Monthly Archives: September 2021

By the Numbers (Guest: Pollster Celinda Lake)



Mark Brewer discusses the ballot proposal he’s launching towards getting rid of the Electoral College (no more 2nd-place finishers in the White House), and Jeff analyzes another chaotic week for Michigan Republicans as their big-ticket Mackinac Conference finishes 2nd in attendance to a grassroots rally of party insurgents.

They are then joined by nationally renowned pollster Celinda Lake.

Lake 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, health care, the environment, and education. Her international work has included work in Liberia, Belarus, Ukraine, South Africa, and Central America.

Since its formation, Lake Research Partners has become one of the most respected Democratic polling firms in the country. The firm’s work has moved the progressive agenda forward on a variety of issues. Working against conservatives, Celinda’s research demonstrated that the phrase “religious political extremists” was much more communicative than the vernacular “religious right.” In the health care arena, her research has shown that talking about “reducing health care costs” is key, as well as focusing on the 8 out of 10 working families without adequate health insurance.

Lake is one of the nation’s foremost experts on electing women candidates and on framing issues to women voters. American Politics calls Celinda a “super-strategist or, better yet, the Godmother,” and Working Woman says she is “arguably the most influential woman in her field.” She is renowned for her groundbreaking research on single women voters in conjunction with the Voter Participation Center and has helped elect numerous female candidates, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, former Senator Barbara Mikulski – also known as the “Dean” of Women Senators –  former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, former Attorney General Patricia Madrid – the first Hispanic woman Attorney General in New Mexico– and former Senator Carol Moseley-Braun in her historic victory to become the first African-American woman to be elected to the United States Senate. Celinda has also worked with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the first female Speaker of the House.

Celinda has a long record of defeating incumbents, including congressional races for former Representative Donna Edwards, Representative Jerry McNerney, and former Representative Tim Walz. Celinda has also defeated several incumbents in the Senate, electing Senator Debbie Stabenow in Michigan, Senator Jon Tester in Montana, and former Senator Mark Begich in Alaska. She polled for West Virginia Governor Bob Wise’s win over incumbent Cecil H. Underwood. And, in 2006, Celinda was an integral part of the successful effort to help Democrats take back control of the House of Representatives.

Lake Research Partners has a long history of successful statewide initiative campaigns. Celinda polled in California to beat parental notification initiatives three times in a row. In 2006, Celinda helped with successful minimum wage campaigns in five states and was the pollster on the first successful effort to defeat an anti-gay marriage initiative in Arizona.

During the 1992 election cycle, Lake oversaw focus group research for the Clinton-Gore campaign and served as a general consultant throughout the campaign. She is also credited with identifying key voter groups including Reagan seniors, NASCAR dads, waitress moms, the marriage gap, and generation D. In 2005, she and Kellyanne Conway published What Women Really Want, which examines the ways women are changing the political landscape in America, with the Free Press.

Prior to forming Lake Research Partners, Celinda was partner and Vice President at Greenberg-Lake. Her earlier experience includes serving as Political Director of the Women’s Campaign Fund, as the Research Director at the Institute for Social Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and as a Policy Analyst for the Subcommittee on Select Education.

Lake is a native of Montana—born and raised on a ranch—and one of the political world’s most avid whitewater rafters. She holds a master’s degree in Political Science and Survey Research from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and a certificate in Political Science from the University of Geneva in Switzerland. She received her undergraduate degree from Smith College in Massachusetts, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude and was recently awarded the Distinguished Alumna Medal by the College. She received the lifetime achievement award from the American Association of Political Consultants (AAPC) with Republican Ed Goeas for her work on the Battleground Poll.


Our Own Worst Enemy (guest: Dr. Tom Nichols)



Mark Brewer and Jeff Timmer offer their take on Donald Trump’s intrusion into the Michigan GOP races for Secretary of State and Attorney General. Will his backing of far-right “Big Lie” promoters overcome the private hesitancy of party chair Ron Weiser?
The two of them are also veterans of multiple battles over redistricting. They analyze the first draft maps published by the new Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. Michigan loses one seat in Congress. Which party is more likely to prevail with the proposed boundaries?

