Category Archives: Podcasts Library

Keep Building – Or Fail! (Guests: Amy Chapman, Jon Hoadley)

Donald Trump may be drawing a lot of heat for his Ye-Dinner with white nationalist Nick Fuentes at his Mar-A-Lago crime scene, but his acolytes in Michigan appear to be firmly in control of the state’s Republican Party. Potential criminal defendant Matt DePerno appears poised to become the new state Republican chair, but he now has opposition from a more traditional Republican: former congressman Pete Hoekstra.

State Democrats are in the middle of a different battle: the high-stakes debate over which states will go first in the 2024 presidential primary schedule. The lame-duck state Senate, still under Republican control, is cooperating with efforts to convince the Democratic National Committee to move Michigan to the head of the line.

Also in Michigan political news this week:

Joining the conversation this week are two of Michigan’s top political consultants, Amy Chapman and Jon Hoadley.

Chapman’s political activism dates back nearly 40 years. While earning her B.A. in politics and journalism from New York University in 1983, she worked on the field staff for former Rep. Andrew Maguire (D) of New Jersey in 1980. After graduating, she worked as the deputy field director and assistant to the political director for former California Senator Alan Cranston (D) when he ran for president in 1984. She was Michigan state director of the Obama presidential campaign in 2008, Oregon state director of the Bill Clinton campaign in 1992 and more recently headed up the Michigan Democratic Party’s coordinated campaign. Nine years ago Chapman formed Amy Chapman Consulting, based in Madison Heights to “provide strategic guidance, planning and assessment management” for nonprofit foundations and other organizations.  

Jon Hoadley served three terms in the Michigan House, representing the Kalamazoo area. Hoadley has been involved in LGBT and progressive political advocacy since college, and has worked on political campaigns since 2004. Currently, he serves on the Michigan Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights . Prior to his election to the Michigan Legislature, he became president and owner of Badlands Strategies, a progressive public affairs consulting firm. During this time he managed a local campaign to defend Kalamazoo’s local non-discrimination ordinance, and assisted with a similar campaign in Royal Oak.  He also managed the campaign to elect Justice Bridget Mary McCormack and worked with the Unity Michigan Coalition.


This week’s podcast is underwritten by Practical Political Consulting and EPIC-MRA. We thank them for supporting “A Republic, If You Can Keep It.”

The People’s Lawyer (Guest: Attorney General Dana Nessel)

On this week’s podcast:

In Lansing, Democrats are quickly and quietly putting in place their leadership structure as they prepare to take control of both chambers. In Washington, it’s just the opposite for House Republicans who face the prospect of being unable to elect a Speaker of the House.

The upcoming resignation of Michigan Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack brings some major changes to the court: a centrist Republican appointee as the new Chief Justice (at least, for awhile) and the first-ever black woman named to McCormack’s unfinished term.

Joining the conversation this week: Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel. Nesselwas reelected with an eight-and-a-half point victory over Big Lie promoter and potential criminal defendant Matt DePerno, a definite improvement over her narrow 2.75 point victory over Tom Leonard four years ago.

As Attorney General, her visibility rose first when state GOP chairman Ron Weiser referred to her as one of Michigan’s “three witches” (along with Gov. Whitmer and Secretary of State Benson), and achieved national prominence when then-President Donald Trump labeled her a “wacky do-nothing.”

Nessel first achieved legal prominence in 2014 when she 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. In 2016, she founded Fair Michigan, a nonprofit organization that works to prosecute hate crimes against the LGBT community.


This week’s podcast is underwritten by Practical Political Consulting and EPIC-MRA. We thank them for supporting “A Republic, If You Can Keep It.”

A New Hope (Guest: Sen. Jeremy Moss)

Welcome to 2024! The dust is still settling from last week’s mid-term elections (especially among the shell-shocked GOP), but Donald Trump’s inevitable campaign is now official … greeted by the New York Post headline “Florida Man Makes Announcement” and burying the story on page 26 <ouch!>.

Closer to home, Gretchen Whitmer surprised many by making it clear she has no Presidential ambitions. Also this week:

Joining the conversation this week is the newly named state Senate President Pro Tem, Jeremy Moss. Moss is completing his first term after serving for four years in the state House. He grew up in Southfield and attended Michigan State University where he participated in several student-led humanitarian aid missions in the US and around the globe, twice traveling to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to assist with cleanup efforts and spending time abroad in Uruguay to build housing in among the most impoverished areas of South America.

Moss’s political career began 11 years ago with a successful run for a seat on the Southfield City Council where became the youngest-ever elected official in the city’s history at age 25. In the state House he worked across the aisle to pass ten bills that would open up government records to public scrutiny by subjecting the governor’s office and state legislature to the principles of the Freedom of Information Act.


