Polling, fake awards, Oakland County, election integrity, and Fred Karger on being gay in the GOP

August 19, 2019

Michigan Policast for Monday, August 5, 2019

  In this episode:

  • Fox News poll shows bad news for Trump
  • Crooked Media poll shows Trump may be ok in swing states
  • Michigan Man of the Year
  • Daniel Dale on how to tell when Trump is going to lie
  • Oakland County drama
  • Election integrity
  • Interview: Fred Karger, first openly gay presidential candidate in a major political party
  • Transcript


Jump to:

Fox News poll shows bad news for Trump

Poll: 46% say the country is less safe from mass shootings due to Donald TrumpClick To Tweet

Crooked Media poll shows Trump may be ok in swing states

Crooked Media poll shows that immigration is a top priority to Wisconsin voters. Unfortunately, immigration is one of the things Donald Trump lies about the most. Click To Tweet

Michigan Man of the Year

List of other Michigan Man of the Year recipients:

Daniel Dale on how to tell when Trump is going to lie


The President tells a lot of stories in which he recounts someone telling him something, and I found that when the unnamed person telling him something calls him “sir,” that story is almost certain to be innacurate. ~ Daniel Dale


Oakland County drama

Election Integrity



Interview: Fred Karger, first openly gay presidential candidate in a major political party

When I started in politics I was part of a republican party that was very different. I've been fighting to keep it a little more in the center for many, many years and kind of hanging on by my fingernails these days. ~ @fredkargerClick To Tweet
'We've got this stellar candidate in @PeteButtigieg, who I think is really good to go all the way next year, and I'm very proud to support him.' ~@FredKarger Click To Tweet
When #RockHudson came out, it really had an impact on the Reagan's, because they've been longtime friends of Rock Hudson and that changed the Reagans' perspective on things. ~@FredKargerClick To Tweet
'I was never much involved with the @LogCabinGOP because I was too moderate for them, but I hope they are successful because when @hrc and @glaad and @thetaskforce have no clout, you want that voice in the room. ~@FredKargerClick To Tweet



Donald Trump 0:04
I've been saying your car industry is being sucked away from Michigan is happening. if I'm elected, you won't lose one plant. You'll have plants coming into this country, you're going to have jobs that you won't lose one plant. I promise you. I promise you.

Walt Sorg 0:20
Our Donald Trump audio of the week is a throwback to the 2016 campaign and still another bullshit promise. This is the Michigan Policast. I'm Walt Sorg. I'm proud to have been named Michigan pundit of the year.

Christine Barry 0:32
I'm Christine Barry. A lot of people are saying this is the Michigan podcast of the year. And this week on the podcast of the year we will be looking at a couple of polls, one with lots of bad news for Trump and the other demonstrating that he's got a little bit of hope.

Amy Kerr Hardin 0:46
I'm Amy Kerr Hardin, recently named Michigan columnist of the year Robert Mueller has warned us that the Russians are hard at work trying to ratf*ck our election again, we'll look at what is and what isn't being done to protect our most important democratic right.

Walt Sorg 1:01
And our guest this week is the first LGBTQ candidate for president and a major political party. And no, it isn't Pete Buttigieg, and it isn't even a Democrat. We begin though with a couple of polls. that tell us a lot about the state of the national electorate. 15 months before the presidential election. First, a poll conducted on behalf of fox news that had so much bad news for Donald Trump, that they buried the results deep inside their website. Christine, what are the top lines for the poll that give republicans concern?

Christine Barry 1:30
Well, there were a few interesting things that I gleaned from this poll, I think the one that really stands out is the Trump disapproval rating, which right now is at 56% disapproval. The thing that really underscores that is that the number of people who are saying they don't know what they think, is at an all-time low, that's down to 1%. So it seems like people have really started to make up their minds. And they know how they're feeling at least right now, as you know, these polls are informative, but they don't really predict anything.

Walt Sorg 2:04
It's also interesting that his strongly disapproval rating is at an all-time high 48% of that 56% strongly disapprove of the President's job performance.

