Category Archives: News

Shocking Development out of the Big Ten Conference

Just two days after the Mid-American Conference announced it would forego fall sports and instead choose to reschedule games to the spring, the Big Ten Conference appears poised to cancel fall sports as well.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the Big Ten has voted to cancel fall sports and most shockingly of all, Big Ten football. This comes on the heels of a statement from the Big Ten that seemed to offer some hope by allowing practice in helmets for the time being, though the release left future developments shrouded in some uncertainty.

While the move may not seem entirely surprising giving the current climate surrounding Covid-19 responses, momentum seemed to be heading in the other direction with marquee players such as Justin Fields (Ohio State), Trevor Lawrence (Clemson) and others starting a hashtag campaign making their desire to play this fall clear.

Unlike smaller conferences, such as the MAC, which may benefit players having the opportunity to showcase their talent nearer to the NFL draft next spring, it seems that such a move by Power 5 schools will most certainly mean that top tier NFL talent will forego any rescheduled timetable. First round locks, such as Fields and Lawrence, appeared primed for at least one more run as college stars and instead will likely miss their final amateur seasons.

This story is still developing and we will keep you updated on any news as it breaks.

Mid-American Conference Postpones all Fall Sports

The Mid-American conference and its three Michigan member schools (Central, Eastern & Western) have announced that fall sports will be cancelled this fall and rescheduled to the spring.

The move comes just days after it was announced that Western University would maintain its lucrative matchup with Notre Dame. However, with most member schools losing their Power 5 contests and budget constraints put on programs playing games without fans, the MAC decided it would be best to postpone and hope for better opportunities to play in the spring.

While larger conferences benefit from tv deals, larger brand sponsorships, apparel sales, etc. the Mid-American conference, and football specifically, require a combination of Power 5 windfalls and fans in the stands to recoup costs of running programs.

We will provide updates as we become aware of any developing details. We now wait to see if this creates a cascade into other conferences and programs or if Notre Dame will have time to find a new opponent without casting another wave into schedules across the country.

Governor Whitmer Names ‘Racism’ a Public Health Crisis

The governor has announced an update to last month’s press conference, which forecast her administration’s moves to combat systemic racism within the health field.

The argument made in that press conference detailed disparities between healthcare outcomes and illness across racial lines. The prescription given at the time was to require training in racial sensitivity as part of continuing education mandates. The move drew criticism from some in the healthcare field, who saw the comments as an attack on their integrity and overlooked other explanations for incongruities between racial groups.

“We must confront systemic racism head on so we can create a more equitable and just Michigan.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer

A month later, the Whitmer administration once again took the podium and the state’s attention, amid the coronavirus pandemic, to announce a further development in their push. The governor officially named “racism” to be a public health emergency.

“We must confront systemic racism head on so we can create a more equitable and just Michigan,” Whitmer explained. Her order also establishes a Black Leadership Advisory Council, which will be filled by 16 applicants from around Michigan. Applications are due August 19.

Meijer & Tlaib Grab High Profile Primary Victories before November Election

Two primary races had their answer early on primary election night, while the race that drew most attention across the state and nation required more time to settle over night.

In a battle to challenge Republican turned Independent turned Libertarian party congressman Justin Amash for his 3rd District house seat, Peter Meijer overcame state representative veteran Lynn Afendoulis.

Meijer, a veteran and member of the affluent Meijer family in West Michigan, announced his candidacy immediately following Amash’s decision to split with the GOP ticket. The bid was an apparent answer to Amash’s centrist track of governance, which has challenged both sides of the aisle on policy and excess. The role has often left him playing the foil in a lane that has brought him a cult following, but a lot of political rivals along the way.

Meijer’s announcement was a clear shot across the bow that sought to capitalize on discontent among GOP Trump loyalists and supporters who have grown weary of Amash’s criticisms of the president. He will no doubt try to amplify that chorus between now and November in a race that is sure to draw national attention and forecast the political climate in West Michigan.

Meanwhile, across the state, incumbent Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan’s 13th district had to wait until the next day for confirmation, thanks in part to the historically large numbers of ballots being cast by mail. The race showcased the challenges sure to be found this November, as well as some unique factors that may come into play with this season’s demographic turnout.

Tlaib bested longtime Detroit councilwoman, Brenda Jones, in a rematch of 2018. Unlike that race, this year pitted the two in a one-on-one matchup.

