10 episodes

A weekly report on the people and policies driving Michigan's future, hosted by Michigan Democratic Party chair Lavora Barnes.

Party on the Peninsulas Michigan Democratic Party

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A weekly report on the people and policies driving Michigan's future, hosted by Michigan Democratic Party chair Lavora Barnes.

    The WØRD – “Trifecta!”

    The WØRD – “Trifecta!”

    From chairperson Lavora Barnes –

    It was a joy during the week for me to personally congratulate the two newest Democrats in the state House of Representatives: Mai Xiong in the Warren area’s 13th House District and Peter Herzberg in the Westland area’s 25th House District. Both were elected to fill vacancies created when their predecessors were elected mayor of their city.

    Once the special elections are certified by the state Board of Canvassers, Democrats will once again have a 56-54 majority in the House to go with the 20-18 majority in the state Senate. It comes just in time for enactment of a state budget which continues investments into our state that will pay benefits for generations: support for education, infrastructure and economic development headlining the new budget.

    The challenge now: maintaining that House majority in the November election. The newly adopted district maps, according to analysts, give either party a statistical chance of winning the majority. Using the current lines, 56 of the new districts were carried in 2020 by Donald Trump and 54 by President Biden. We can’t rest on our laurels. With these citizen-drawn maps, we can expand our majority or we can lose it. It is up to us.

    Here are things you can do to help keep the House majority:

    Reach out to your local candidate. You can help them with canvassing, fundraising, putting up a yard sign, hosting a home party, talking with your neighbors, writing a letter to the editor – they’ll let you know where you can help.

    Stay active and stay positive on social media. It’s fun to get into viral arguments but usually non-productive. What can help are short, concise, fact-based comments on issues. 

    And, if you are able, donate – to your state representative, to the House Democratic Campaign Committee, to your county Democratic Party and, of course. To the Michigan Democratic Party. As one astute consultant told me, campaigns are about two things: raising money, and everything else!

    We have resources for you on all of this on our MDP website. Just click here! 

    A new issue that is facing many communities: the mostly unregulated world of short-term rentals. The proliferation of companies like AirBNB and VRBO can be both a blessing and a curse. We are joined by state Representative Joey Andrews of St. Joseph who is sponsoring a package of bills to bring order to the Wild West of short-term rentals. With no regulatory framework in Michigan law, STRs have proliferated to a crisis point in many communities across the state. Representative Andrews is lead sponsor of a 10-bill package to bring order to where there is now chaos.

    Representative Andrews is serving his first term representing the 38th House District, which covers parts of Allegan, Berrien and Van Buren counties. Born and raised in Southwestern Michigan, Representative Andrews knows and respects the unique issues facing lakeshore communities including the growing water issues of erosion, flooding, lead and aging infrastructure; and the short-term rental crisis gutting local communities.

    Andrews was born and raised in St. Joseph. After graduating from high school he briefly left to attend college at Carson-Newman University in Tennessee. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history and music and went to law school at Wayne State University, graduating in 2013 with his law degree and passing the Michigan bar exam a year later.

    This week’s Trump outrage is on full display in New York right now.

    • 17 min
    The WØRD – “Whatever”

    The WØRD – “Whatever”

    From Chairperson Lavora Barnes


    That’s Donald Trump’s position on reproductive healthcare. He’s for whatever is convenient at the time he’s asked about it. In 1999, he said on Meet the Press that he was pro-choice, and opposed any federal law restricting abortion (even virtually non-existent late-term abortions).

    Well, he’s changed that position almost as regularly as he’s changed wives. For decades, Donald Trump’s stance on abortion has been a moving target.

    In 2011, while considering a White House run, he told CPAC that he was pro-life.

    In 2016, while running for president, he told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that there should be “some form of punishment” for the women who get abortions. 

    In 2018, he vowed to overturn Roe v. Wade and advocated for a 20-week national abortion ban. 

    His latest position: a wishy-washy “whatever”: leave it up to the states, many of which have banned and even criminalized abortion. Of course, he can’t run away from a fact about which he brags: he killed Roe.

    We all know that what Donald Trump says doesn’t necessarily line up with what he will do. You can be certain that a Trump administration, given the chance, would put in place a national law similar to the law just upheld in Arizona: criminalizing abortion and making it illegal nationwide. That would wipe out Michigan’s constitutional guarantee, approved overwhelmingly by our voters, that women make their own healthcare decisions without the government’s interference.

