Budgets, shutdowns, polls, payroll theft, and guest former Gov Jennifer Granholm

September 3, 2019

Michigan Policast for Tuesday, September 3, 2019

  In this episode:

  • Michigan budget talks
  • Interview: Former Gov Jennifer Granholm on a state shutdown, the Dem primary, and more
  • AG Nessel and the Democrats go after payroll theft
  • Polling – Reproductive rights, gun control, climate change
  • The primaries, the next debate, and the real contenders
  • This Week in Trump
  • Transcript


Jump to:

Note:  we mention in the show that we will be discussing Enbridge Line 5.  We are postponing that segment for another show.

Michigan budget talks

“@LeeChatfield and @SenMikeShirkey have the authority to set the Legislature’s agenda, and it is irresponsible that they shirked that duty all summer when it came to the budget,” ~ @ChrisGreigMI37 via Iosco Co news HeraldClick To Tweet


There has to be a fight. Republicans do not want a tax increase, they've said from the beginning there will be no 45 cent gas tax … with their base, they appear to be giving up if there's not a big fight. ~ Mike Malott, @mirsnews #FTDR Click To Tweet


Interview: Former Governor Jennifer Granholm

It can be hard to get new people to understand the gravity of a shutdown. But there were experienced people in the leg. when I was Gov and still nobody wanted to do what they had to do in order to balance the budget. ~ @jengranholm #termlimits #FTDRClick To Tweet
In my experience, once the legislature was able to demonstrate and tell citizens that they had no choice but to find revenues, which means once there was a shutdown, then they could come to the table. ~ @jengranholm #MIbudget #FTDRClick To Tweet
Michigan isn't fancy, we want the basics. We want govt. to work well, we want to see no corruption. We want to see people attuned to our needs, like healthcare and jobs. The pragmatic candidate is most likely to succeed. ~ @jengranholm Click To Tweet

AG Nessel and the Democrats go after payroll theft


Polling – Reproductive rights, gun control, climate change


The primaries, the next debate, and the real contenders


Image source

This Week in Trump



Speaker 1 0:28
You don't think this President has lied to the American people?

Speaker 2 0:31
No, I don't think the President has lied

Speaker 1 0:34
He has never lied to the American people?

Speaker 2 0:34

Walt Sorg 0:34
For once the dumbest quote of the week from the Trump White House didn't come from the chosen one. This week's award goes to assistant press secretary Kaylee McEnany, who in her interview with CNN is Chris Cuomo said that the President never lies. She must be delusional, stupid or totally lacking an integrity. This is the Michigan podcast. I'm Walt Sorg.

Christine Barry 0:55
And I'm Christine Barry. At the top of the rundown this week – Michigan's looming budget crisis. Will there be a state government shutdown? negotiations appear to be at an impasse with just one month left to work things out.

Amy Kerr Hardin 1:06
I'm Amy Kerr Hardin, happily recovered from a summer cold. Also on this week's pod, Hurricane Nessel teamed up with legislators to combat hundreds of millions of dollars in wage theft in Michigan, plus an update on Enbridge Line Five.

Walt Sorg 1:20
And we'll have our weekly This Week in Trump rundown on the insane reality TV show originating at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. We begin though with the state budget and a throwdown at the legislature from Governor Whitmer.

Gretchen Whitmer 1:32
So I reject any false ideas that we can continue to do what we're doing and thrive and meet people's needs. We've seen republicans say that the funding we have now will get us on track to fix our roads, offering up plans that shift money from education of our kids to to the roads, and not even enough to actually fix the damn roads. It's unacceptable. I refuse to accept the status quo and I refuse to kick the can down the road. As we've seen 25 years of leaders doing this town. When I was sworn in January 1, Michigan had the worst roads in the country. I did not create this problem. It's decades in the making. But I am committed to fixing it.

Walt Sorg 2:17
House Democratic Leader Christine Greig who heads up negotiations for her caucus agrees with Whitmer that Republicans have done little to this point. But she anticipates that things will get serious this week.

Christine Greig 2:28
You know, I think we're just at the beginning of the negotiation. So we're you know, we're working on the edges and moving toward the middle. We are having conversations. So that's the first step that we have to do. But obviously the the Democrats are fighting for our fair share budget, we want to make sure heavy trucks are included. We want to make sure that corporations are paying a fair share, too. So those conversations are just beginning.

Walt Sorg 2:48
Are we looking at a continuation budget or shutdown if you can't reach agreement?

Christine Greig 2:53
Well, I was elected to reach agreement. So that is the focus. Of course you have to have contingency plans. Our schools have already opened and they started their fiscal year July 1. So we have to have a plan in place in case we don't, we don't meet our deadlines, but my focus is on coming up with the real solution by the end of the end of September.