Political aficionados and twitter activists watched this race from across the nation. Tlaib has made a name for herself nationally in her inaugural term, even if at times for notorious reasons. She famously screamed to “Impeach the mother f——-!” in front of a raucous crowd of supporters and underwent an inquiry into potential ethics violations during her 2018 campaign. That inquiry ended this week after the investigation, dating to fall of 2019, concluded. The house ordered Tlaib to pay back over ten thousand dollars she had withdrawn from the campaign coffers for personal, but stopped short of leveling the congresswoman with any official indictment.

Whether in spite of these news items or perhaps because of the national recognition she has received from them, Tlaib walked away with a solid victory and will likely make her way back to the halls of congress for a second term this November.

Governor Whitmer Announces Stricter Statewide Guidelines

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced at 9pm via Twitter on Tuesday night that she would be expanding and re-upping various restrictions in the mitten state as a response to what she claims has been a recent spike in cases.

“I’ve said this from the start — these are difficult decisions, but I will do what is necessary to protect the brave men and women on the front lines, avoid overwhelming our healthcare system, and save lives,” Whitmer tweeted on Tuesday night.

Her most recent order rolls back indoor gatherings to 10 or fewer people in a state-wide restriction that much of the progress that had been made towards opening the state. Other restrictions that have pertained to much of the state’s restaurants and taprooms will now also be extended to areas of northern Michigan, which had been largely open in recent weeks.

The full text of the press release is below for your review.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LANSING, Mich. – Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-160 and Executive Order 2020-161, amending Michigan’s Safe Start Order and issuing revised workplace safeguards. Under the Safe Start Order, starting July 31, 2020, statewide indoor gatherings will be limited to 10 people and bars will be closed for indoor service across the state, including in Regions 6 and 8.

“As we see COVID-19 cases continue to rise, Michiganders cannot afford to drop our guard. We must take every step possible to saave lives, protect the brave men and women on the front lines, and avoid overwhelming our healthcare system while we continue to combat COVID-19,” said Governor Whitmer. “After seeing a resurgence in cases connected to social gatherings across the state, we must further limit gatherings for the health of our community and economy. By taking these strong actions, we will be better positioned to get our children back into classrooms and avoid a potentially devastating second wave.”   

COVID-19’s resurgence is closely associated with super-spreading events at large social gatherings, often attended by young people. An outbreak at a Lansing bar has resulted in 187 infections; more than 50 cases have been linked to a single house party in Saline; and a sandbar party at Torch Lake over the July 4 weekend led to at least 43 confirmed cases. Therefore, Executive Order 2020-160 limits statewide indoor gatherings to 10 people or less and, across most of the state, limits outdoor gatherings to 100. (The outdoor gathering limits will remain at 250 in Regions 6 and 8.)  

Executive Order 2020-160 also orders that bars in every region, including those in regions 6 and 8, must close for indoor service if they earn more than 70% of their gross receipts from sales of alcoholic beverages.  

Under the governor’s orders, Detroit casinos will also be allowed to open on August 5, but their occupancy will be limited to 15% capacity. Casinos must also, among other things, conduct a daily entry screening protocol for customers and employees, temperature screening. Casinos must require patrons to wear a face covering, except while eating or drinking or for identification purposes. 

Executive Order 2020-160 will rescind Executive Orders 2020-110, 2020-115, 2020-120, 2020-133, and 2020-143.  

Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.  

To view Executive Order 2020-160 and Executive Order 2020-161, click the links below: 

MHSAA Releases Updated Guidelines for Fall Sports

As students prepare to enter the 2020-2021 school year and athletes ready themselves to participate in early-season practices and tryouts, the MHSAA has a released their updated guidelines for fall sports programs. The full text of the release is below.

Dear MHSAA Community,

The Representative Council met this morning to discuss fall sports.  Here is a summary of the action taken.