    While Trump says he wouldn’t sign a national abortion ban, he hasn’t said how he will vote on the Florida constitutional amendment which would protect women’s reproductive freedom. Chances are he will dodge that question from now until November. And if, God forbid, he is elected and sent a nationwide ban, he will sign it.

    As Rachel Maddow put it so concisely: “watch what they do, not what they say”.

    Your Democratic party has made a commitment to reach out to all of Michigan. While Republicans cater to their extremist MAGA wing, Democrats are working in all 83 counties to show we’re working on behalf of everyone in this state. The facts backing that effort are undeniable. Since achieving the tri-fecta in state government, Democrats have moved the state forward on issues ranging from fixing the roads, strengthening the union rights of workers, expanding voter rights, guaranteeing the reproductive healthcare rights of women, cutting taxes for families, fighting climate change and much, much more.

    But historically we’ve fallen short when it comes to elections in our smaller counties. Over the weekend our Rural Summit focused on how we can earn the support of more voters in rural Michigan.

    Helping us define that strategy was one of the nation’s best pollsters, Celinda Lake. Celinda is one of the Democratic Party’s leading political strategists. She was one of two lead pollsters for the Biden campaign in 2020 and continues to serve as a pollster to the Democratic National Committee (DNC), other national party committees, and dozens of Democratic incumbents and challengers at all levels of the electoral process. Celinda and her firm, Lake Research Partners, are known for cutting-edge research on issues including the economy,

    • 28 min
    The WØRD – “Demagogue”

    The WØRD – “Demagogue”

    From chairperson Lavora Barnes

    That, in one sentence, defines Donald Trump and describes his grotesque speech in Grand Rapids. 

    Donald Trump came here to politicize a tragic loss and lie to Michiganders’ faces about his record. When President Biden negotiated a tough, fair, and bipartisan border security deal, it was Trump who pressured his MAGA cronies to kill the bill, allowing the chaos to continue. 

    No matter what he said in Grand Rapids, Donald Trump has no interest in being part of the solution because he doesn’t care about border security. He only cares about himself and whatever he thinks makes him look good, but Michiganders know the truth: Donald Trump has nothing to offer but dangerous rhetoric that promotes hate, division, and violence without making anyone safer.

    Adding to that: he told the crowd he had talked with the family of murder victim Ruby Garcia. It was a lie, according to Ms. Garcia’s sister. Mavi Garcia said neither Trump nor anybody from his campaign has contacted her or anybody in her immediate family. She said her family is close and she would know if that had happened.

    “It was shocking,” she told Wood TV.  “I kind of stopped watching it. I’d only seen up to that, after I heard a couple of misinformations he said, I just stopped watching it. She said she’s angry that Trump and others have turned her sister’s death into something political.

    “It’s always been about illegal immigrants,” she said. “Nobody really speaks about when Americans do heinous crimes, and it’s kind of shocking why he would just bring up illegals. What about Americans who do heinous crimes like that?”

    When asked about the apparent lie by The Daily Beast, the Trump campaign refused to reveal with whom the criminal defendant candidate talked. (You can watch the WOOD-TV interview by clicking here.)

    The Garcia family isn’t the only voice speaking out against Trump. The Washington Post published a truly shocking list this week of former top-level Trump appointees who have not endorsed his candidacy. Among them:

    Vice President Mike Pence

    Attorney General William Barr

    Chief of staff General John Kelly

    Chief of Staff Mark Mulvaney

    Secretary of Defense General James Mattis

    Secretary of Defense Mark Esper

    National Security Adviser John Bolton

    National Security Chief of European Affairs Col. Alexander Vindman

    Joint Chiefs of Staff chair General Mark Milley

    U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley

    Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci

    Press secretary Stephanie Grisham

    Deputy press secretary Sarah Matthews

    White House Counsel Ty Cobb

    White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson

    2016 Transition Director Chris Christie

    As we noted last week you can add to that list President George W. Bush, and former Republican vice presidents Dick Cheney and Dan Qualye; Republican U.S. Senators Todd Young, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins and Mitt Romney. And even family members/White House advisers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner have said they won’t campaign for him.

    An alternate “The Word” for this week’s podcast could have just as easily been “Hypocrite”. How else can you describe a man who very publicly attends the funeral of a slain New York police officer but has never even contacted the family of a Capitol policeman who died as a result of the January 6 insurrection, or the dozens of police officers who were attacked and injured by his mob?

    Officer Brian Sicknick’s father told the New York Daily News – quote – “He makes sure he gets his face out there. The guy’s a criminal. He’s the reason my son is dead — because of the riot at the Capito...