Walt Sorg 3:13
What's your advice to the school district right now? School's open.

Christine Greig 3:16
Absolutely. schools open and you got to keep operating focus on the kids. And we're doing everything we can. And frankly, they got to continue to keep putting pressure on their elected leaders and reminding them why they were elected and what impacts not having a an actual budget. So they know the numbers because if we continue on with contingency budget, they're working on last year's budget numbers. And that is not going to cover the rate of inflation changes in student population, things like that. So we have to keep working and they have to keep putting pressure on elected officials to get the job done.

Christine Barry 3:49
Representative Greig says the 45 cent gas tax proposed by the governor is a non starter, but the alternative has to actually raise sufficient money to fix the damn roads. So far, Republicans having come up with an alternative that actually raises sufficient money without gutting education. So where did they get the money?

Walt Sorg 4:08
Two and a half billion dollars a year is what is needed. Everybody seems to agree on that give or take a few hundred million dollars. But that's a quarter of the state's general fund budget. Currently, the Governor will not jeopardize teacher retirement funds, which has been suggested by Republicans. Conservatives oppose kicking the can down the road with bonding.

So one alternative would be higher business taxes, which were cut nearly $2 billion a year by Snyder, coupled with a smaller increase in the gas tax. That's one solution. But business isn't going to like that one. Another is to raise the sales tax from 6% to 7%. And increase sales tax would raise enough money but requires a vote of the people, it's regressive, and forces low mileage drivers or people who don't drive at all to subsidize high mileage drivers, which tends to hurt urban areas to the benefit of rural areas, which I suppose makes it appeal to Republicans. A better alternative to me at least is raising the income tax, a 1% increase from 4.25% to 5.25%. raises about $2.4 billion. The best alternative, in my mind is a graduated income tax constitutional amendment coupled with uniform business income tax, which right now is pretty uneven and pretty low. Ladies, what's your alternative?

Christine Barry 5:22
I agree with the income tax, I think it should have always been a progressive tax anyway, I think that that is one of the better ways to invest in the state. I don't have a problem with raising the tax on gas. I don't know that 45 cents is a good number. But I also don't know where you would draw the line at what is acceptable, and what isn't, what causes undue hardship, and what doesn't, that kind of thing.

Amy Kerr Hardin 5:46
That 45 cents may be just a starting point. So you know, the rule of thumb on negotiations is start at the fair at this point, and then work your way towards an agreement in the middle. There is no good solution to this. And we're gonna have to just buckle down and do something about it. One

Christine Barry 6:00
One of the interesting things I heard recently was a conversation on the latest MIRS Monday podcast. It was speculation around whether the republicans have benefited in terms of negotiations from not putting out a roads plan and Republican strategists mentioned that not having a plan may have benefited them. But if the government shuts down, the democrats have had plans on the table for a long time. And it would be difficult for the republicans to say that, they've been doing their work and not own the shutdown.

Additionally, the republicans are expected to fight a tax or they lose ground with their base. So it's kind of an interesting discussion, and I'll link to it. Another thing that was on that podcast was Julie Brixie, he talking about how we're operating this state on 1999 tax dollars, which is 35% down considering inflation and everything and that we don't need to be in austerity mode, and we're hurting ourselves. So I mean, if you think about how many people have come together to talk about how the state needs to invest in itself and invest in infrastructure, it's the business community. It's I mean, it's everybody who's coming together saying this is a reality.

Walt Sorg 7:11
Except the Republican Party. I've been following them on social media. And their whole message is this gas tax was bad. Whitmer is bad. There's been nothing positive about how do we fix the roads. It's all about how Widmer wants to raise taxes that she's horrible.

Christine Barry 7:25
But after complete republican control for eight years, what's left to cut? What is left for them to do? Why didn't they fix the roads when they had their their man in office?

Walt Sorg 7:36
The challenges we're facing right now with the budget in Lansing, nothing new and we've got split government. With us right now on the podcast. Somebody who knows all too well, how hard it can be to get the two sides to come together. Former Governor Jennifer Granholm governor, welcome to the pod.

Jennifer Granholm 7:50
It is so great to be on.