  • Approved a “phased-in” approach to fall athletics.
  • Eliminated scrimmages in all fall sports; the only occasions where students from different schools would be together is for official games, matches, meets and competitions.
  • Finalized the fall sports guidance documents for the safe return to activity.  This guidance includes general information along with sport-specific directives for students, coaches, staff, officials and media members.  Spectator guidance will be added once those number of individual limits are finalized by the Governor’s office.  These documents are posted at mhsaa.com on each sport page and comply with all Executive Orders from Governor Whitmer.
  • New competition limits in all fall sports were approved to limit the number of teams and individuals at any one competition site.  The concept is fall competition will take place as locally as possible with no large-scale events, invitationals or tournaments.  See the fall sport-specific guidance documents for these limits.
  • Allowed all low-risk sports to begin practice and competition as scheduled on August 12.  This includes golf, tennis, cross country and swimming.  Swimming can begin indoor practice and competition once pools are opened  with capacity limitations being followed.
  • Allowed moderate-risk sports of soccer and volleyball (pending the opening of school gyms) to begin practice as scheduled on August 12 but to delay competition.  Decisions on competition timelines (to start or to delay further) would be made on or by August 20.
  • Delayed the start of football practice with full player pads and equipment until Monday, August 17.  The week of August 10 shall only include practice sessions that consists of conditioning, physical training and skill work but without player equipment other than helmets.  This week of acclimatization (August 10-16) is similar to the allowed summer activities with helmets, only, that have been ongoing since June.  Decisions on competition timelines (to start or to delay further) would be made on or by August 20. 

The MHSAA will continue to be nimble and flexible in these uncertain times.  The Council will be meeting regularly and we will continue to provide updates and possible modifications based on the most current information, directives from state government and health department officials and member school feedback.

Thank you.

Mark Uyl
MHSAA Executive Director

Coronavirus Antibody Testing Provides Hope as Mortality Rate Appears Lower than Early Indications

The potential for hope might seem misplaced as the world faces down the start of another month battling the novel coronavirus.

It may be hard to understand the full context of how far we have come in the last several months. Our newsfeeds and televisions have seen a steady flow of articles, opinion pieces and news conferences detailing the latest information and data surrounding this worldwide pandemic.

In March, early models out of the Imperial College London forecasted a grim scenario for the United States of 2.2 million dead. As we began to digest images and data out of Italy and China, Americans became increasingly concerned that fatality rates for the infected might be 10% or more and an underlying concern that some unknown number could carry the virus undetected led governments around the world to take sweeping action on a scale not seen by the modern world.

Toilet paper, cleaning products, hand sanitizer, bread, meat, rice, beans and other assorted grocery products disappeared from shelves. Americans were told masks were unnecessary. Then they were told masks were mandatory for anyone without a medical exemption. Businesses and workers, told to stay home, waited anxiously for unemployment checks to arrive. Some are still waiting.

All these unknowns and more have left Americans stranded in a sea of confusion, as well as political & social division, with available data offering little solace. The confirmed positive tests and fatalities linked to the virus have given Americans little room for hope or positivity in the weeks since America’s first outbreaks. Projected mortality rates based solely on confirmed infections and presumptive fatalities have continued to paint a grim picture of numbers as high as 10% or more in some regions.

In the weeks since, death estimates have been revised from millions to hundreds of thousands and now hover around 75,000 by August. Despite this reassuring trend, the countless tragic stories pouring in from around the country maintain the concerns of many politicians and constituents about the veracity of the coronavirus and the disease it causes, Covid-19.

The concerns of citizens, desperate for the economy to reopen and those still grappling with the apocalyptic view presented by mounting presumptive fatality & confirmed infection totals may be granted a reprieve in the coming weeks as the tide of data coming in begins to take a reassuring turn.

Antibody testing in several places in the United States and around the world is beginning to shed light on many of the coronavirus’ darkest corners. Most recently, extensive testing has been compiled in New York, Boston (Chelsea) and Miami-Dade County. Other testing was also completed in two separate California studies (Santa Clara/Stanford & LA County/USC). While numbers are not exhaustive, they do give us the clear indication that our infection totals, and thus previous estimates of the virus’ mortality, are off by some degree. In fact, if recent findings are remotely accurate, conservative estimates put infection totals off by a factor of 15-20x depending on the region of the country.

While that news might be shocking and perhaps even terrifying, there is reason for optimism. As the picture of the infection denominator comes into view and a more accurate depiction of infection spread is known, the rate of deaths per infection necessarily falls. That change in data means significant reductions in estimates of the coronavirus’ mortality rate.