    • 21 min
    The WØRD – “Unity”

    The WØRD – “Unity”

    From chairperson Lavora Barnes

    On Thursday, Democrats celebrated unity heading into the November election with an historic event: a massive fundraiser which brought together three great presidents: Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Together they represent 20 years of leadership that moved America forward. 

    The unity of the 3 Presidents was a reminder of the lack of Republican unity. Donald Trump is running without the support of much of his party’s leadership. He does not have the endorsement of President Bush, nor does he have the support of any of the living former GOP Vice Presidents: Dan Quayle, Dick Cheney and Mike Pence. Add to that the long list of more than two-dozen Trump cabinet members and White House staff who will not endorse him. Some are actively opposing him.

    One of many reasons for that contrast is the philosophy behind the campaigns. 

    Donald Trump is running to benefit Donald Trump. His two goals:

    * Stay out of prison, and

    * Make money for Donald Trump

    His fundraising is all about him, a lot of it to cover his $100-million-and-growing personal legal bills. He has side hustles to make him wealthier, constantly hawking everything from sneakers to perfume and even Bibles with the profits going into his pocket. His TruthSocial is likely his next business to go bankrupt, but his cult members are pushing the short-term stock price to ridiculous levels which brings huge profits to Trump.

    Despite all that wealth, he won’t pay his own legal bills.

    At the fundraising event Thursday, Presidents Biden, Obama and Clinton had a different take on the presidency and why they served: the ability to make life better for Americans.

    The fundraiser was historic in that it raised more than $25-million in one night for not just the Biden campaign, but to support Democrats up and down the ticket.

    Trump has a fundraiser this week where he says he’ll raise more money. Maybe he will. But we know one winner from the event will be Trump himself. He’s staging the event at his Palm Beach club, and you can be sure he’s collecting a hefty rental and catering fee for the night … more money to line his pocket.

    One of the commitments I had when I first became your party chair was to work in every county to earn every vote. This month, we will move closer to that goal with our first Michigan Rural Summit. It is being organized by the MDP’s Rural Caucus. On this week’s podcast we hear from caucus chair Mark Ludwig about the Summit.

    Mark was born and raised in Michigan. His youth was spent assisting his father during the early days of the environmental movement, studying Great Lakes water birds affected by industrial pollution. He settled in Allegan County, founding a small beef farm in Clyde Township in 2005 with his wife Kim. Mark served on the Fennville Public School Board, Clyde Township Planning Commission and currently serves on the Allegan Conservation District Board of Directors. Mark graduated from Michigan State with a degree in Environmental Issues and has a Short Course Degree from UW Madison in Grass Based Dairy.

    In the News

    Michigan Politics

    * Major shift in Biden-Trump swing state polling, including Michigan – mlive.com

    * Video – MIGOP lawmaker claims buses at airport full of “illegal invaders,” but they carried NCAA teams – CNN

    * a href="https://www.msnbc.

    • 20 min
    The WØRD – “Anniversaries”

    The WØRD – “Anniversaries”


    From chairperson Lavora Barnes –

    Saturday marked the 14th anniversary of the signature achievement of the Obama administration: enactment of the Affordable Care Act, a. k. a. “Obamacare.” Republicans rampaged against the legislation, calling it the potential death knell for the U.S. healthcare system, raising the spectre of government “death panels” deciding who lives and who dies, and predicting it would mean you could no longer choose your doctors.

    President Obama fought for the law knowing it could mean he’d be a one-term President. Today in America, the Affordable Care Act is more popular than ever, and coverage is more affordable than ever.

    There are more than 100 million Americans — friends, family, neighbors, people you love — who can no longer be denied coverage because of a preexisting condition. More than 45 million Americans have health coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act and millions of seniors have lower prescription drug costs. The Biden administration is expanding the benefits of the ACA with the new ability of Medicare to negotiate prescription costs.

    The law has special meaning in Michigan, and the legacy of the Dingell family. The first national healthcare bill was introduced in 1943 by Congressman John Dingell Senior. After his death, the law was reintroduced every session on his birthday by his son, John Dingell Junior. When President Obama signed the law in 2009, John Dingell was seated next to the President and presented with the first pen used to make the law official.

    In a hot-mike moment, Vice President Biden famously called it, “a big blanking deal.” It still is.

    But if Donald Trump and extreme MAGA Republicans in Congress get their way, they will gut the Affordable Care Act and rip away health care from millions — just like they tried to do in 2017.

