How Elections are Won and Lost

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PEG 12th Congressional District Newsletter 293 Special Edition

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It’s a Matter of Messaging

Chuck Newman held a lively  Zoom interview with Michigan elections strategist and political messaging expert Joe Spaulding on Sunday Nov 27, 2022. Takeaways included;


  • The importance of common-sense messaging versus deep dives on issues. 
  • Getting your message out first before pre-emptive opposition messaging. Example-Prop 2- Voters not Politicians- the democratic messaging was common sense “This is not confusing or complex.  Do you want to get rid of corrupt politicians?”  Having an agreed upon base messages tailored to each ballot initiative or stance of a candidate is key.
  • Warnock vs Walker- Money is key and Walker has buckets of it so donating to Warnock at this point is perhaps the best thing we can do according to Spaulding. HERE is the Link to donate to the Georgia Alliance For Progress. They fund grassroots orgs in Georgia, specifically their canvassing programs.
  • Much of Michigan’s success was due to coordinated campaigns by the democrats- field organizers and their overarching messaging of saving democracy and the right to choose.  
  • Voter guides for Up and Down ballot candidates and again consistent messaging is an important tool that should be developed well before elections and widely distributed. 

Things to Do, Read, Watch, and Listen to

Families Slip into Poverty with Expiration of Child Tax Credit

In November, the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University reviewed the research on the Expanded Child Tax Credit one year after it expired. Between 2020 and 2021 the credit provided up to $300 per child under 6 and up to $250 per child under 18. Citing data from the US Census Bureau, the report notes that the child poverty rate dropped to 5.2 percent in 2021. The report notes that “Since its expiration, however, many families with children have seen a reversal of fortune directly attributable to the loss of the credit—including lower disposable income and increased poverty, food hardship, and financial strain. The expiration of the expanded Child Tax Credit has posed an ongoing challenge for families nationwide.” The 19th News notes that “58 members of Congress signed on to a letter urging congressional leaders not to consider corporate tax breaks unless additional relief for families is passed — specifically citing the need to extend the expanded child tax credit and also the earned income tax credit.” This is, of course, just one item on the Democrats’ list of potential legislation.

A bid to investigate the Michigan 2022 Election called “A Shameless and Half-Baked Political Stunt”

House Speaker Jason Wentworth did not entertain attempts by members of his own party to launch an investigation into results of Michigan’s most recent midterm, writing in a letter to the lawmaker insisting on the probe that the request itself “sounds like … this investigation would be an empty exercise.”



Earlier this month Rep. Steve Carra, R-Three Rivers, sent a letter signed by six total Republicans in the legislature to Wentworth, pleading for subpoena powers to investigate the 2022 election. Communications between Carra and Wentworth can be found in Bridge. Carra was asked to provide any evidence about known election fraud. Nothing was provided. Wentworth indicated that the statute dictates that subpoenas cannot be used “to conduct a general fishing expedition” and that “they need to be targeted”.

Carra is an incoming second-term House member who recently won reelection. He is also part of a cohort of lawmakers backed by former President Donald Trump that have pushed since 2020 to cast doubt on the integrity of Michigan’s elections.

Wentworth’s priorities are to help Republicans move on, run stronger campaigns and retake (the) majority” in the Legislature.

Thank you, House Speaker Wentworth, for your reasonable approach to this request!

ICYMI: The Right to Not Get Shot Shall Not Be Infringed – PEG Exclusive by Dr. Sonya Lewis

I send love to the victims and survivors of last weekend’s massacre at Club Q in Colorado Springs, and I offer my particular support to members of the LGBTQ+ community who are wrestling with unfathomable pain. I also send my love to the victims and survivors of yesterday’s mass shooting at the Walmart in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Read More on the PEG Website

Take Action!

In July of this year, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Assault Weapons Ban of 2022, H.B. 1808. An Assault Weapons Ban bill, S. 736 is currently before the U.S. Senate. Please contact Senator Gary Peters to implore him to co-sponsor this bill and contact Senator Debbie Stabenow to thank her for her co-sponsorship.

Good News

Senate Passed “Respect for Marriage Act” – Now Heading to the House!

The Dallas Morning News reported that the Senate rejected GOP efforts to block the “Respect for Marriage Act.” The bill protecting same-sex and interracial marriage returns to the House for final vote before going to Biden to sign into law. The final bill passed 61 to 36.

Welcome Linda!

One of our new contributors is Linda Bennett, retired from UM Office of Development and now a docent (11 years) at the UM Museum of Art. Her retirement allowed her to pursue her lifelong passion for the visual arts. She loves to connect art with stories about the artist’s background, inspirations to create a painting, photograph or sculpture. Essentially she seeks to engage and assist visitors to make connections and interpretations based on their own life experience. Her experience at UMMA includes children, adults with Memory Loss and UM students. Linda hopes to bring her docent experiences to enhance the PEG newsletter thru the visual arts. After all ” a picture is truly worth a thousand words!“

Consequently, here she is pictured (to the right) with her long-time buddy and charter PEG Newsletter Contributor, Bette Cotzin. The story below of the young traveling bassoonist is her second contribution in her few weeks of joining. Talk about hitting the ground running!

Good News! A Teen’s Journey from Dnipro, Ukraine to Perform in NYC

Dmytro Tishyn, left his hometown in Dnipro, Ukraine with only a backpack and his father’s bassoon, to play with the New York Youth Symphony in November. While his trip was arduous (beginning in February 2022 arriving in the U.S. in May), his love for music was stronger. While he is 15 and allowed to leave; his brother who is 21 is prohibited from leaving.

How good is he? Michael Repper, director of the youth orchestra said “unbelievable“ playing with so much soul and passion. Watch Dmytro’s interview on CNN here.

Ottawa County Clerk’s Office is selected to participate in a Nationwide program to improve integrity and accessibility of elections

The U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence has established a new nonpartisan five year initiative entitled the Centers for Election Excellence.  Ottawa County, which includes Grand Rapids, has been selected as one of 10 counties across the U.S. to participate in this program. This program is aimed to improve the integrity and accessibility of elections by bringing together election officials, designers, technology experts and others to “envision, support, and celebrate excellence in U.S. election administration.”

Congratulations Ottawa County Clerk’s Office!


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