In the University of Miami study, researchers determined with reasonable probability through antibody testing that infection rates were anywhere between 12-22x higher than the county’s confirmed total of approximately 11,500. The findings led the team reach a median rate of 16.5x more infections than recorded through previous testing. The data, in effect, would cause Miami-Dade county’s infection totals to jump to just under 190,000. With that change in estimated infections, the mortality rate of Miami-Dade county would plummet from 2.6% to .16% of those infected with the virus. So while early fears regarding the virus’ ability to be carried with little to no symptoms provided serious cause for concern, the prevalence of those relatively unaffected by the virus may have skewed the earliest available data towards the most ill carriers by well over an order of magnitude.

New York City antibody results paint a very similar picture. Testing done in America’s largest hotspot showed that as many as 1 in 5 have had the virus. Adjusting for this indicator means a full-scale reduction in the mortality rate to around .5%. While this rate is still considerably higher than the mortality we have come to accept with seasonal influenza outbreaks each year, it is important to note that it falls well below the reported mortality of a staggering 10.7%. That would put NYC’s official tally off by 21.5x the projected mortality according to previous testing for the virus.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on April 29 that 17.1% of FDNY/EMT and 10.5% of NYPD tested positive for antibodies to the virus. According to Cuomo, the entire downstate antibody average is 18%. Another test of NYC transit workers is also being conducted this week. The National Institute of Health has also recently announced a test of 10,000 healthy individuals to gauge possible antibody spread across the nation.

A much smaller scale study in the Chelsea neighborhood outside of Boston found 1 in 3 had antibodies for the virus. The neighborhood has been visibly hit by the virus with 39 fatalities and 712 confirmed cases, which totals just 2% of the population and 5.5% mortality rate. However, antibody indicators could point to the area being farther along the outbreak curve than previously believed and could mean that confirmed cases are off by a factor as high as 16x. That possibility means the viral mortality in Chelsea could drop from 5.5% to just .34%.

The approximate 15-20x factor of antibody indicators to confirmed cases in Miami-Dade, Chelsea and NYC has shown to be a consistent trend across the country and even in international studies.

This should come as no surprise, as data has been available for weeks giving glimpses at just how contagious and sneaky the virus can be. In a review of cruise ship outbreaks, the CDC determined that as many as 46.5% of positive tests were asymptomatic at time of testing. Available statistical models also led the CDC to suggest that the virus never developed symptoms of any kind in 17.9% of those infected. The CDC has estimated that approximately 25% of cases among the general population carry the virus asymptomatically. These numbers are even more staggering given the much higher than average median age of those embarking on cruises. Both numbers seem to support the growing evidence that the outbreak is far more widespread than testing has shown and gives substantial credence to the numbers coming out of ongoing antibody research.

Antibody testing, like the live viral testing going on around the globe, is not without its limitations. Early tests out of Oxford showed that there is a margin of error in both false positives and false negatives. To combat this, researchers have factored some amount of this into their findings by generating deriving the most conservative models from their findings and have got to work on formulating more specificity in future testing.

Despite these limitations, several researchers, speaking with Bloomberg News gave reasons to be optimistic. Natalie Dean, a biostatician with the University of Florida, explained, “The results change a lot depending on what assumptions you put in…I think there is value in getting an answer very quickly, even if it’s not exactly right. As long as it kind of gets us in a ballpark.”

John Ioannidis, professor of medicine and epidemiology with Stanford also supported this point. “No study, no matter how well done, will be able to give the definitive answer alone…But at last we have data, real data, because until now we have mostly relied on speculation.”

These antibody studies, coupled with testing of outbreaks among contained populations (Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction, several cruise ships and the USS Theodore Roosevelt), show that mortality rates fall far below figures that were initially believed in the early days of the virus. Though each of the above contained populations are not representative samples of the general population, the statistics are encouraging when tested against results shown in antibody studies.

While some critics of the government response have pointed to potentially inflated death statistics being linked to the virus, it is becoming increasingly clear that infection totals being amended according to new data will have a bigger impact on our understanding of the risk of this virus to the public at large. It is clear the virus is a significant threat, but Americans should be encouraged that our most dire predictions and indicators of the deadliness of this illness fall far below what we previously believed.

Bernie Sanders Rally Draws 7,600+ to Calder Plaza in Grand Rapids

The Crowd

A sizable and energetic crowd gathered in Calder Plaza on Sunday afternoon for a “Get Out the Vote” event to rally with 2020 presidential democrat candidate Bernie Sanders. The crowd in the packed plaza looked a lot like Bernie’s support might be expected to based on turnouts around the country in 2016 and the 2020 race thus far: generally young and predominantly urban white. The vast majority of the crowd appeared to fall in the 30 & below demographic, unusual for a standard political gathering (we estimate a staggering 70% of those in attendance fell into this general age range), though Sanders has proven to be anything but the standard political figure.