Walt Sorg 7:52
It's been a long time since we have talked and you've had a lot of time really to think back on that tumultuous eight years, when you were governor and head ruler, you had no money,

Jennifer Granholm 8:01
Noe money every year, it was the same thing. It was really quite very much like Groundhog Day. I was in preparation for this. Dan and I my husband and I had read written a book after I was done in in all of the gory detail about the the budget battles that we had year after year after year. And boy, I I certainly hope that I know that. Governor Whitmer has a challenge with the road funding component. But I sure hope it's not as bad as it was in the in the first decade of this century,

Walt Sorg 8:37
you were working with legislators who had more experience than some of the one she's working with term limits really kicked in hard after you were running through those problems, and it's got to be just adding to her worries,

Jennifer Granholm 8:48
I would imagine I mean, I was fortunate to have First of all, she is so experienced. So that's, that's a great benefit to the state. Unlike me, I was not experienced with the legislature. But I did choose a lieutenant governor who was extremely experienced and I had a, I had two budget directors who were both very experienced Mary Lannoye and Bob Emerson. So that really helped a lot. But when you do have new people, it is hard to, you know, the budget super complicated, right. And so to be able to explain to folks who do not want to raise revenues, that, you know, you have to either cut somewhere to be able to make this happen. And when you are down to the bone, of course, you don't want to cut the basics, like education or public safety or health care for vulnerable people. And so getting people to understand the gravity of that, I think is very difficult. But I say all of that there were experienced people when I was governor, but still nobody wanted to do what they had to do in order to balance the budget. So I know that she's coming up against it,

Walt Sorg 9:51
as she's preparing for what could be a shutdown at the end of this month. For the legislators, it's basically putting out a press release saying that things aren't going to work out. But for the governor, you've got to prepare for it. How difficult is it to get the departments ready? So the state still functions, even though technically you can't spend any money?

Jennifer Granholm 10:08
Yeah, I mean, it's quite a long process to be able to prepare the shut down books for every single department so that you know, I mean, there's some basic stuff that must keep functioning, but for the most part, it gets shut down. And so every single department has to have its its thought through, well thought through strategy. So we had a whole series of books related to each department, what would happen when, when the clock hit midnight on the last day of September? What would happen?

Honestly, the walk I'm I'm thinking and guessing. I mean, I you know, I'm not there, I'm not in the weeds. So I don't know exactly what's going to what the strategy is. But what we found is that once the legislature was able to demonstrate that they had no other alternative, but to find the revenues that were necessary, which means once there's a shutdown, they can say to the citizens, I tried everything. This was the last, you know, this was the last resort, essentially. So my guess is, because in both of the shutdowns that happened when I was governor, the shutdown was over, like within hours. So it was just the need for the legislators to say, I tried everything and we demonstrated that via a shut down, and then we had to come to the table. So my guess is that's probably what's going to happen.

Walt Sorg 11:30
Last campaign, it was almost as though the republicans are running against both you and Gretchen Whitmer at the same time, they repeatedly talked about the lost decade. And if we get selected, it's going to be a grand home all over again. How are you feeling? Just seeing this from the outside? Did you want to fight back?

Jennifer Granholm 11:47
I did, but I didn't want to hurt her. I always want to fight back. That's my instinct. But because I know in California, near my parents who are who are ailing, I wasn't in the day to day, I certainly got a lot of messages, etc. about what to do. She you know, she didn't need me to come in people are not stupid. They know she is not me. And the circumstances of the state are different. We're not in the throes of an automotive meltdown and bankruptcies in the largest industries in our states anymore. And so I think that it's you know, people saw that it was a different time. And obviously, she was very successful, which I'm really happy about.

Walt Sorg 12:28
Okay, now, you're a pundit, among other things, also teaching at Cal Berkeley, but as a pundit. And you look back at Michigan, a lot of talk about which Democratic candidate or candidates would fare best in the state, is the formula really to win in the state to run a progressive, moderate campaign, like, like Gretchennn did, like Elissa Slotkin did, like Haley Stevens did,

Jennifer Granholm 12:51
I do believe that we have to look to states like Michigan and Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, who all had folks who were winning in what had heretofore been red districts, and they won significantly, and women obviously did really well in Michigan, but they did well across the country as well.

It is a little bit frustrating, seeing what happens in Washington, DC, all of the focus, for example, on impeachment. Now, while I'd like to see the president impeached, I know it's not going to happen, because we don't have a Republican Senate, etc. And I do know that people are super concerned in Michigan and in the industrial Midwest, about the manufacturing jobs, the tariffs, the result of those tariffs, not just on manufacturing, but on agriculture, as well. So talking about those issues, I think it's really, really important. And I think that's really frankly, what most people in not just those three states but across the country want to hear. So all of that is to say, I do think that whoever is talking about that is going to be a welcome candidate. And I, you know, I worry about whether we go too far in one direction or another. Because I don't know that I'm you know, Michigan's a pretty pragmatic states, as Carl Levin used to say, we're not fancy. We want the basics. We want government to work well, we want to see no corruption. We want to see people attuned to our needs, like healthcare and jobs. And that's the kind of candidate I think will be most likely to succeed.

Walt Sorg 14:24
I think when you are on another podcast with you is the Axelrod Murphy podcast. You added a name to that description. I think it was Amy Klobuchar.

