Talking Points for the Critical Election of 2014
This election is as important as a presidential election, because the Senate hangs in the balance. If Republicans take the Senate, Mitch McConnell has already threatened to shut down the government next year unless Obama accepts their radical plans to slash the budget, overturn the Affordable Care Act, limit the authority of the EPA,[i] and generally acquiesce to the entire Republican platform.
To counter the Republican onslaught, Democrats in Michigan have a host of great candidates to support this year.
Senate: Gary Peters v. Terri Lynn “I can’t do this” Land
In Congress, Gary Peters was described as “the single most effective person” in fighting against the forces that wanted to allow Detroit to go bankrupt. [ii] He understands the financial sector and its affects on the middle class: his experience as vice president at Paine Webber and teaching finance at Wayne State and Oakland Universities gave him the background to help author the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which reined in abuses after the 2008 financial collapse. He has voted for the Recovery Act, the Affordable Care Act, the Dream Act, and legislation to combat climate change.
Terri Lynn Land, Peters’ Republican counterpart, is not a strong candidate. In her first unscripted public appearance at Mackinac Island in 2013, she fled reporters who were asking her policy questions with an exclamation of, “I can’t do this”.[iii] Land has evaded any debate and avoids public appearances or policy statements, except to call for overturning the Affordable Care Act. Nonetheless, the Koch brothers seem confident enough that she will support the extreme positions of the Republican Party that they have seen fit to invest over $4 million in her election.[iv] Land could well provide votes for official planks of the Republican Party platform, such as turning Medicare into a voucher system, privatizing Social Security, and making all abortions illegal, even in the case of rape or incest. We cannot afford to have a Senator Terri Lynn Land.
Governor: Mark Schauer v. Rick Snyder
We’ve all heard it: “But isn’t Michigan’s doing okay under Snyder?” Michigan is doing “okay” because Democrats rescued the auto industry. Snyder, meanwhile, has focused on providing a bonanza to big business through dramatic tax cuts, at the same time that he has slashed funding for education, police, and fire. Was Snyder’s $1 billion cut to education “okay”? What effect has it had on kids? What effect will it have down the road on our competitiveness? Under Snyder taxes on most corporations have been eliminated, providing an 86% reduction in business taxes and reducing state revenues by $1.7 billion in 2012 alone. At the same time, taxes on actual people have increased by nearly a third through policies such as halting the planned rollback of the state income tax, adding new taxes on pension income, and rolling back the earned income tax credit. This is not the kind of “okay” that Michigan needs.[v]
Mark Schauer, in contrast, is sharply critical of Snyder’s tax cuts, supports reversing Snyder’s $1 billion cut to education, supports raising the Michigan minimum wage, and has said that he would work to legalize same sex marriage.[vi]
Secretary of State: Godfrey Dillard v. Ruth Johnson
Civil rights lawyer and Wayne State adjunct law professor Godfrey Dillard is running for the critical position of Secretary of State at a time when Republicans are attempting to use that office to restrict access to the polls. In Dillard’s own words, “Michigan is awash in unaccountable, unreported dark money. Our state needs a Secretary of State who will take on the entrenched special interests in Lansing – the same special interests who are corrupting Michigan’s political system with dark money every day.”[vii]
Dillard’s opponent, incumbent Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, is best known for pandering to xenophobia by attempting to introduce a citizenship check box on ballot applications in 2012, a move that prompted an injunction by a federal judge.
[v] Analysis by State Representative Jeff Irwin, http://annarbordems.org/2014/03/31/snyder-by-irwin.