In the second segment they are joined by international affairs expert and best-selling author Dr. Tom Nichols.

Nichols is the author of the newly published best seller Our Own Worst Enemy: The Assault from within on Modern Democracy. His previous 7 books includes The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters, published in 2017, a study of why people mistrust established knowledge and how this damages democratic stability. … a title even more relevant 4 years later.

Nichols is an academic specialist on international affairs, currently a professor at the U.S. Naval War College and at the Harvard Extension School. His work deals with issues involving Russia, nuclear weapons, and national security affairs. He was previously a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Nichols describes himself as a Never Trump conservative and a former Republican. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Nichols argued that conservatives should vote for Hillary Clinton, whom he detested, because Trump was “too mentally unstable” to serve as commander-in-chief. Nichols continued that argument for the 2018 midterm elections.


Can the GOP Be Saved from Itself? (Guest: Joe Trippi)



The gubernatorial campaign of James Craig got off to a rocky start with a blunder-filled “official” announcement. Mark and Jeff evaluate the would-be political slayer of Gretchen Whitmer. They also have a harsh assessment of state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey’s
“suggestion” that universities rely less on vaccinations and more on natural immunity.
They are then joined by legendary political consultant Joe Trippi.

Joe Trippi is a nationally renowned political strategist who has worked on several gubernatorial, United States Senate, and Congressional campaigns, including Jerry Brown for Governor of California and Doug Jones for U.S. Senate in Alabama. He has worked for several Democratic presidential campaigns, most notably as manager of the Howard Dean 2004 presidential campaign. He currently serves as a political commentator for CNN.

Trippi first came to prominence as Deputy Campaign Manager for Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley’s successful reelection bid in 1981 and his unsuccessful run in the 1982 California gubernatorial election. During Bradley’s gubernatorial campaign, Trippi installed one of the first in-house computers for a political campaign. Trippi used it for fundraising and targeting.

Since then, Trippi has helped lead winning campaigns for House members Tulsi Gabbard, Janice Hahn, Mark Takano, and Seth Moulton. In 2017, Trippi worked on the special election to fill the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions on behalf of Doug Jones. In his victory speech, Jones referred to Trippi as the “greatest political consultant in the world”.

Trippi is also the host of the “That Trippi Show” podcast.


The Politics of Abortion, Voter Suppression and School Boards



This week Mark Brewer and Jeff Timmer discuss in depth three of the issues that are driving politics:

  • The Texas ban on virtually all abortions, 49 years after Roe v Wade
  • The red-blue divide on voter suppression laws
  • The new, organized far-right effort to control school boards through intimidation and organization

Along the way, we get their analysis of why the upcoming state Republican summit on Mackinac Island is losing speakers. Mike Pence and Nikki Haley are “out” – are others also suddenly developing “scheduling conflicts”?


Voter Suppression and Redistricting (Guest: Katie Fahey)



Mark and Jeff focus on the latest Republican voter suppression petition drive and how time is running out if the GOP wants the changes in Michigan law to be in effect for the 2022 election.

Then they are joined by Katie Fahey, founder of Voters Not Politicians, in a discussion of how the new Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission is doing its job.

In November, 2016, Katie Fahey put a simple 2-sentence message on Facebook: “I’d like to take on gerrymandering in Michigan. If you’re interesting in doing this as well, please let me know.” followed by a smiley face emoticon, That simple post led to a statewide movement of more than 7,000 people who shocked the political world by amending Michigan’s constitution.

A graduate of Aquinas College, Katie is now a nationally recognized expert in grassroots activism. She is the first executive director of the non-profit organization The People.org which provides support for local grassroots movements nationwide.