Christine Barry 2:16
And if you look a little bit further into it, how satisfied with the way things are going 59% are not satisfied with 35% saying not at all. So saying they're strongly dissatisfied with the way things are going. Not good news, not good news there. If you go a little bit further into it, you'll see Trump's matchup against the candidates, he doesn't do really well against any of them. He never in Trump versus Biden in particular, he never gets closer than seven. Biden has a wide lead over him. And even if the margin of error, which is plus or minus four, even if that favored him and the undecided to break for him, he just never catches Biden, except for there was one week where was really allow. And so he would have, he would have come pretty close to there.

Walt Sorg 3:04
What I thought was interesting, too, and they match them up against Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. In each case, he was at 40% or lower voting for him doesn't matter who the candidate was. He's pretty much locked in with his base of 40%.

Christine Barry 3:18
He is here's one thing that I thought was interesting was another question in the poll was whether the country is safer now and they asked a couple of different things. One is one focused on Islamic terrorism. For the most part that was a wash 32% said the country is safer from that 32% said less safe. 33% said no difference. really didn't mean a lot to me, although a lot of Donald Trump's talk is about I mean, he talks it talks about Islam a lot. And then the mass shootings 15% said that we were safer from mass shootings with Donald Trump 46% said less safe. And 36% said no difference. So we still have a majority who do not agree that he and his rhetoric has made it worse. That still 46% less safe is a big number

Walt Sorg 4:14
Media polls tend to focus on the horse race, who's winning who's behind? What's the gap between the front runners, the folks at crooked media producers of that great podcast pod save America did a different kind of poll. The podcasters at Crooked are all veterans of the Obama campaigns. So they did a poll providing information that candidates need to win in a swing state. They polled Wisconsin one of the three Midwest states that Trump won by a total of 80,000 votes, one of the three Midwest states that basically made him president. Amy, what messages to this poll find the most and least effective?

Amy Kerr Hardin 4:46
I love the pod save guys, they cleverly call their polling the pollercoaster, they've derisively spoken of traditional polling in the past. So they got a little bit creative with this one, because they feel Wisconsin is a critical state to the democrats and 22 money. They ask probing questions of Democrats, independents and Republicans that were specially designed for those particular groups. And some of the things they found was that in Wisconsin, Trump's approval rating and favor ability numbers are hovering right around 50%, which is higher than the rest of the nation. He's neck and neck with a generic Democratic candidate. Of course, that could change either way, once we determine who that candidate is. Republican voters seem to be obsessed with immigration and Wisconsin, which is kind of silly, because, you know, they don't have a whole lot of immigration, as you know, from the southern border there. But it just goes to show how Trump's messaging and messaging has been so very effective in a state in the north. Given all this voters still believe Trump is a self serving corrupt, racist. Apparently, a number of them do not care at least 50%. Medicare for this is interesting to me, Medicare for all pulled better than a public option for Wisconsin voters. And health care was the number one issue for Democrats. So I think that if they dig into the numbers, the Democratic candidates can really get some traction with this information. And hopefully, pad save guys are going to do this and other key swing states, swing states.

Christine Barry 6:16
A couple of interesting things that I that I found was that manufacturing really rebounded from the recession. But the other parts of their economy really didn't rebound as much. And their wages are growing less than the national average. They're feeling good, I guess. But there are some numbers that don't really support that in terms of the economy,

Walt Sorg 6:42
in terms of messaging against Donald Trump. What they found was in Wisconsin, that the most effective message was Trump is a phony populist whose government as a plutocrat and not as somebody who's for the people. And the biggest message that was worked against him, was saying Trump has not drained the swamp. When they tested the message. Trump has drain the swamp, they only got 33%, agreed 60%, who disagreed. And even amongst Republicans, it wasn't positive for we get 66% of the Republicans agree that he's drain the swamp, and nearly a third saying that he hadn't.

Amy Kerr Hardin 7:20
I think if the Democratic candidates message very clearly on immigration policy, as opposed to just allowing Trump and Republicans to say that we're for open borders, and it's just I think that that could be very effective, and then also to come through with some comforting words on healthcare.