This week’s podcast is underwritten by Practical Political Consulting and EPIC-MRA. We thank them for supporting “A Republic, If You Can Keep It.”

The End of the Beginning – Analyzing the 2022 Mid-term Election

It was supposed to be a nationwide Red Wave, but nationally turned into a Pink Drizzle and (in Michigan) a Blue Tsunami. Mark and Jeff analyze an election that

  • Re-elected the Governor, Secretary of State and Attorney General
  • Flipped both the state Senate and state House to Democratic majorities
  • Gave overwhelming voter approval to a woman’s right to choose, progressive election reforms and changes in term limits
  • Kept the state’s Supreme Court with a 4-3 Democratic majority

Despite the pre-voting angst,it was a peaceful election with no controversies, no violence and a record turnout for a mid-term election. And just like that, the political calendar flips from 2022 to 2024!

The Final Days (guest: Chad Livengood)

It’s down to the last days and hours until Election Day. With more than 1.1-million votes already cast, the turnout likely will come close to the record mid-term election of 2018. The outcome is definitely in doubt: will the polls showing close-but-comfortable leads for the top of the Democratic ticket mean Michigan Democrats successful overcome the historic headwinds of a mid-term, or will the election deniers leading the state’s GOP ticket pull off historic upsets?

Add to it continuing false claims of election fraud in 2020 and it’s likely that next Tuesday will only be a waypoint in the 2022 election story as any (if not most) losing GOP candidates reflexively shout “rigged election” and “vote fraud”.

In the podcast, we mention one story that can help combat the claims of vote fraud: Bridge Michigan’s Jonathan Oosting does a deep dive into the many levels of security built into the state’s absentee voting process. We recommend the article to one and all!

Also this week:

Joining the pre-election conversation is the politics editor of the Detroit News, Chad Livengood.

Chad was a political reporter in The News’ Lansing Bureau from 2012 through 2016 before becoming a reporter and columnist at Crain’s Detroit Business. He rejoined The News’ politics team in May 2022. He began his journalism career as editor of Central Michigan University’s student paper. His early career included stints covering politics and government in Illinois and Delaware before returning to Michigan, and the Detroit News, ten years ago.


This week’s podcast is underwritten by Practical Political Consulting and EPIC-MRA. We thank them for supporting “A Republic, If You Can Keep It.”

A Peaceful Election Day? (Guest: Chris Thomas)

We’re less than two weeks away from election day; about three-quarters of a  million ballots have already been cast, and another million absentee ballots have been issued. November 8 may be Election Day, but the election could well drag on for weeks as losing candidates … at least among the Republican nominees … scream “stolen election”.

Some of the highlights of this week in Michigan politics:


Joining the conversation this week is Michigan’s top non-partisan elections expert, Chris Thomas. Thomas served as the state Elections Director for 36 years under both Republican and Democratic Secretaries of State. In that role he administered Michigan election law, campaign finance act and lobbyist disclosure law and served as Secretary to the Board of State Canvassers. He began his election administration career in 1974 in Washington, D.C. with the Clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives and the Federal Election Commission, joining the Michigan Elections office in 1982.

In 2013, President Obama appointed Thomas as a Commissioner on the Presidential Commission on Election Administration, which made recommendations to improve the election day experience of America’s voters. Thomas earned a B.A. in Political Science from Michigan State University, a M.A. in Urban Affairs from St. Louis University in St. Louis, MO, and a J.D. from Thomas Cooley Law School.


This week’s podcast is underwritten by Practical Political Consulting and EPIC-MRA. We thank them for supporting “A Republic, If You Can Keep It.”

Flipping the Legislature (Guests: Sen. Jim Ananich and Rep. Angela Witwer)

Absentee ballots are coming in a record rates with election day just three weeks away – and a lot of Republicans are preparing to scream “rigged election” after they lose since a lot of them, including the GOP’s statewide candidates, refuse to say they’ll accept the results.

On this week’s podcast, Jeff and Mark take a deep dive into what may be the most under-appreciated political battle this cycle: the battle for control of the Michigan Legislature. Republicans have dominated the Michigan Legislature for most of the last three decades, dating back to the GOP takeover of the Michigan Senate in 1983 (despite, thanks to gerrymandering, often getting fewer total votes that Democratic candidates). With the end of gerrymandered maps, Democrats are optimistic about flipping control of both the state Senate and House.

We’re joined by two legislators focused on flipping control of both chambers: Senate Democratic Leader Jim Ananich and Representative Angela Witwer. Ananich is term-limited after representing Genesee County in the Senate for 8 years; Witwer has served four years after flipping a suburban Lansing district in 2018.


This week’s podcast is underwritten by Practical Political Consulting and EPIC-MRA. We thank them for supporting “A Republic, If You Can Keep It.”