There also seemed to be an additional smaller chunk of Sunday Sanders congregants hovering around the 50-60 year old demographic. While the vast majority of those in attendance were young white Michiganders (there was a decent contingent of minority support in the 7,600 attendees), polling and recent voting results were validated with most minority supporters falling into the 30 & below crowd.

The demographics in yesterday’s gathering should not go unnoticed. Bernie has connected with many who are just beginning their careers as well as those just beginning to wind them down and the crowd on Sunday afternoon reflected that very consistently. While his fellow democratic candidate, Joe Biden, has seen sweeping victories among older racial minorities – thanks in no small part to standing as Vice President for Barack Obama – Sanders has just as impressively and emphatically garnered support among the younger generation in those communities.

While the attendance breakdown on Sunday should hardly be surprising, as Sanders has routinely reached out directly to younger voters with calls to get engaged, the sheer turnout of so many young people for a political rally the morning after a Saturday night in the city was staggering.

“Bernie represents so many people that I feel he is our best choice.”

Of the dozen people we spoke to before events kicked off, only one had ever attended a political rally previously, a hopeful sign for Bernie’s prospects in Michigan’s primary this Tuesday. His repeated calls for a new generation of voters to get involved in the process have yet to materialize in the primaries in large enough numbers to swing results his way thus far, a realization he made in a recent interview. However, yesterday’s rally shows that there are some signs that a change in that trend may be coming his way in Michigan.

We spoke to two older Bernie supporters, Michelle & Daniel Benningfield, as the plaza began to fill about why they came to the rally and how they interpreted Sanders’ support among the younger generations.

Michelle was the only attendee we spoke with that had ever been to a political rally before Sunday. Michelle has seen Bernie speak before, but wanted to make it out to see him with the full momentum of the presidential primary underway. She explained why she supports Sanders, “I think Bernie is the best person to help lots of people,” explaining that his message reaches beyond the rich to the mass of everyday people that Sanders has argued are often overlooked by the political establishment. Daniel agreed, “Bernie represents so many people that I feel he is our best choice.”

Before interviewing some of the younger attendees in the growing crowd, we also asked them what they felt was at the root of so many young people turning out for a political rally on a weekend. Michelle said, “I think (young people) are sick of the status quo, like many people in my generation. It hasn’t change yet and now we’ve got a chance to change things. Vote for Bernie!” Daniel put it simply, “The change that needs to occur is what Bernie represents.”

“The environment is more open than if we went to a different type of rally.”

Those sentiments were validated when we headed off to interview other attendees making up the largest swath of the crowd: young people.

Shelby Denhof described what motivated her to attend her first political rally on Sunday and what she finds so appealing about Sanders, “I appreciate how Bernie amplifies the voices of underrepresented people in our communities.” She also appreciated Sanders’ direct appeals to young people, specifically in the realms of college tuition and student loan debt, as well as Sanders’ unique positions on US/Israel foreign policy.

Brothers, Gabe and Zach Stepanovich, each had their own reasons for attending as well. Gabe told us, “I think it’s just good to see all the political candidates,” while Zach specifically liked Bernie’s consistency in speaking to the issues of healthcare and economic justice in the United States over the course of his political career.

We asked another group of friends (last names withheld) what appeal Sanders had with them. Daniyelle told us that his policy of decriminalizing marijuana on the federal level and its impact on the current and future prison population was important to her. Emily doesn’t intend to go into education, but nonetheless found Sanders’ attention to the issue important. She explained that his calls for raising teacher salaries was one of the issues that most intrigued her about Bernie and thought it was necessary to reward the profession, which routinely covers classroom necessities out of pocket. Nile explained that she loved how passionate Sanders was about climate issues and most impressed by the way he has put his climate plans and strengthening of governmental agencies like the EPA at the forefront of his campaign.

We asked what inspired them to attend their first political rallies on Sunday. Daniyelle described her reasoning, “The environment is more open than if we went to a different type of rally.” Emily agreed, “The energy is a lot different and more accepting.” Finally, Nile chimed in, “Same. Accepting environment,” before adding, “but also something to do.” That sentiment should not be understated. The notion that a political rally is “something to do” for a young person is definitely a far different vision of passing the time than young people have had historically. However, it has been widely recognized that Sanders rallies often have the appeal and energy of a rock concert; something remarkable for the political scene and a 78 year old headliner.