Walt Sorg 7:37
Okay, you mentioned earlier, Amy, that the Medicare for all message did a bit better with Democrats and Republicans than the public option message. But independents were evenly split on the public option. And there were negative attitudes towards Medicare for all by a 13 point margin amongst the independence, which is I think, probably where you really need to focus your messaging.

Christine Barry 7:55
What else I found interesting was that, although wages aren't growing that fast, the supplemental benefits to wages are growing at a faster pace. And that's due in part to the increasing medical costs that employers are taking on. So I don't know if there is a healthcare story there about your supplemental benefits be that money could be shifted into wages, if we had a public option. I don't know if it would resonate a little bit more if people understood that in Wisconsin, Wisconsin, it's a funny story, isn't it?

Walt Sorg 8:28
Yeah, it is a funny story. They did barely have a democratic sweep statewide in the last election, yet the thanks to gerrymandering lost the legislature big time. And so it's a very, it really is a 50/50 state. The other thing that the poll found the Trump's most effective messages on jobs, creating jobs, strengthening the economy. And of course, this poll was taken before the fears of recession really made the front pages of the newspapers. And I would think if this economy starts to slow down, does go into recession. He's toast.

Christine Barry 9:02
I actually agree what right now they have a very tight labor market. And going back to what I said earlier about the supplemental benefits increasing faster than wages there, part of that was because the lower wage jobs, the labor market was so tight that people started adding benefits to these non career low wage jobs. And so if that loosens up, I wonder also what that might do to the employers feeling that they need to be competitive enough to offer those kinds of benefits.

Amy Kerr Hardin 9:33
Yeah, the upward pressure would be helpful. But if we do have a looming recession, as many economists are predicting them to have just put the kibosh on the whole deal.

Walt Sorg 9:42
I think summarizing this entire poll, in the Midwest, what's going to work most effectively for Democrats is running a campaign similar the one that Gretchen Whitmer used to be elected governor of Michigan, very practical, very focused on bread and butter issues, and getting away from things like the Mueller report in the current corruption, that that was that is exposed and focusing on jobs, on healthcare, on taxes and on really the class differential now, especially with the income gap between most people in the 1%.

A couple of political notes in the news this week, when he wasn't busy figuring out how to buy Greenland. Our fearless leader was reminiscing about being named at Michigan Man of the Year. And we kind of alluded to that in our open Christine as co host of the Michigan podcast of the year. What's your take?

Christine Barry 10:35
It's so goofy, a little bit background on this that he first referred to himself as getting this award, Michigan man of the year before the 2016 election a couple days before that at a campaign rally in Sterling Heights. He said he was honored five years prior Man of the Year in Michigan, blah, blah, blah. A couple of years later, he's president at this time, he's roundtable for CEOs of the auto automotive industry. And at that Roundtable, he mentioned that he had received the Michigan Man of the Year award. He kind of mentioned it in a conversation that referenced then-congressman Dave Trott, who had invited him to an Oakland County Republican Party, Lincoln Day dinner and they gave him a framed copy of the Gettysburg Address as an appreciation gift for coming. So a 2013 dinner in Oakland County. Apparently Trump mistook this as being named Michigan Man of the Year, still Trott didn't want to correct him, because they're in front of all these CEOs. And this is just based on Dave Trott's speculation. I mean, it's possible that Trump has always thought he was Michigan's Man of the Year, I don't know. But Dave Trott is speculating that because of the way that it was brought up in 2017, he thought that Trump just misunderstood they framed copy of the Gettysburg Address.

Walt Sorg 12:07
There's one little problem with this whole thing. There is no Michigan Man of the Year award.

Amy Kerr Hardin 12:12
I was just gonna ask that. Well, he is a malignant narcissist. So it's not surprising at all that he thinks that he's a Michigan Man of the Year.