The Battle for Michigan’s 10th (Guest: Carl Marlinga)

It’s Debate Week in Michigan. Gretchen Whitmer faces off with Tudor Dixon in a one-hour TV event that pits the former talkshow host against Michigan’s first-term Governor.  The debate comes days after a new poll showing what we’ve suspected all along: Whitmer’s reelection lead is strong, but not the double-digit blowout indicated by earlier polls.

Also happening across Michigan’s political landscape this week:

Joining the podcast this week is Judge Carl Marlinga, running in the crucial 10th district against perpetual Republican candidate John James who has previously lost U.S. Senate bids to Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters.

Marlinga brings to the campaign nearly 40 years as the Macomb County Prosecutor and Macomb County Circuit Court and Probate Court Judge. On Feb. 25th, he retired after serving on the bench for 10 years, starting as probate judge in 2013 and then following his election to the 16th Judicial Circuit Court in 2016. From 1985-2004, he was elected and re-elected five times to be Macomb County prosecutor. 

(Mark) Marlinga has served as an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, and a special trial attorney with the U.S. Justice Department’s Organized Crime Strike Force, assigned to the Detroit office. 

A lifelong resident of Michigan, Marlinga graduated from the University of Detroit summa cum laude and earned his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School.


The Final Stretch (Guest: Rep. Elissa Slotkin)

As we speculated in last week’s podcast, Donald Trump spent most of his two-hour diatribe in Macomb County talking about … Donald Trump, dedicating about 5% of his speech to actually supporting the BIg Lie believers leading the GOP state ticket. Also in the political headlines this week: longtime Republican powerbroker Bob LaBrant calls this year’s GOP ticket “the most unqualified state-level ticket in recent Michigan history” as he actively supports the entire Democratic statewide slate; the state Legislature takes a small step towards a less chaotic election with bipartisan support for making the counting of Absentee Ballots more timely; and the rhetoric is becoming more heated from opponents of the the Voting Rights and Reproductive Freedom ballot proposals.

Early voting has begun and the battleground races in Michigan have the attention of the nation. Four of Michigan’s 13 congressional districts are considered tossups.We’ll talk with one of the candidates in that spotlight: mid-Michigan two-term Representative Elissa Slotkin.

Representative Slotkin defied the political odds in 2018, ousting Republican Congressman Mike Bishop even as Donald Trump was winning in her congressional district. She was reelected in 2020, again in a district carried by Trump, downing challenge Paul Junge.

Slotkin was raised on the family farm in Holly. She has been in public service since graduating with a Masters in International Affairs from Columbia University. After graduate school she was recruited into the Central Intelligence Agency. Fluent in Arabic and Swahili, she served three tours in Iraq as a CIA analyst.

During the George W. Bush administration, she worked on the Iraq portfolio for the National Security Council. During Barack Obama‘s presidency, she worked for the State Department and the Department of Defense. Slotkin was acting assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs from 2015 to 2017.

In Congress she is recognized as an expert on national security issues, and also for her ability to work across party lines as a member of the bipartisan Problem-Solvers Caucus.


This week’s podcast is underwritten by Practical Political Consulting and EPIC-MRA. We thank them for supporting “A Republic, If You Can Keep It.”


And the Voting Begins (Guest: Tim Miller)

Early voting is underway in Michigan. In the race for Governor, Tudor Dixon is finally campaigning, focusing on social wedge issues, but her campaign continues to lack money. She may get some help when the nation’s #1 election denier, Donald Trump, brings his Big Lie Tour to Michigan this weekend to talk about himself and maybe help Tudor and the rest of the Republican statewide ticket.

The polls are saying that, as of now, it could be a Democratic landslide at the top of the ticket in Michigan. With voting underway, these polling numbers are much more significant than before. The most recent come to us via EPIC/MRA. The company’s CEO, Bernie Porn, talks with Mark and Jeff about his latest measure of the electorate..

Then we’re joined by former GOP political consultant Tim Miller. He is best known for his role as communications director for the Jeb Bush 2016 presidential campaign and for being an outspoken Republican critic of former U.S. president Donald Trump.

Miller was an Iowa staffer for John McCain in the 2008 Republican Party presidential primaries, and later served as national press secretary for the Jon Huntsman 2012 presidential campaign. During the Bush campaign, Miller drew notice as a “vocal critic” of Donald Trump.
In 2020, Miller co-founded the advocacy organization Republican Voters Against Trump, which sponsored television and internet advertisements featuring lifelong Republicans explaining their decision to vote for former vice president Joe Biden instead of Trump, and served as its political director. He is now a contributing writer for The Bulwark and ROlling Stone, and a frequent guest commentator on MSNBC and CNN.

Miller recently published the best-selling book Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell.


This week’s podcast is underwritten by Practical Political Consulting and EPIC-MRA. We thank them for supporting “A Republic, If You Can Keep It.”