“We are going to move the minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour. We are going to have equal pay for equal work…We are going to make it easier for workers to join unions, not harder.”

March 8, Bernie Sanders in Grand Rapids.

Sanders has undoubtedly tapped into the youthful exuberance and passions of the younger generation and his rallies reflect that. When asked what had them coming out to attend a political rally on a weekend, the overwhelming and succinct initial answer of nearly every one we asked was nearly the same in almost every case: “Bernie Sanders!”

The Event

Things got kicked off with a rock concert in the less metaphorical sense as Grand Rapids punk rock band, Singing Lungs, took the stage. The band played the soundtrack to the steady march of attendees through security and into Calder Plaza. The crowd grooved along to the band’s traditional punk sound for around 20 minutes. Before playing their final song, the lead singer remarked “This song is called ‘Disappearing Act’ and we hope that’s what #44 (sic) is going to do!”

Next up to the stage was the Kalamazoo artist, Michigander. The band departed from the rougher punk sound of the opener and, instead, brought a more ethereal style reminiscent of an amalgamation of the bands U2 and Manchester Orchestra. Michigander played songs from their most recent EP and the crowd seemed to thoroughly enjoy their sound. Both bands repeatedly reminded attendees to get out and vote on Tuesday in Michigan’s democratic primary.

After both bands wrapped up their sets and most of Calder Plaza had filled, opening speeches were given by a succession of various supporters, activists and political figures including, most notably, Jesse Jackson, who officially endorsed Sanders at the rally in Grand Rapids.

“In the richest country in the history of the world, we are not going to continue to have three billionaires owning more wealth than the bottom half of American society.”

March 8, Bernie Sanders in Grand Rapids.

After one speaker left the stage, an “Eat the Rich” chant broke out on the risers behind the podium and spread to significant portions of the crowd before staff rushed to quiet it. The chant marked one of only a few occasions that broke away from a largely positive afternoon, aside from the more typical criticisms and attacks on rich Americans, the pharmaceutical industry, health insurance companies, the fossil fuel industry, etc.

Campaign staff and volunteers were visibly frustrated and concerned that the chant would be picked up by opponents of the campaign or cast a shadow over the event as a whole in media coverage.

While certainly not the majority of Sanders’ supporters nationally or in attendance on Sunday, there has been concern about a worrisome segment of supporters that run in the more aggressive and radical lane of his various political positions. For some Sanders supporters, the political revolution is not (or should not be) as much about creating a system of fairness and reform, but levying derision and punishment on the guilty classes at the heart of Sanders’ scorn. Sanders recently spoke out against the more antagonistic rhetoric and vitriol which at times has infected lower levels of his campaign and grass roots support this primary season, though with an addendum that included all campaigns.

While these factions of his movement are surely not the lion’s share of his support, it is an issue that Sanders should deeply consider as he hopes to spin his political revolution into a whirlwind of delegates that can carry him to the nomination. History has shown us this: Revolutions have a nasty habit of first-generation idealists succumbing to the unbridled vitriol and inflamed passions of the next.

His hope for a movement that lasts beyond this campaign season must take into account the unintended consequences of the often unparsed language used by his surrogates and even Sanders, himself.

As Jesse Jackson took the stage, it further underscored the narrow dichotomy attempting to be navigated: attacking the rich, corporations, various sectors of industry and economic power, while attempting to propel a message of widespread unity. Jackson’s “Nobody Out” speech in Calder Plaza called for justice, equality and various other unifying principles for all and with no one left out. However, that message of unity can sometime seem to end for Sanders and his supporters where feelings of anger, resentment and disenfranchisement begin towards the faceless “rich.” If Sanders hopes to broaden his support, it will likely be necessary to modulate the revolutionary tones of his anti-rich sentiments and forward the same policies under a more tempered approach that embraces the contributions of the rich to our society and future, even if he believes they need to take on a larger share of the burden than they do presently.

“We are going to move this country to public funding of elections so all people can vote.”

March 8, Bernie Sanders in Grand Rapids.

Sanders’ speech highlighted all his familiar issues and had the crowd cheering most of the afternoon. Among those issues were campaign finance reform, a rise in the minimum wage, increasing labor union formation, removing government restrictions on abortion, raising taxes on wealthy Americans, upending the healthcare industry and replacing it with “Medicare for All” and so on.