Christine Barry 12:19
But he's so good for the fact-checking economy, right? Because now, you know, he's got people running around looking for what the f This is so and, and it was CNN and Huffington Post and a few others, they're, they're calling people there. They contacted the Chamber of Commerce. They looked at to the Detroit News because they have a Michiganders of the year. They call it Michiganians, but I refuse to give in to that. They looked into what Rick Snyder had done, they went looking for this award and nobody has it. And so in doing a little bit of background research on this I, I came across this Jake Tapper conversation with Daniel Dale, I don't know if you know Daniel Dale, but he's the fact checker. He's been the main fact checker for Trump he fact-checks everything, which has got to be just the most depressing job in the world. When Trump tells a story, he has a tell and he starts out the story with sir. Somebody says, sir, we want to give you this Michigan Man of the Year award. And in these stories when Trump is recalling something that happened, it's not so much a recollection. Yes, it is just sort of a story. And it always starts with someone unnamed calling him sir. Sir, we want to give you this Michigan man and the word Man of the Year award. And he said, I don't even know what it was from.  I wasn't political at the time. All I was doing was talking about cars. They said, Sir, we don't want you to talk about cars. He says no, I got to talk about cars, cars of the problem. And then they gave me this Michigan Man of the Year. I didn't even know why. I'm just gonna sit here and humble brag, you know, which is why Twitter is such a great platform for me because it's humble bragging all the time. It's it's just yet another lie. But it's such a I mean, what purpose does this lie serve?

Walt Sorg 14:17
Will he even believe it? I think the greatest solution that came from David Trott, the former Congressman, he said the easiest solution is for the governor to just give him the award. I don't think crushing Whitmer is going to take that advice, though.

Christine Barry 14:30
You know, his base just eats this up like a shark to chum. Yeah. I mean, I mean, they just love it. So they're going to start petitions they're going to be talking about well, he won the, you know, he won Michigan in 2016. So that made him a man of the year. There's no end to their imagination to justify this weird stuff.

Walt Sorg 14:52
Another weird story that has Oakland County ties came to a combination this week, although it's going to continue in the courts. And that is the selection of somebody for one of the most powerful elected positions in the state. It was filled with a lawsuit tainted acrimonious and Tangled process. The job is executive of Oakland County, the second largest and Michigan. Republican help Brooks Patterson held the job for 27 years until his death earlier this year. Now the county for now at least is run by a democrat Ferndale Mayor Dave Coulter. Amy Oakland was once I red Bastion, a rock-solid republican domain that's come to an end. All four Congresspersons from Oakland County are Democrats, Andy Levin, Elyssa Slotkin, Brenda Lawrence, and Haley Stevens, but we don't we are sure that Dave Coulter is going to be the county executive for very long. We've got court cases, what's the mess they've created?

Amy Kerr Hardin 15:43
Oh, it is a mess. local politics gotta love it. never speak ill of the dad is what they say. So I'm going to say this about L Brooks Patterson first, that he was quite a character, often entertainingly. So he spoke his mind with no filter. This is a new era for my hometown County, hopefully. They threatened court cases to stop this nomination and the appointment in just a comedy of bad process. When they appointed Coulter as the new exec, one democratic board member resigned then rescinded his resignation. So he could vote to vote Coulter and and that resulted in Republican members thriving, threatening even more litigation. It's, you know, local politics.

Walt Sorg 16:26
Well, it's interesting they filed the court cases, of course, are generally very leery of intervening in legislative branch decisions in terms of their internal operations that we've run into that at the state level a lot. But I really got a giggle out of David Woodward. He resigned so he could be considered for Oakland County Executive because he couldn't be considered while he was a member of the board, then he unresigned because he's not going to be selected. Unresigning is a wonderful concept.

Amy Kerr Hardin 16:53
But they didn't vote on it. So that's that's his premise for why he is was able to underside because the whole board his devote to it resignation, and they had not done so yet.

Christine Barry 17:07
The foundation of a democracy is the belief that elections are fair and the results are accurate. Michigan took a major step forward toward fairness with the passage of proposals two and three last year. But can we be sure that the numbers are that are reported are accurate? Amy, you've been looking into this issue and what have you found?

