first debate so that there's an opportunity if Joe can get his A game together, which we have not seen yet. And maybe that's the thing of the past. That's the big question. But if Joe can perform, he might be able to crawl back into this thing a little bit, media is ready to give them a comeback if he can do it. So that'll be interesting.

And you're right about the first debate that's going to be the lefty bowl between Bernie and Warren, who I think is the candidate right now with the most energy in the field who's moving up in the most powerful way and is definitely an A level contender for the nomination. And Bernie has been in a slow but steady decline. If he doesn't reverse that. She is going to she's going to you can argue it has take the lead as the big progressive candidate, which is extremely valuable real estate and the Democratic primary this year,

Walt 27:20
especially when the field is going to be narrowed regret drastically after this debate, we could be down to even the top five, certainly no more than 10.

Walt Sorg 27:28
I think the other thing about Monday, the first debate Excuse me, is this is the first time Steve Bullock is going to be there, the Governor of Montana, and people have not seen his act yet so to speak. And I mean that not in a pejorative way, just in terms of the how he presents himself as a candidate and kind of the showbiz way. He's pretty good. And he is, unlike the rest. he's a he's a bit of a populist cowboy. And if he can get a little microphone time, he is going to make an impression. I think there'd be a lot of talk about him afterward. He's kind of the hit record that nobody's heard yet now that progressives won't like him, because he's not a progressive. But if they nominate that guy, Trump's in big trouble. He's a natural and he's more of a centrist. And I wouldn't be surprised if, among the second tier people, his debut will make a lot of waves and there'll be a lot more people talking about Governor Bullock after the debate than there are today.

Mike, really appreciate you joining us on this podcast as Hacks on Tap is your podcast, along with Pod Save America and maybe the New York Times Daily are the go to podcasts, I think, for politics on the web right now. Thank you so much.

Mike Murphy 28:35
Well, thank you for having me. And again, I I don't live there anymore. My dad does. So I keep a big ear and I am Michigan politics. So keep doing a great job covering it. And I'll be tuning in.

Walt 28:46
And we'll look forward to having you in Detroit.

Mike Murphy 28:50
I think I might be getting out there for that. I'll go down to Lafayette Coney Island, not American. Anyway, take care, man. Thanks for having me Walt.

Walt Sorg 28:58
Thanks Mike.

Amy Kerr Hardin 29:04
That's it for this week's podcast. Thanks to Mike Murphy for joining us.

Christine Barry 29:08
For more information, links and videos on today's topics. Head over to for a cyber overload of information. We welcome your comments, suggestions and questions and you can always drop us a line at MI podcast at gmail com.

Walt 29:24
For Amy Kerr Hardin and Christine Barry, I'm Walt Sorg. Thanks for spending a little time with us.



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