Jennifer Granholm 14:32
Yeah, I think Amy, you know, would be it would, I don't know why she hasn't caught fire. Because I do think that she has the kind of approach that would would do well in a state like Michigan, but but so far doesn't appear that the polls are in her favor, although she is going to obviously make the next two debates. So you know, I like her a lot. I'll work my heart out for any of these. I'm sure a lot of your listeners will will do the same. But I you know, I like Joe Biden, I'm helping the Biden team out on debate prep. I am Elizabeth Warren. So I really like her in the debate prep. I really appreciate not just her intelligence, but her theory of the case, which is that the system does is now skewed. We don't have the right guard rails on the economy or on the influence of money in Washington, and those things need to be addressed. So I think that, you know, I'm curious about what you would say about whether Elizabeth Warren could do well, in Michigan,

Walt Sorg 15:34
I think it's one of the Midwest candidates, not necessarily Klobuchar. But it could be her could be Mayor Pete. It could even be Tim Ryan, although he's basically down at about zero and a half percent.

Jennifer Granholm 15:44
Yeah, yeah. And he didn't make obviously that debate. I was hopeful for Tim Ryan as well. I think he got his knees chopped off a little bit in that first debate, even though he had a good theory of the case too, again, focusing on working people on jobs in the Midwest, not going too far. One way or the other. I like him as well, but not sure that's gonna it's going to be in the cards for him.

Walt Sorg 16:07
You mentioned you're helping Joe Biden with debate prep. This is not the first time you've done that. So I recall last time, you got to be Sarah Palin. little different this time.

Jennifer Granholm 16:16
Yeah. Well, I mean, different in the sense that I am portraying a Democrat rather than a Republican, and I'm portraying somebody who is, is just super savvy, as opposed to I mean, Sarah Palin had had her own challenges. But so it is. So it is a little bit different.

That's the reason why I'm doing this is because I think there was a comfort there that I could get into character. And, you know, give him a challenge, which, you know, he's is is going to be really important. I do think that he had a challenge in the first debate, obviously, he did better in the second debate. And he's in debate prep and everything, he's been super sharp. So I hope that he'll be able to carry that through and the rest of these debates, but it's all part of sort of bending the muscle, you know, doing your reps, so that you're in shape, all the way through, I'm glad that there are 10 debates, because I think whoever emerges at the end of this will have will be a much better candidate for the general as a result, even though the citizens might be tired of it.

Walt Sorg 17:15
Tell me a little bit about your your new gig as a pundit. As Governor, you had to answer to 10 million people as a pundit, you have to answer to Jake Tapper.

Jennifer Granholm 17:23
Right? Not even answer to him, just answer him. Not to him. You know, it's funny, because being you know, it's obviously being out of office, it's super liberating, you can say, you know, what you want to say and what you actually think and although, you know, the younger commentators and pundits are super interesting to me to listen to, because they just do not care, none of the sort of, you know, politeness, etc, that sort of went along with I think my generation, they don't worry about any of that. They're just raw, they're out there. They're fierce, they're honest, so it's exciting to be on panels with them and exciting to have them. I learned from them.

Walt Sorg 18:07
Governor, always a pleasure to talk to you. Thanks for joining us.

Jennifer Granholm 18:10
Oh, my gosh, same to you. Great to talk to you as well, thanks.

Amy Kerr Hardin 18:18
It's estimated that as many as one fifth of Michigan adults could cheat it on their paychecks. Attorney General Dana Nestle made attacking this part of her campaign and she's following through

Dana Nessel 18:29
Businesses can afford to pay lawyers 3-4-5 hundred dollars an hour when somebody rips them off. But what about the workers in this state? Who do they turn to when they need help? Well, the Department of Attorney General is now the people's law firm once again. And we stand ready to protect Michigan workers who have been exploited

Amy Kerr Hardin 18:59
Hurricane Nessel has begun by charging a Lansing business owner with stealing more than $52,000 that had been deducted from employee paychecks for benefits and then pocketing the money

Christine Barry 19:09
That's been followed by introduction of legislation to crack down on wage theft. Democratic Leader Christine Greig and Senator Curtis Hertel Jr spoke at a Lansing news conference

Christine Greig 19:21
Crooked businesses stolen estimated $429 million in wages and overtime paying for Michigan workers between 2013 and 2015 in that very short timeframe. And that affected more than 2.8 million workers.

Curtis Hertel Jr 19:41
When companies commit payroll fraud, they don't just hurt their workers, they're robbing from all of us. bad actors cost Michigan taxpayers over 100 million dollars a year in lost revenue, because they're not paying taxes like everyone else does. And again, if you or I didn't pay our taxes, we would go to jail. While they are mostly getting off scot free.