Amy Kerr Hardin 17:28
Well, Walt sent me a link to a 2014 report from the Michigan Election Reform Alliance, which warned of all the holes in our election system in the form of voter tabulations being off by up to 2%, which in many races is the razor-thin edge by which it can be decided they found Michigan's tabulate is inaccurate and well below the federally required standards. Beyond that, our elections across the country are very hackable. I'm simply disconnecting voting machines from the internet doesn't protect them, foreign governments can employ, I suppose domestic people could employ what's called the air gap connection hack, whereby they infect the machines with malware through going to unprotected county computers like the county clerks. And when the county clerk uploads the ballot design, and then takes that thumb drive over and puts it in the voter machine. That's where the malware comes from. And we actually invented this,  American spies invented it, it's called Stuxnet, the Stuxnet hack of the Iranian computer. So we taught them how to do it. All 50 states for the target of Russian hacks in 2016. Yet Senator Mitch McConnell refuses to move on the House Bill providing $775 million in election security funding, and primaries are right around the corner.

Walt Sorg 18:46
His name is Moscow Mitch, you're going to get that right.

Christine Barry 18:49
That's right. One of the interesting things that came out a few days ago was this letter from FEC chair, Ellen Weintraub, she sent out a letter to President Trump say you keep repeating these accusations about New Hampshire being stolen from you, based on thousands and thousands of people being shipped in to vote against you. So please provide evidence of this. And she justifies it with a couple of things. One is that people have to be able to trust their elections, and two, the things you say are being used to justify laws that actually discourage people from voting. So on the one hand, you have Moscow Mitch refusing to help secure elections. And on the other, you have Trump saying, well, we would have had New Hampshire, but it was stolen from us, I assume that it's a coordinated effort to just make people so disgusted that they don't participate. It may be working that fox poll, we looked at earlier, said that, you know, more people are just disgusted with politics, although it didn't really define what politics was. So you know, politics could be really anything. It could be people fighting, it could be policy, it could be whatever issue they care about, so we don't know. But you can see that they don't have a consistent policy, or even philosophy, about how to deal with elections, they just demagogue it.

Walt Sorg 20:26
One thing that Michigan's got going forward is that all of our elections have paper backup. So there can be manual recount, if necessary. And it's actual paper ballot where people fill in the dots and all of that, in some states, they don't have that, although in Georgia, they just had a court order telling them for 2020, you've got to have a paper backup for all of the ballots that we simply don't trust the computers to do all the work because of this hacking problem. And then you've got the thing that I've been pushing, which hasn't gotten a whole lot of momentum. And that is to go completely to paper ballots that you fill out at home and mail in. And we don't even have individual tab letters at the various polling places. Because we don't have individual polling places anymore. Everything goes straight to your local clerk. And they're tabulated there. And it's a lot harder to hack at that level than it is to hack machine tabular letters, countywide or statewide

Amy Kerr Hardin 21:22
Back in 2016 when alarm bells started ringing about potential hacks of our election, and our voting machines, and so forth, a lot of pundits got on the air and said, well really don't have to worry, because we've got such a patchwork of different types of voting machines. And it's different from county to county and state to state. But if the Russians or any other foreign body wanted to hack our election, they could do it, all they'd have to do is identify those very specific races and precincts that they need to flip. And so we we have to be very vigilant, we need that 775 plus million dollars to take care of this problem,

Walt Sorg 21:58
You know, when we're problem too is you've got a lot of voting systems that are using Windows software that's no longer supported by Microsoft.

Christine Barry 22:05
As long as our elections are dependent upon whether or not we should spend money on them, we're going to have a problem with these budget considerations. I know that you know, budgets are real, and you have to consider where you spend money. But elections should be a priority. safeguarding the election should be a priority. But another point that we haven't talked about was, it doesn't even have to be a state actor trying to disrupt the elections. It could be anybody.

Walt Sorg 22:37
It could be a kid in his basement in New Jersey,

Christine Barry 22:40
And they don't have to go after any of the voting machines, with people that you know, we talk about the voting machines, I have to secure the voting machines, well, all you'd really have to do is take down the power grid for a few hours, or do something else to disrupt the infrastructure. I don't think it's a simple thing to do. But that's because I don't have any idea how to do it. But you could, you could use Stuxnet for that in a couple of key places. Just in Michigan, just think in Michigan, a couple of key counties in Michigan, and just throw it into disarray. And, you know, next thing, you know, Kwame Kilpatrick is Mayor again, you know, what I mean? I just anything you could, you could really affect the outcome of an election just by taking down the power grid.

