Vision — Michigan Democracy — 2020

Marshall Clabeaux
Dec 23, 2019 · 8 min read

“20/20 vision is a term for visual acuity in which the numerator refers to distance and the denominator refers to size”

“Democracy (Greek: δημοκρατία dēmokratía, literally “rule by people”) is a form of government in which the people have the authority to choose their governing legislation.”

Hindsight is 20/20 — An individual has a realization about the event that should have been obvious all along, yet they didn’t catch on because they were acting in the heat of the moment.”

The year 2020 will have an eye on the state of Michigan politics.

For numerator’s sake:
Voters hit the Election polls:
Democratic Presidential Primary- Tuesday, March 10, 2020
Primary Election- Tuesday, August 4, 2020
General Election- Tuesday, November 3, 2020

And for denominator’s sake:
A state makeup of 10 million people, 96,716 square miles and a divided political genetic makeup. In the 2018 elections, Republicans return majorities to the State House and Senate despite losing the statewide vote count to Democrats. Democrats picked up 5 seats in both houses as well as the Governor and Attorney General seats. Information on Congressional races can found here: How Michigan’s Congressional makeup changed in the 2018 midterms

Political Map highlighting general voter affiliations in Michigan — Republican (red) vs Democrat (blue)

You might not find a more important battleground state if you seek the Presidency of the United States.

That appears clear by actions of the incumbent President Donald J. Trump. Note that Michigan Republicans are withholding any opponents in a 2020 republican primary election, more information can be found here: Michigan Republicans want Trump to run uncontested in 2020 primary

In his 2016 election, Donald Trump visited my hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan as his last stop before celebrating victory on election night. This victory came as a surprise shock for many .. but for me, it was the destined, sad ending to a broken democratic process. Before the general public was given information to understand the democratic party nomination rigging and proven foreign interference, I had predicated a Trump victory in a winning bet dating back to September 2016. This bet was made confidently months after suspecting he would win. I had my first ‘gut instinct’ as I watched a Trump campaign event during a snowy Michigan night in March 2016.

People often ask, how did I know Donald Trump would win?

The answer is that I got to meet a lot of people across the culturally diverse state, thousands of Michiganders. I spent nearly every warm waking day of 2016 canvassing the state of Michigan. All of my canvassing efforts were in alignment of shutting down the dangerous Line 5 Pipeline that threatens 20% of the worlds fresh water supply. Whether it was doing election organizing work or Field Managing with Clean Water Action, I was likely in the streets across the state from coast to fresh shining coast. I talked to thousands of prospective voters and walked 400+ miles in the month lead up to the November 9, 2016 election between Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump. I certainly learned much about our state — democracy and the people making that democracy function. I also ended up with pneumonia, that part wasn’t very fun.

This map shows how Trump won by 10,704 total votes over Clinton

I felt a calling to prevent a Trump Presidency after reading The Making of Donald Trump. I received an early release copy of this book at Clean Water Action’s Canvassers Conference, where the author, David Cay Johnston, spoke to us on the potential perils of a Trump presidency from his point of view. At the time of writing the book, David had known Trump for 28 years. It was clear to me our democracy was under threat if Trump were to win.

Before I begin focusing more on the 2020 Elections, there was an important 2016 Democratic Primary in Michigan not to forget.

So you say you want a revolution ~

This famous Beatles song represented a lot for me in 2016. Whether it was our CWA crew from Lansing, MI singing the song at the annual Canvassers Conference Talent Show in Paducah, KY, a rallying cry of the Bernie Sanders campaign or my Spotify shuffle seemingly always playing the jam, I was feeling revolution.

For months, comrades and I worked to help a little known Senator from Vermont to win the Democratic Primary here in Michigan.

Bernie Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton in an upset win by 18,427 votes.

Without further diving back into the 2016 primary and into the reasons for Bernie not winning the nomination vs the Clinton campaign, I leave this meme.

2020 has arrived.

This arrival certainly comes not without political controversy.

The 45th President of the United States, Donald J Trump, was impeached on November 18, 2019 on two Articles of Impeachment by the US House of Representatives. He now awaits trial in the US Senate. Must see TV in 2020 if I do say so myself.