Christine Greig 20:03
Today, we're introducing a plan to crack down on employers that cheat their workers and Rob millions of dollars from taxpayers. This is a package of bills designed to protect millions of hardworking employees, independent contractors, and business owners who are the backbone of our state's economy, and who play by the rules.

Walt Sorg 20:26
I thought the interesting operative phrase in that presentation by the two legislators was independent contractors. It was mentioned several times during the news conference. That's a status that gives workers no protections and no benefits. So called independent contractors are the lifeblood of companies like Uber and Lyft. And whether their drivers should be classified instead as employees rather than independent contractors. That's already being challenged in California Courts and the California legislature is employees, they be covered by minimum wage workers comp, unemployment benefits and the ability to form a union. In California, those two companies are spending over $30 million to fight a legislator proposals to classify their drivers as employees. And if that goes into Michigan as well, it can be quite a battle.

Christine Barry 21:12
And doordash just joined them and pledged $30 million. So that's a $90 million effort.

Walt Sorg 21:18
You could get FedEx in there too, because they use a lot of independent contractors for their their final miles of delivery.

Amy Kerr Hardin 21:25
I'd like to give a little rundown on what the package of bills contains. In addition to those some increased penalties, criminal penalties, it's they'll also protect whistleblowers and prevent the misclassification of workers as independent contractors, as we were just discussing, restrict non compete agreements for low wage workers and allow the state am workers to sue employers that are found in violation. So it's a pretty nice hefty package

Christine Barry 21:51
Is what they want to do really realistic in, like, Who does this apply to? And is it realistic in a gig economy? Because Uber and Lyft did grow their businesses on the back of independent contractors? But would that have grown if they didn't have that flexibility? And with millennials and you know, younger generations, valuing the flexibility of the gigs, more and more for that work life balance? Where does this package fit in so that it protects workers as much as you can, because we know a gig is a job. And if you've worked in the job, you should have some basics, you know, you should have a floor wage, you should be protected in the event of an injury and that kind of thing. But how do you balance out the business needs with the you know, worker protections here?

Walt Sorg 22:38
Was it a business leaders and exploitation of workers to build a business on their backs where they're taking all the risk, and the company's getting all the profits. I know, Uber drivers who at the end of the year when they do their taxes realized they didn't make any money after they deduct the cost of maintaining their vehicle and mileage and all that. Plus, when they're out there driving, the only time they're getting paid is when there's a customer in the car, if they're driving from point A to point B to pick somebody up, that's a non revenue mileage, and it is an expense as well.

The other issue that's being covered is abuse of overtime roles. I know of one person in my family, in fact, who worked for somebody who used to average out over two weeks of was 80 hours over two weeks, I didn't pay overtime, that's illegal. And what Nessel is saying is she's willing to go to people like that, and she'll go back over the books, and we'll get that money back for the employee that they were cheated out of his for as far back as the statute of limitations will allow.

Amy Kerr Hardin 23:35
That's good. You know, my husband had been salaried when he shouldn't have been on one of his jobs. And so that, you know, he was working 45-50 hours a week and not getting paid that overtime, because he was salaried. And then when another employer came in and bought that business, they immediately took them off salary and put them on hourly, they saw that that was illegal.

Christine Barry 23:54
Yeah, I worked for a company and I had always been on salary at this company didn't happen to me. But hourly employees, if they ended up working over 50 hours or so, whenever there was a big payroll for them, they'd be switch to salary. So what we had a crisis, one of our employees worked almost 100 hours one week, because he was just there dealing with that crisis. And when it came time to pay him, the owner said just convert him to salary, we can't pay that this is a real problem. And it's a real theft. I'm glad to see that somebody at least talking about this openly. So if nothing else, even if people who do this don't get caught, they might be a little bit more careful about how they treat the hours.

Walt Sorg 24:44
There are two booming industries in the political world these days polling and fact checking. fact checking in a Trump world is exhausting. So let's go to the polling instead. A couple of notable polls this week, first at the state level from Epic MRI, Apollo, which was a lot of bad news for Donald Trump, which of course breaks my heart. He loses badly to all four of the top contenders for the nomination most emphatically to Joe Biden and leads him by 10 points. Interestingly, that's the exact margin by which Gretchen Whitmer was elected governor, the biggest shift from red to blue, no surprises among women, which has been the trend in Michigan for a while. By 54-40 margin and Michigan voters are pro choice, which is bad news for Trump and the Republican Party. In fact, both John James and the president were just endorsed by right to life of Michigan 58% of voters classify themselves as liberal or moderate. Although the partisan split is 42-39, democratic, lot of interesting numbers. It's like the 2016 election was an aberration and is ready to bounce back. You think that's what's going to happen?