Pete Buttigieg has the distinction of being a gay man who is a serious contender for the Democratic presidential nomination. He's often labeled as the first major party gay candidate, but that's not the case. What one of your high school classmates was actually the first.

Walt Sorg 23:50
That is correct in 2012. Former actor and gay rights activist Fred Karger ran for the Republican presidential nomination, saying he wanted to throw monkey wrench into the Mitt Romney campaign. Because Romney's religion, the Mormons did not at that time allow children of gay couples to be baptized. Fred and I came from the same town in the suburbs of Chicago, we graduated two years apart from the same high school. Ironically, at the same time, we were in high school, five miles away to another high school, there was a student by the name of Hillary Rodham. And I don't know if we ever cross paths or not. That's one of those stories that I can make up later that I actually met Hillary Rodham when she was in high school. Chances are I didn't, but it makes for a good story. A few days ago, I had the chance to talk with Fred from his California home about the differences between his campaign and that of Mayor Pete, whom Fred has endorsed and is actively backing.

Fred back in 1972. Shirley Chisholm, a representative from New York ran for president, the first African American to run for a major party presidential nomination. Everybody knew, of course, that she would lose. But she set a precedent and made it possible for Hillary Clinton made it possible for Barack Obama, African American, and a woman to run later and be taken seriously. Your campaign eight years ago, wasn't that really the same sort of thing?

Fred Karger 25:02
Yes. And actually just wrote an op-ed for the advocate yesterday, commending Shirley Chisholm and just what a huge difference she made the entire democratic field this year, I think without 20 candidates who got five women, we've got certainly an African American woman among them, comma Harris and the top tier who of course, dedicated her campaign to Shirley Chisholm. So yes, I really pattern a lot of what I did, after what Shirley Chisholm had done in 1972 because she was a real Trailblazer, who helped pave the way for all these other candidates.

Walt Sorg 25:36
a lot of people listening to this podcast would think Republican, gay, those two things don't come together.

Fred Karger 25:42
A little unusual, that's for sure. And I've just kind of a stubborn guy. But when I started in politics in my head, about six years old, I was part of a republican party that was very different. Dwight Eisenhower when I was campaigning at stations and in our hometown, Glencoe, Illinois with my dad and kind of continued through that process. And then the republican party started to veer to the right, but I've been fighting to keep it a little more in the center for many, many years and kind of hanging on by my fingernails these days. But I'm I'm kind of stuck and, and I think the Democratic Party and certainly the no political parties have gained tremendous the Republican Party is going to have to change its way or it will be extinct.

Walt Sorg 26:26
The Civil Rights Movement for African Americans has moved awfully slowly from the days of the Emancipation Proclamation forward and still a massive problem. LGBTQ rights, though, on the other hand, seems to move very quickly once the dam was burst. Are you surprised by how quickly it went from Fred the oddity to Mayor Pete The Contender?

Fred Karger 26:49
Yes, very quick. In 1969 50 years ago, the Stonewall Riots happened and it's really been at record speed, I think is how far the civil rights movement has moved. And part of it is, those of us who are in the closet, like I was for, for much of my adult life, are able to live a very different life these days, making it easier for you for younger generations now to be able to come out and, and be authentic and and get the love and embrace of their family and friends and co-workers. And so that's what's really moved the needle. I think so much so many people are out and proud. And, and the the it's even happening and a lot of the say the best of families look at you know, Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney, very, very conservative, but when they were Vice President, and when he was vice president and George W. Bush was crusading all over the country to put these constitutional amendments in place to ban gay marriage. Dick Cheney, rarely partnered with Bush, but he did on that issue in an election year because he has a gay daughter whom they love with two kids and a wife. So, you know, that's what's really helping to change things now. And I'm proud to be a part of that. It was it was a tough battle for me. As you know, I was the Michigan primary ballot in 2012. I got a lot of opposition, not so much from the Republican Party there or the secretary state to include me on the ballot, but from other parts of the country and I I persevered and now we've got this stellar candidate and Pete Buttigieg, who I think is really good to go all the way next year, and I'm very proud to support him.

