Michigan in national news: Why Dingell, Kildee go on Fox News, ads featuring regretful Trump voters

By: - November 17, 2019 7:22 am

Susan J. Demas graphic

It’s the triumphant return of our periodic feature of national news spotlighting the Mitten State. (Sorry, we’ve been a bit busy with President Trump’s impeachment and the realization that Michigan’s budget will never be finished).

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee | Andrew Roth

Our weekend roundup begins with the Daily Beast looking at Democrats who choose to go on Fox News, including two Michigan House members, U.S. Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn) and Dan Kildee (D-Flint).

Roll Call has a story on the outsized importance of certain states in 2020, including (you guessed it) Michigan. And the New York Times reports on new ads from the SuperPAC American Bridge that are airing in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania featuring Trump supporters who regret their 2016 vote for him.

Dems you see on Fox News

While some Democrats, like presidential hopeful U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) refused to do a Fox News debate, arguing the network is “hate-for-profit machine,” others see appearances on there as a good way to reach a different audience. The story notes that the chairs of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, Dingell and David Cicilline (D-R.I.), both go on Fox News.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell | Andrew Roth

Dingell tells reporter Sam Brodey of the Dem base: “Trust me, I can get killed after doing Fox. But there are many people who thank me.”

Brodey writes that Kildee goes on to show Fox viewers “that not all House Democrats are ‘fire-breathing Trump haters,’ adding that he represents “three quarters of a million people, and some big number of them watch Fox News.” While he has concerns about Fox’s opinion shows, Kildee says, “I have to balance that against what I think my overarching obligation is: Do the job when it’s interesting and easy, and do the job when it’s hard. This is one of the times when it’s hard.”

Remorseful Trump voters

The NYT is known for spending a lot of time talking to Trump voters who still love Trump, but this week, the paper of record did a story on a liberal group running TV ads in the Midwest featuring voters who regret casting their 2016 ballot for the president — and won’t do so in 2020.

American Bridge, chaired by Michigan Democratic former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, is spending tens of millions in three states Trump flipped in ’16, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, as the Advance previously reported.

One ad features a Macomb County voter, Lori Malburg from Romeo, who declared, “I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that I voted for Donald Trump at this point.”

Dem SuperPAC spending $50M in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania

Four for ’20

And finally, Roll Call reporters Bridget Bowman, Simone Pathé and Stephanie Akin write about four states they believe will be pivotal in next year’s presidential election and they’re all in the Midwest (depending on your definition, of course, but that’s a debate for another time). According to the trio, the states are Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and yes, Michigan.

John James (left) and Gary Peters (right) | Photos by Ken Coleman and Andrew Roth

We’re going to highlight the Great Lakes State section, because that’s what we do. The writers note the broad dynamics of Michigan swinging to Trump in 2016, but Democrats making gains in the 2018 midterms. What’s interesting for ’20 is that we have “one of the country’s most vulnerable Democratic senators and also should have plenty of down-ballot action,” they write, referencing U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.), who’s facing a well-funded challenge from Republican businessman John James.

As for competitive congressional races, Roll Call flags the 8th and the 11th, Southeast Michigan seats both flipped last year by Democrats, U.S. Reps. Elissa Slotkin of Holly and Haley Stevens of Rochester Hills, respectively. The reporters include the 6th in Southwest Michigan held by the dean of Michigan’s congressional delegation, U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph), and the 3rd in West Michigan as a wildcard, as U.S. Rep. Justin Amash of Cascade Township left the GOP to become an independent.

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Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 22-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQ+ people, the state budget, the economy and more. She previously served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 90 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 5,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 80 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two kids along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.