    As we approach the fall election, it’s important to remember that ALL of the Republican U.S. Senate candidates are enemies of the ACA. Mike Rogers, Peter Meijer, Sandy Pensler, and Justin Amash have all vowed to gut the Affordable Care Act which would result in millions of Michiganders being denied health care access and increase costs for families.

    During the most recent enrollment period, more than 418,000 Michiganders signed up for affordable health care coverage. A repeal of the Affordable Care Act means “1.3 million Michiganders would lose their insurance and about 1.8 million with pre-existing health conditions could lose critical protections.”

    Saturday was also a special anniversary for 323 Michigan families. It was their 10th wedding anniversary. Theirs were the first same-sex weddings in Michigan history. It’s also a part of the legacy of Attorney General Dana Nessel. In 2014, Nessel successfully argued for the plaintiffs in DeBoer v. Snyder, which challenged Michigan’s ban on the statewide legal recognition of same-sex marriage; the case was eventually combined with others and appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States as Obergefell v. Hodges, which led to the nationwide legal recognition of same-sex marriage. Another benefit of that legal effort: Nessel met her wife Alanna Maguire while they were both working on the case. She proposed to Maguire in 2015 outside of the United States Supreme Court. 

    This week will be remembered for the enactment of another pro-family law: a statute protecting surrogacy births, and in vitro fertilization. We’re joined by the sponsor of the new law, Representative Samantha Steckloff. The bills are a long overdue win for reproductive rights and would-be parents who can’t conceive on their own. They not only safeguard the rights of biological parents, but also prioritize the protection and the reproductive freedom of those surrogates.

    Representative Steckloff is serving her second term representing Michigan’s 19th House District.

    • 19 min
    The WØRD – “Results”

    The WØRD – “Results”

    From the chair


    Government is supposed to work to improve our lives. We measure our public officials by results. Under Joe Biden and Gretchen Whitmer, we’re getting results.

    Three years ago this week, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act into law. There’s an excellent report on what that has brought Michigan in the current edition of the online publication The Gander.

    Among the highlights:

    300,000 jobs added to Michigan’s economy

    The unemployment rate dropped from 6.5% in 2021 and has kept at 4% for the last 14 months.

    A surge in new businesses. According to US Chamber of Commerce data, nearly 150,000 small business applications were filed in the state in 2023.

    Tax relief for families. In Michigan, families of nearly 1.9 million children benefited from tax relief in 2021—with more than 1.1 million families receiving $3,000 or $3,600 per child, depending on their age. The legislation also enabled Michigan families earning less than $125,000 to get back up to half of what they spent on child care while working or studying, saving up to $8,000 for two children.

    An expansion to the federal Earned Income Tax Credit also benefited 600,000 workers in Michigan in 2021, providing up to $1,500 in tax relief to those without dependent children. The Whitmer administration added to that savings by repealing the Snyder Administration cuts to the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit.

    Michigan received more than $1.1 billion in federal funding to be used for rental and utility assistance. State officials said more than 250,000 applications were received, with more than 130,000 approved—an average of about $5,600 in aid for each household. Additional funding was designed to help low- and middle-income homeowners who fell behind on their bills.

    The American Rescue Plan Act  also expanded health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—ensuring more middle-income families in Michigan were eligible for low- or no-cost insurance, and providing key incentives for states to expand Medicaid.

    The law’s subsidies—which were reauthorized as part of the Inflation Reduction Act in 2022—led to record-breaking sign-ups for ACA plans this year. More than 418,000 Michiganders) enrolled in plans for 2024. 

    More than $15 billion in ARPA funds have been dedicated to public safety, with investments by over 1,000 state and local governments to avoid cuts to police budgets, hire more cops, upgrade equipment for first responders, and expand community violence intervention programs. 

    Governor Whitmer campaigned on a promise to “Fix the Damn Roads”. She’s keeping that promise with massive repairs underway or completed across Michigan. Legislators are working on expanding road repairs to local streets.

    • 24 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
8 Ratings

8 Ratings

MDPRocks ,

Great Podcast

Really enjoy this on point podcast!

negsml ,

Awesome Podcast

I love these podcasts. Very informative and well done! I look forward to learning about what is happening on the front lines from a Dems perspective! Keep on keeping on!! 💕

Sucker for Overhyped Software ,

Gets to the Point

MDP chair Lavora Barnes and her team provide a concise, well-produced summary of what the state’s Democratic leaders are doing to move Michigan forward. It’s a great way to start the week during your morning commute!

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