Walt Sorg 28:25
As you look at the fundraising totals for Mayor Pete, one of the things I felt that it's going to help keep him in the race as he builds support is that you've got a core, just as Barack Obama had a core that he could depend on when he first became a candidate, until he was more generally accepted. And financially having the LGBT community behind you. That's a pretty big deal that can sustain you for a while in the campaign.

Fred Karger 28:48
He has done a tremendous job of tapping into that. I remember when I first one of the first gay pride parades I was participating in as a candidate was the New York private parade in 2011. And I remember going down Fifth Avenue, and there are a million people at that parade. And I just kept thinking to myself, if there's a way to capture this demographic, LGBTQ Americans and all the allies, financially voting wise, every other way that that can be a huge leg up for any candidate. Now, of course, I was running as a Republican. So it was a very difficult goal to achieve. But Pete, who comes in with great, you know, great quality, great experience, and then a certain ability in a different time and place to capitalize on the community. And then of course, you've got Wall Street that's very excited about them. Hollywood is very excited about them. I was my partner and I, Joe Wagner, we're co-chairing co-hosting this big event at Ryan Murphy's home a big producer out here in Beverly Hills. And I think, I don't know if they raised half a million dollars for it end up getting postponed. It's going to happen later. But you know, he just as all these celebrities, all these Yeah, Hollywood, individuals, gay, straight, everything to to really rally around him because he's such a unique candidate.

Walt Sorg 30:09
since the days of Stonewall, one of the other events, ironically, that coincided almost with your campaign was the emergence of Rock Hudson, somebody who went to the same high school you and I went to as a kind of turning the page a little bit on attitudes,

Fred Karger 30:25
you know, Rock Hudson, whom I knew because I was a friend of his in the 70s, I go to his home, I was at his 50th birthday party and guest-starred on McMillan and Wife which was his big show, very, very closeted he was with Tom Clark for 17 years of a contemporary and you know, they have some pretty good knockdown, drag out fights, but they got along great. And then, you know, he courageously came out after he was diagnosed with HIV AIDS, which, for somebody who who lived in the closet for as long as he did, who married a woman to try and keep a secret and save his career which he he kept, you know, very separate from his personal life was was so significant, because not only did it really share with the world, the plight of HIV and how it, you know, goes for anybody, and anyone is susceptible. But I think it really had an impact on the Reagan's, because they've been longtime friends of Rock Hudson and I think that really changed the Reagan's perspective on things and got him a little bit off the dime when he was, you know, on the sidelines and not doing anything to help in that crisis, which impacted so many of us. So, you know, hats off to Rock Hudson, I said at the time, you know, he did a huge service for, for, for a lot of us, who were still closeted, and then certainly for those people who were HIV positive and suffering from the plague that, you know, still is with us, but it's so much better now.

Walt Sorg 31:57
For many years, the log cabin republicans LGBTQ members of the Republican Party, were a force in the party. Does that group even exists now as a force?

Fred Karger 32:07
They're around, there are even more of a force I don't really think they were a force too much. They were kind of outcasts. They were I mean, it was about two years ago, the California Republican Party finally recognized California Log Cabin Republicans.

Walt Sorg 32:22
Is there still a California Republican Party?

