2014 Ranking (2013 Ranking)
#1 (Not Ranked) Out of Touch Progressives- Progressives generally are less interested in being part of a large bureaucracy like a political party, a corporation, or a megachurch. Maybe because bureaucracies promote a top down flow of ideas, trickle down think-a-nomics if you will. My attempts to interact with prominent state Democrats lead me to this realization. I have sent emails and Facebook messages to Lon Johnson, Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party. Despite helping him with his state representative campaign in 2012, I never got a reply. When Mark Schauer officially announced his campaign for governor, I made a very small campaign donation. I followed that up with an email inviting him to my neck of the woods. No response. A recent email I sent to likely Democratic Senator nominee Congressman Gary Peters has not been responded to. I tried contacting Senate Majority Leader Gretchen Whitmer with my school safety ideas. Again, no response. I recently took to twitter asking for a retweet of my post about Michigan’s stagnant business climate. I asked Whitmer, Johnson, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, and progressive talk show host Tony Truipiano for a retweet. Only Tony Truipiano obliged. However, I receive requests for donations in my email inbox daily from some of these individuals. This one way relationship could prevent Democrats from taking back our government in November because too few progressives will feel compelled to pitch in to get out the message and the vote. If this occurs, the anti-worker, anti-women, and anti-poor and middle class legislation being churned out by Republicans will continue until at least 2016.
#2 (Not Rated) Out of Touch Republicans- Michigan Republicans are out of touch. They have no idea what the typical Michigander faces in their day to day life. Let’s take a look at two state representatives to illustrate this point. My State Representative, Phil Potvin, took over his family’s successful business, the business dumped toxic waste a mile from the city’s well field, the city newspaper never ran a story on it, and he never went to jail. Eventually they went out of business. Then he was elected twice as a state representative. Meanwhile, the local newspaper ran a story about a man who may face life in prison for shoplifting! Another more notable legislator, Lisa Posthumus Lyons, was brought back down to Earth a bit this year when one of her former teachers wrote her a letter telling her he was “appalled and offended” after Michigan’s least ethical legislator likened teachers to pigs that get fat and need to get slaughtered. It is these kind of actions, these kind of inflammatory statements, and a lot of bad legislation like the “rape insurance” bill that clearly indicate Michigan Republicans are out of touch with regular Michiganders.
#3 (#5) Dark Money/Lack of Transparency- Governor Snyder promised, but has not delivered, more transparency in government. This year the Governor shut down his controversial NERD Fund rather than disclose its donors. It is a good bet that had he disclosed the donors, all kinds of conflict of interest situations would have been uncovered particularly as it pertains to the Emergency Manager in Detroit. When Republican Secretary of State Ruth Johnson introduced a measure to make so called “issue ads” disclose their funders, Republicans in the legislature caught wind and introduced legislation to block disclosure on the very same day. That bill, which Governor Snyder signed, also increased campaign contributions limits even though only.008 of Michiganders had hit the current campaign limits. Don’t take my word for it though. The Center for Public Integrity still gives Michigan a solid F on their Corruption Risk Report Card because of this lack of transparency.
#4 (#1) Governor Rick Snyder- What makes Snyder great at accounting (one of his degrees) makes him bad at being a Governor. People are not numbers. Government isn’t a business. Sure, people want to be represented by smart people, but they also want to be represented by compassionate people. Governor Snyder seems to lack empathy and an understanding of everyday folk. One way to judge a politician is to look at how their policy impacts the least among us. Under Snyder’s watch the percentage of children living in poverty has risen to almost a quarter of all Michigan children. That is shameful and just another way that the Governor is transforming our great state into what some are now calling Michissippi.
#5 (Not Rated) Michigan’s Conservative “Think Tanks”- The Mackinac Center for Public Policy and The The Great Lakes Education Project are two of Michigan’s most prominent “think tanks.” They regularly put out anti-government and anti-public education propaganda. Too often Michigan newspapers run their stories as legitimate news stories rather than editorial pieces. One newspaper in 2013 finally wised up and booted the Mackinac Center’s propaganda from its pages. It appears that many other newspapers are happy to receive free content regardless of its legitimacy. These Michigan based think tanks, along with the most influential national think tank, The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), have untold influence on our government, especially when the state government is controlled by one political party. These think tanks are funded by secret money, often from millionaires and billionaires, and they typically take advantage of taxpayers by being given tax-exempt status. In essence, they give big money donors an even greater voice in our government.
Just missed the cut: The Michigan Chamber of Commerce