While many of the issues Sanders discusses are handled with the height of seriousness, not all disagreements were handled in the absence of a little humor. Sanders joked about the hard undertaking he has endured in congress over the course of his career of listening to the conservative republican speeches of his colleagues, which drew chuckles from the candidate and the audience.

The Test

The test will be whether the excitement and enthusiasm among Sanders’ most devoted supporters will generate the necessary turnout to win or if the movement he has worked to build represents as big a portion of the electorate as Sanders and his supporters believe. In short, are Sanders and his policy proposals as popular on the scale necessary to win as his supporters and the candidate believe them to be.

That differential, voter enthusiasm vs. voter plurality, has left similar political movements on the outside looking in: George McGovern & Ron Paul come to mind. While Sanders has seen more success than most could have predicted when he announced his initial run for the nation’s top office in 2015, whether that passion can hand him the presidency is yet to be seen. Sanders’ two rallies in Michigan on Sunday (Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor) netted an impressive 17,000+ ardent attendees, but that number pales in comparison to the over 1.2 million Michiganders that voted in the 2016 Democratic primary.

Sanders won that primary over the eventual nominee, Hillary Clinton, in 2016, and he hopes to do it again on Tuesday, but he will have to lock down several other states with progressive-leaning democrats at their core and likely expand his base if he hopes to gain the nomination.

You can check the status of your registration, find your polling place and even preview your precinct’s ballot using the State of Michigan’s voting tool here: https://mvic.sos.state.mi.us.

Contact jszetela@miheraldtribune.com with any comments/questions regarding this article or to purchase event photos from the rally.

Bernie Sanders Earns First-Ever “Detroit Action” Presidential Endorsement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE via Bernie 2020
March 6, 2020

DETROIT – Detroit Action, a grassroots organization that fights for the equity and equality of black and brown Michiganders, on Friday endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders for president. In their first-ever endorsement in a presidential primary, Detroit Action highlighted Sen. Sanders’ career of standing in solidarity with working class communities of color.

“The most important action that we can take right now, is doing whatever it takes to ensure that we elect someone with whom we can truly work to dismantle this oppressive administration,” said Executive Director of Detroit Action, Branden Snyder. “We believe that a vote for Senator Sanders is a strategic intervention into the Democratic primary system and against neoliberal economic policy and the political status quo that candidates like former Vice President Joe Biden represent. While we believe Senator Sanders would move us much closer to a country where everyone has the freedom to thrive, our endorsement recognizes that no candidate is perfect and that we must continue to hold them accountable. It is a decision to help our communities interpret the choices before them and to advance our platform for justice.”
 “Detroit Action knows what it takes to organize and turn out the vote,” said Bernie 2020 Michigan State Coordinator Michael Fasullo. “Together, we’re going to continue our work of reaching out, lifting up and empowering black and brown working class Michiganders across the state.”  
 Detroit Action began their member-led presidential primary endorsement process in February, with the goal of not supporting any candidates whose policy positions have directly or indirectly lead to the disenfranchisement of black and brown people. Sen. Sanders was selected due to his support of policies detailed in Detroit Action’s Agenda For A New Economy, including Medicare for All, criminal justice reform and housing for all.
 Detroit Action will be reaching out to 40,000 Detroiters in the lead up to the Michigan primary to elevate the experiences of working class black and brown voters. In the lead up to November, Detroit Actionplan to knock on close to 275,000 doors of black and brown working class families in Metro Detroit to learn about the issues they care about and mobilize them into action. 
 Sen. Sanders has also welcomed support in Michigan from U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib, Detroit City Council President Pro Tempore Mary Sheffield, DNC Member Michelle Deatrick, School Board Trustee of Kenowa Hills in Grand Rapids Eric-John Szczepaniak, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, State Representative (District 15) Abdullah Hammoud, Mayor Marcus Muhammad of Benton Harbor, State Representative (District 4) Isaac Robinson of Detroit, State Representative (District 53) Yousef Rabhi of Ann Arbor, Council Member (Ward 5) Ali Ramlawi of Ann Arbor, and Council Member Dave Abdallah of Dearborn Heights, as well as The Young Democrats of Michigan and the Progressive Caucus of the Michigan Democratic Party.

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