Christine Barry 25:47
I do. I think people are being driven away from conservatism by the extreme positions being taken by Trump and the people who are going along with him and

Walt Sorg 25:58
the winning strategy winning strategies and Michigan have been from the moderate progressives, not the extreme progressive, but people like Whitmer, Elissa Slotkin, Haley Stevens.

Christine Barry 26:09
Exactly. And I think that, you know, when you're looking at this pro choice, numbers 54-40, that's a huge margin. I think that's probably the biggest margin we've ever had. And I think a lot of it's driven by the talk about doing away with abortion rights, people are realizing, hey, I do have an opinion on this. And my opinion, is pro choice because being quote unquote, pro life, which is absolutely not what it is, but applying that label to something is so restrictive and forced birth that I just can't sign on to that

I think part of it is Michigan, you know, kind of rebounding and balancing back out. I do think 2016 was an aberration. And I think it was a there were a number of factors involved in that. Bernie Sanders, voter suppression. People didn't like Hillary, for whatever reason, think Michigan has always been a blue state that's just suffered from being gerrymandered and poor messaging or something.

Walt Sorg 27:05
I will be very interested to see how Elizabeth Warren fares when she gets to Michigan during the primary calendar next year. I'm not sure Michigan is ready for Elizabeth Warren.

The second poll is a national survey on issues conducted by Quinnipiac University, which is one of the best polling operations of the nation. The sample is really large to which is important 1442 interviews with a 3.1% margin of error, which is far smaller than most of the polls you see out there. The top line of the poll to me seems the democrats are on the right side of a whole bunch of issues and Republicans are on the wrong side. Let's dive in. Amy, you first there's a whole series of questions regarding gun safety, and none of the answers will bring smiles to the eyes of wayne lapierre and his fellow robber barons of the NRA.

Amy Kerr Hardin 27:54
Oh, poor Wayne, I feel so bad for him. The numbers are not good for him. Definitely. I don't think he really gives a shit about that though, because he's just going to move forward spending money and in working as a gun lobbyist. 72% of voters want Congress to take action on gun violence. Among those Republicans, it was 50% the Dems and independence felt much stronger and the issue.

60% with support stricter gun laws. Let's dig deeper into those numbers, the specifics of the policies that they floated in the poll 93% white universal background checks 82% white required licensing 80% support red flag laws, which by the way, are already in effect in the military for military veterans, but they're not very well enforced. 60% want to ban on assault rifles and 46% would support a mandatory buyback program of those assault rifles. The bad news for our collective intelligence is defying all common sense and research and innovation a couple 54% blame mental illness for mass shootings over the availability of weapons.

Walt Sorg 29:07
It is kind of interesting is statistically it's simply not the case.

Christine Barry 29:10
I think that a lot of that is that people just accept the fact though, that if you go and shoot a bunch of people, you've got to be crazy. And therefore it's a mental health issue, which is really not how that works. And I don't think this is the majority, but many, you know, many who are on the slide of if not straight up proliferation, at least easy access to what we call assault rifles, are, are saying that's not fair. You're just using that language to scare people, you know, they've never been assault rifles, blah, blah, blah, I know that if I'm being shot at I'm going to feel that rifle is being used to assault me, the language that's being used in this debate is very important. From the types of gun we have like assault rifles to, you know, mental health is an issue. All of this stuff is all around language and messaging. And it's nice to see some of these numbers, Amy that show that people are finally starting to cut through it.

Amy Kerr Hardin 30:05
And I'm thinking that Texas might be turning around on this a little bit to you know, in the wake of the two tragic shooting mass shootings, they've had their will probably hear some rumblings even possibly from Republicans in Texas saying, perhaps be added to a little something now

Walt Sorg 30:20
the next presidential debate among Democrats is in Texas, which will make it even more interesting. And two of the 10 people who will be on the stage are Texans, who Julian Castro and Beto O'Rourke. Christine, they also talked about climate change in the survey, what you see regarding voter attitudes towards that life changing issue.

Christine Barry 30:40
There's a significant shift in concern over the climate. And it's driven largely by young people. But there are a number of things that have been happening to motivate people to really develop a sense of urgency about climate, we've had the national debate over the Green New Deal. The UN Climate report, the environmental voter project to get out the vote on climate, we have young activists all over the world, like Greta Thunburg, big fires around the world, all of our democratic primary candidates have talked about climate change made it an important part of their campaign. But really, it is young people driving this change. So we're developing a sense of urgency around it.

One poll conducted by CNN found that 82% of voting democrats and center left independents listed climate changes the top priority above universal health care at 70. Follow 75% followed by gun reform at 65%. And look a little over a year ago as of July of last year, another survey now this was a Yale University survey showed voters ranking climate change is the 15th most important issue out of 28. So it's definitely becoming more of a concern, especially for young people. And, you know, I think Pete Buttigieg put it best when he said, we're going to be on the business end of climate change for the rest of our lives.

