Editor's note: Vanguard Senior Vice President Jen Eyer joins a panel of political pundits to discuss fundraising and potential evidence of the long anticipated "blue wave."
Q. Should the unusually high fundraising totals for some Democratic candidates at this stage of the election year be considered evidence that a "blue wave" is likely to materialize in November?
According to Jen EYER, vice president of Vanguard Public Affairs, agreed. The solid funding numbers are good news for Democrats, but their impact shouldn't be overestimated.
"Democrats are performing very well, both in fundraising and in elections around the country," Eyer said. "Here in Michigan, we do have some Democratic candidates who are outpacing or at least coming very close to their incumbent Republican opponents. Fundraising shows strength, and it's clear that Elissa Slotkin is coming for U.S. Rep. Mike BISHOP (R-Rochester Hills). But there's a danger that too much talk of a 'blue wave' could cause some Democrats to count on being carried with the tide. Democrats can't afford to get complacent."
Q. Gretchen WHITMER, the frontrunner in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, is clearly striving to tie her name inexorably to the phrase 'Fix the Damn Roads.' Is there anything the Republicans could do to counteract this messaging?
Eyer maintains that the Republicans already dropped the ball on this issue and there's no way they can recover.
"Well, they could have fixed the damn roads, but it's too late for that," Eyer said. "They've had total control of our state government for years, and during that time, our roads, bridges, even our public-school buildings have fallen further and further into disrepair. People are beyond frustrated about it. I suppose Republicans could clutch their pearls over her language, but even that rings hollow.
"Whitmer's language is tame compared to how Michiganders feel about the damage our roads are inflicting on their cars, or even their lives. Our roads are dangerous, people are angry, and Republicans own it, 100 percent."
Q. The national "anti-corruption" group "Represent.Us posted messages that strongly suggested using violence against Michigan Chamber of Commerce board members who are working to defeat the Voters Not Politicians ballot proposal. By employing such a tactic did the group basically hand opponents of the measure a potentially powerful argument to use against the proposal?
"Threats of violence are never advised," Eyer said. "Besides being morally wrong and illegal, they are counterproductive from a PR standpoint because they make the opponent into a sympathetic victim. Anyone doing it should cut it out."
Q. Are those opposed to this year's ballot proposals fighting so hard to keep them off the ballot because they really don't think they could defeat them in an election or are they primarily just trying to avoid being forced to spend what it would take to defeat them?
Eyer chose answer number 3.
"They're afraid these ballot proposals will drive Democratic turnout," Eyer said. "And when more citizens vote, Republicans usually lose. That's why Republicans fight so hard to suppress the vote, and that's why they don't want to give up control of drawing legislative districts to an independent citizen panel.
"Republicans know that if the playing field is leveled, the party that actually gets the most votes in our elections statewide - Democrats -- will once again gain control of our state," Eyer continued. "So, they are fighting tooth and nail to prevent that from happening, and to prevent people's voices from being heard. Maybe if they spent more time and money fixing the damn roads instead of fighting ballot issues, they wouldn't have to worry about suppressing the vote."
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