On the night of his impeachment, Donald Trump kicked off a “Merry Christmas” rally in Battle Creek, Michigan by stating “it doesn’t really feel like we’re being impeached.”

Battle Creek, MI aligning as the location for a key campaign stop on the somber night of Presidential Impeachment felt all too right. My experiences of canvassing Battle Creek run deep. From having a dog released on me, a gun pointedly pointed at me as I was told to leave the property upon greeting or the common passing of a doll in noose hanging outside a local business that was needed to pass on the way out of town, I understand the makeup of the 5,400 people allowed in the arena for the rally.

A 2020 Presidential win runs through Michigan.

NBC has pegged Kent County as most important 2020 presidential battleground.

“The county was once a reliable stronghold for the Republican Party but has become more politically competitive as Democrats begin to make gains in suburbs surrounding Grand Rapids. That’s why NBC News and “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd is embedding political reporters in Kent County — to cover the area’s “transformation” and hear from voters who may decide the next election.”

“I’m obsessed with it,” Todd told MLive.com. “If I were on a desert island and I’m told I’m only going to get results from one county in America, I might pick Kent over every other county.”

I hope to cross paths with Chuck, discuss politics or just have a good beer at one of our local establishments. I believe I hold an unique perspective of Kent County.

Having grown up on the very south end of Kent County in Caledonia, MI, I have exposed and can relate to the rural voter.

Shout out to fellow Caledonia, MI activist — Katie Fahey — for making The Guardian and helping make our democracy more of a democracy here in Michigan! Article found below.

Republicans tried to rig the vote in Michigan — but ‘political novices’ just defeated them

Since the 2016 election, I have continued to knock doors across the state of Michigan. A majority of my recent work was knocking thousands of doors across Kent County for 2018 State Elections in Michigan. The work was primarily focused in neighborhoods of low income voters across greater downtown Grand Rapids shown in this highlighted portion of the larger Kent County map.

Kent County Map

I currently live in Lansing, MI. While being physically removed from Kent County for most of my days, I still spend many return visits and have family and friend relationships with voting constituents across the County.

The most exciting race nationally for me in the 2020 election will be the Michigan 3rd District Congressional race to replace outgoing and spoken Representative Justin Amash.

Rep. Amash has made recent news because of his departure of the Republican Party for Independent status. Here is an interesting article of Amash fact checking Republican colleagues’ defense of Trump against impeachment.

Those who have declared candidacy for MI-03 seat of interest to me are newly Independent Justin Amash, Republican Primary Candidate Peter Meijer and Democratic Primary Candidate Nick Colvin. The full list of candidates for MI-03 can be found here.

For more Kent County fun, here is NBC’s Meet the Press — Kent County, County by County Introduction.


To me, democracy is what America makes America great. A free society and the privileges that come with that freedom are solely dependent on the values and engagement of the citizens in democracy. I believe the President and his closest allies are a threat to a free and fair democracy. This is why I support our congress and their action of impeachment.

The slogan of Make America Great Again resonated with people. Millions tout the infamous red hats and other MAGA gear. I find great irony and sadness in those representations. Our diversity and democracy, the very things that make America Great are under attack. Even more important than the democracy at risk, in choosing to support that gear, I believe you are turning a cruel blind eye towards the unconscionable events and death at our southern border. These actions alone are deserving of impeachment. I challenge every President Trump supporter to look at their privilege and consider what might happen if we were to lose our democratic rights, it just may be your shoes in a pile next.


I look forward to 2020 and the organizing it will require to defend our democracy. This election is our second chance and we just may not get another.

What will you be able to tell future generations about our democracy in 2020? Who will be doing the tale telling in 2050?

Hindsight is 20/20 may be true for most in regards to the 2016 election but let us not allow 2020 to become a hindsight we let slip away. Our democracy may just slip away with it.

May you and yours find peace in 2020 and beyond.

best, in cooperation,

~Marshall Clabeaux
Cooperative Community & Energy Enthusiast

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