Walt Sorg 31:59
I think the Quinnipiac pull two backs up exactly what you're saying. 56% of the voters surveyed said that climate change is an emergency, and 74% of voters 18 to 34 say that climate change is an emergency. And that's what we're recording this of course, we've got a category five hurricane bearing down on Florida and the eastern seaboard. People are very much aware of our climate in real time. Just this week, we've got rolling back methane emission rules by the administration opening the Tongass National Forest in Alaska for logging and mining. They're trying to roll back Fleet Fuel efficiency standards, which we talked about last week. They want to expand oil drilling in Alaska. And the President is publicly supported Brazil's President bolsa narrow in his slow walking of the firefighting in the Amazon rainforest, which is an emergency for the world is literally our air supply is on fire in Brazil right now.

Christine Barry 32:55
I think it makes it easier for people to understand holy crap the whole world is on fire. We have fires everywhere really the Amazon rainforest being that I think, the highest profile but it's easy to see why people more and more starting to think oh, this is a real problem. And especially when you have young people speaking about it with such clarity and passion to their parents and and to the public. As some of these activists like Greta I mentioned earlier, you could start to see adults also taking on a more serious concern about this.

Amy Kerr Hardin 33:25
Both my kids are millennials and I'm seeing them and their friends, climate change and student loan debt. It's just keeping them from moving forward in life in terms of getting married, starting a family and buying a house. They just feel frozen.

Walt Sorg 33:45
Also on the political scene, the lineup is set for the next democratic debate later this month with 10 candidates meeting the DNC is rules for qualifying. So for this debate, at least we'll only have one discussion and it's going to be three hours on ABC, quiet mollifying our Joe Biden people to judge Kamala Harris Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren Cory Booker Beto O'rourke Amy Klobuchar Julian Castro and Andrew Yang, and just barely not qualifying Tom Steyer, and Tulsi Gabbert who came up short, but could qualify for the debate after that, because the Democratic Party rules say that you can accumulate the stuff now and catch up with us later. So we may be back up to 12 or 13 candidates in the next debate. But as we look at this list, who can really win the nomination? Does each of these 10 have a real shot? If not, which are the 10 that can't possibly happen is the nominee and are there any non qualifiers who can reemerge with the October debate?

Christine Barry 34:43
Now, I don't think there are any non qualifiers and and you know, in addition to Tom Steyer and Tulsi Gabbard, Marianne Williamson is also in the hunt for getting into the debate. I don't think she will. But

Walt Sorg 34:54
she's only got one qualifying poll going into this one. She needs a total of four, she's got to pick up three more polls where she gets at least 2%.

Christine Barry 35:04
Okay, so she's a little bit farther behind. She makes it with donors. I don't know why we still have 10. Quite frankly, I think that we could probably make the cut off, you know, the top five at this point. But Joe Biden, I think is the one with the best chance of having a successful national campaign. Pete Buttigieg is really popular. But does he win in the more? I don't know, does he come across to you as a moderate candidate? Because he speaks like one and then you look at his policies, and you think, okay, that's a little that's a little bit more progressive. You know,

Walt Sorg 35:36
my sense is that most of them are running for vice president at this point. However, I think two of the top three in terms of the polling right now Biden, and Sanders, Bernie Sanders, I don't think either one of them is going to get the nomination.

Christine Barry 35:49
He leaves Elizabeth Warren in the top three,

Walt Sorg 35:51
and she's 70 years old. And I'm wondering if her age is going to work against her. Now, she certainly doesn't act like a 70 year old, by any means.

Amy Kerr Hardin 35:57
Yeah, she runs on stage, she puts on sneakers runs on stage, and she's like a cheerleader out there. She's pretty awesome. As far as my making this call, it's like, back in 2016, I never in my worst nightmare thought Trump would get the nomination. So I'm probably not the best person to make this call, I would just probably cross off the bottom five of them and say that I'm Biden, Buttigieg Harris Sanders, or Warren will get it. I don't think that Castro or gang will get it. I think that they are, you know, running for a cabinet post or perhaps a vice presidential post. But I might my call is probably for Warren. I don't want to jinx here though.

Walt Sorg 36:37
Starting from the bottom of the list in terms of polling and working my way up. Andrew Yang is not going to be the nominee, Julian Castro, I think is a real possibility for Vice President, because of what he brings to balance to the ticket, he puts Texas and fly, he makes the party stronger in Florida. I think Klobuchar is one who actually got a lot of upside potential. If she can get her campaign a little bit more focus, because I think politically, she fits in ideologically better with the party than most of the candidates that are ahead of her in the running right now.