Fred Karger 32:26
No, not really. It keeps shrinking. It's amazing. It's like washing a cotton shirt and hot water and drying it, shrink it up. And the numbers are at their all-time lowest. But they you know, they were taken over by the far-right and have been pretty successful in that although some of them have parted company some of these chairs very, very conservative and, and have come to some log cabin events. So they've kind of chipped away at the far right in there. But you know, they've just not had the kind of impact I think they'd hoped to have. And it's small. And you know, it's tough being a gay Republican, I've not really been involved with log cabin, they were very kind of the most part hostile to my campaign because I'm, you know, far more moderate progressive on so many issues. So, and I think they kind of resented me. But a few I had a I had a forced my way to speak at their national convention, you know, the first openly gay candidate in history, and I'm a Republican, and they didn't even invite me to their national convention. And I was fine with that. But then a friend of mine who was involved interceded, and they had me kind of keynote, their legends speaker and on a panel, but you know, they're there. They're trying, I commend them. They're trying to be that elephant in the room. And they forced a lot of change within the party. And I hope they continue. And I hope they get some funding, because these LGBT organizations that have such huge amount of money are effective. But then when they do when the republicans are in power, like we saw, for the first half of the Trump administration, in both houses of Congress, the presidency, the HRC and GLAAD and, you know, taskforce are all kind of, you know, neutered because they have no clout at all. And so you need to have a voice in that room and the log cabin, Republicans were that voice. And I know, there are some good appointments and the administration, but you know, they're just very small, they've got a one or two-person office, and they just need some good funding and backing and they could be a real force in the party.

Walt Sorg 34:25
Let's project forward a little bit to the general election campaign and assume that Pete Buttigieg is on the national ticket, either number one or number two, you've experienced the bigotry. You've experienced the slurs, and the snickers and all of that. How do you think the republicans go after him?

Fred Karger 34:42
I'm sure that they'll be you know, certainly from the President on down if he is the nominee or on the ticket, that they'll certainly unleash everything. I'm sure there are plenty of the democrats looking into every bit of his background, because he's come on so strong and especially successful. But I think after you know, what will be four years of Donald Trump that America will be ready for some stability, somebody calm, bright, thoughtful, respectful. And Pete is that guy in spades. I mean, I've never seen a candidate like him when I went to his first. His first public appearance I went to was in Brooklyn, New York and mid-February and was just, you know, a couple weeks after he announced his exploratory committee, and it was at the Brooklyn library. I'm thinking Oh, and get there right at 7:30am. She'll be plenty of seats. Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, how many people are you going to? Is he going to turn out in Brooklyn, New York? Well, was I wrong? So they had about 50 people waiting outside this auditorium about 350 inside lining the the the back of the hall the sides to everything was seat was filled. Everybody was riveted by his comments, as was I. And that's the kind of ability he has, he's getting a little lost in the debates because it's hard to make any noise when there's 10 people.  I was in Detroit last week, I went to both debates. It's a very difficult position in a minute or 30 seconds to really have an impact. But when the field narrows, as it's happening, I think we're going to see a lot of people really looking to, to him to to be our next president. And I think he has that ability to really carry forth his plans and his ideas and be a conciliator and that's one of things I really like about him he is he's it has that ability to get along with Republicans and Democrats and independents and and really make a difference and put Coalition's together and that's what this country really is lacking and and I think he's the guy to do it now. Excited to endorse them and support them and I maxed out and I'm a bundler form which I've never done, which is actually the easiest fundraise of my life. People were beating down the door to get able to go to this event we're co-hosting because, you know, kind of a star-studded event but they just liked him so much. And they had it turned down a lot of people which is hate to do it a fundraiser, actually $800 a pop but they had to do it because the home was limited size, but I'm excited about his candidacy, and I'm excited to see the field narrow and see him really shine on on those debate stages.

Walt Sorg 37:11
Fred Karger Always a pleasure to talk with you, you'd be safe.

Fred Karger 37:14
Thank you to all thanks very much.

Walt Sorg 37:16
And that's it for this week's poly cast. Our thanks to Fred Karger for joining us. And as always, thanks to Donald Trump for doing something dumb so we could make fun of him. We can't wait for the grand opening of the new Trump casino in Nuuk, Greenland. Maybe he'll be named Greenland Man of the Year to

Christine Barry 37:31
her background information on this week's topics, head on over to Michigan podcast.com where you will find links to articles and videos. If you'd like to offer some comments or ask us some incisive questions. Email us at MI Paula cast at gmail. com

Amy Kerr Hardin 37:47
And please make sure to rank us and even comment about podcast in iTunes. Even the Russians can't hack the iTunes rankings of podcast. On behalf of Walt and Christine. I'm Amy Kerr Hardin thanks for listening


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