Christine Barry 37:09
If one of these major contenders said, Okay, I'm actually going to throw my support behind Klobuchar, that would happen. I don't see Amy Klobuchar getting traction.

Walt Sorg 37:18
No, she hasn't so far. But from a policy standpoint, I think she's a stronger candidate. I think Beto is dead meat. He's I think he's rebooted his campaign now three or four times. And it still hasn't taken hold. Cory Booker, really confuses me, because I see him on the stump. And he's a very convincing candidate. But he's not getting any traction in the polls. Warren, clearly to me is the favorite right now. And I think Kamala Harris is probably in second place with Pete Buttigieg in third place.

Amy Kerr Hardin 37:47
And for Booker, his Achilles heel is the big pharma donations that he's taken. But he's he's kind of caught between a rock and a hard place there because you can't alienate the pharmacy companies. They're in his state. So damned if you do MQ down.

Walt Sorg 38:00
And of course, we've only got six months until the first voting actually happens in 14 months till the election. So I will save this recording and play it back the day after the election night.

Christine Barry 38:11
Well, I have to say part of me really hopes that Pete Buttigieg is the nominee, I think he could probably run a national campaign. I just don't think he could run it starting today. He would need a lot of support from his current competition go to get in there.

Walt Sorg 38:26
Whoever the nominee is, they're going to get the support from the from the others. They everybody is so focused on saving this nation from Trump. idol, even if it was Williamson, honest to God, I think the rest of the field would get behind her not that it's ever going to be Marianne Williamson. But I think that's how strong democrats feel right now about getting rid of Trump.

Donald Trump is if nothing else, the master of misdirection, he says all sorts of outrageous things, but they seem designed to take attention away from the horror things that he actually does. We've already talked about some of the environmental outrageous this week other atrocities just from this week. Afraid Oh, Eric Trump is threatening to sue lawrence o'donnell of msnbc over a story Oh, Donald ran on his show, and then retracted A day later because it was inadequately source. But that's not enough apparently, for the Trump fan like daddy says he'll issue a party to anyone who broke the law. In a quest to get his stupid wall built in time for the election, Trump announced creation of the Space Command since Congress is unwilling to give him his new space wars is a branch of the military. It was revealed that he's considered using nuclear bombs to disrupt hurricanes. He's announced that he's chosen the best possible site anywhere in America to host the next g7 and coincidence of coincidences he happens to own it. He changed the rules of protected seriously ill immigrants from deportation which amounts to a death sentence for some people, including kids who can only get the treatment they need to stay alive in the United States. He implemented a new policy which strips automatic American citizenship for children born abroad to a service member or diplomat. He continues to lie about James Comey claiming Comey leaked classified information, even though the Department of Justice inspector general says he did not. And even as Dorian was bearing down on Florida, he diverted FEMA money to allow building more prisons for immigrants. It is an impressive list of the horrible, Christine, which to you is the most outrageous,

Christine Barry 40:27
They're all outrageous in different ways. You know, the one that I actually enjoy the most is using nuclear bombs to disrupt hurricanes. That is so funny here

Walt Sorg 40:38
But he's got the football, he could actually do it.

Christine Barry 40:40
I know it. So it's also horrifying. But just on a humanity level. I gotta say that deporting people who are seriously ill is just so wrong. So sickening. I can't. That has to be the most outrageous thing he's done.

Walt Sorg 40:57
Amy, which one has got you the most nauseous?

Amy Kerr Hardin 41:00
It's so hard to choose such a cornucopia of shittiness? I want to say all of the above, but I have to agree with Christine. It's deporting the sick kids. And there was a segment on NPR the other day, and they were talking about how it could be up to 1000 children undergoing critical treatments, and some of them could die within days or hours of being deported.

Walt Sorg 41:23
I've got to admit I'm a little bit outraged as well by deciding that the Doral Country Club is going to be the host for the g7 He is just robbing this country blind and it is so disgusting. To me not so much that he is doing it. But the Republican Party is backing him on it. And I find that really frustrating for the future although I agree with you the telling the sick immigrants that they have to die because they can stay here is just absolutely horrific.

Christine Barry 41:52
So that's it for this week's podcast. If you like what you're hearing, kindly take a moment to rate us and comment on iTunes. And if you don't like the podcast, you probably turned it off 15 minutes ago.

Amy Kerr Hardin 42:02
For links, videos, tweets and a transcript of this week's pad head over to Michigan podcast com for Christine's amazing show notes.

Walt Sorg 42:11
And if you want to contact us you can try the email machine MI podcast@gmail.com if I can get my tongue go straight to for Christine and Amy. I will see you next week.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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