Allow me to reintroduce myself.
I’m Pat Johnston, host of the Left of Lansing Podcast, or better known to my more ardent followers, LOL!
Back in 2019, I produced a 30-episode podcast devoted to Michigan’s growing progressive political movement. It was something that I dreamt of doing for a long time, and we were able to get the podcast off-and-running.
I had a tremendous time talking to so many interesting and inspirational people on the podcast, who got into the game to reverse the decades upon decades of disastrous Republican rule in Michigan. Longtime progressive fighters, political newcomers, influential economic voices, writers, and environmentalists all took time-out of their busy schedules to help me bring you not only what’s happening in Lansing, but how we can turn the tide of regressive and repressive Republican “leadership.”
Michigan’s suffered a great deal during the Engler and Snyder administrations. And while we’ve been able to elect some Democratic governors over the last 20 years, including our current governor, Gretchen Whitmer, Democrats and progressives alike have been hamstrung by a Republican state Senate since the 1980’s. A lot of that had to do with gerrymandering, but some of it had to do with the fact that Republicans–backed by their right-wing corporate benefactors–controlled the message coming out of Lansing.
I started my podcast in the wake of the 2018 election in which Whitmer became Governor by running on a somewhat progressive platform. Dana Nessell won the attorney general race by also running as a strong progressive. Jocelyn Benson took the Secretary of State’s race, which proved to be downright vital for the 2020 election. And Senator Stabenow won another term as Michigan’s senior Senator.
Democratic women swept statewide races. And that wasn’t all. Many other women won in 2018 in various races, including congressional and state legislature races. Haley Stevens, Elise Slotkin, and Rashida Tlaib joined the brand new Democratic majority in the U.S. House which would help put the brakes on the Trump agenda.
On the state legislature side, Democrats–especially Democratic women–helped close the gerrymandered gap in both the Republican House and Senate. I had a privilege to speak with two of those inspirational individuals, State Rep. Laurie Pohutsky and State Senator Mallory McMorrow.
But what I learned most from my interviews with both Pohutsky and McMorrow is how the millennial generation was becoming a powerful voting bloc in Michigan’s political future. They are working everyday, as are so many other millennial Michiganders, in making the state a more welcoming, tolerant, and forward-looking place not only attracts people to move to Michigan, but encourages younger people to stick-around rather than moving elsewhere.
That was the goal of the podcast: Pressing a passionate progressive agenda designed to help Michigan progress into a vibrant and happening place many will always want to call home.
Working in media for some 20 years, I noticed first hand how adept Michigan Republicans were at messaging, and Democrats struggled in that area. There were several reasons why, but I always believed there were two major reasons as to why this were the case. First, Michigan Democrats forgot their dog-fighting skills. I know some think I might be wrong about this, but I think the stunning Trump victory of 2016, followed by our slow decline into neo-fascism, scared the hell out of millions of Michiganders, leading to why so many decided to run for state office, or get involved, one way or another.
Anger, and the will to fight back against a system designed for the elites who seemed fine with Trump’s growing authoritarian rule, is one reason why Michigan Democrats did better in 2018. They fought back.
The second reason Michigan Republicans enjoyed so much leverage in Lansing is thanks to the right-wing corporate media machine. I recently tweeted how it’s tough for progressives to get their messages out to the public via the old media structure:
Not just Fox News. Corporate right-wing America gobbled up TV & radio stations throughout the country to disseminate its pro-corporate messaging. If that means embracing racism, nationalism, and sexism, so be it. The goal is monopolization & wealth redistribution back to the top. https://t.co/QhlKXG1uUr
— LeftOfLansing (@LeftOfLansing) January 19, 2022
I’ve implored Democrats and progressives to focus on being on the offense through language average voters understand. You can drive from Monroe-to-Mason-to-Mt. Pleasant-to-Muskegon-to-Mackinaw City, and always be connected to right-wing radio. That’s what we’re fighting against.
— LeftOfLansing (@LeftOfLansing) January 19, 2022
I think that sometimes Democrats can sound like they’re running a seminar class rather than sounding like they’re fighting for the soul of both Michigan and the country.
My podcast was designed to fight against those two tendencies which haunted Democrats for years. That’s why I repeatedly said we progressives don’t have to rely on old terrestrial TV & radio to push our messages out to the people. Thanks to the power of podcasting, millions of Michiganders can hear our messages through another medium that’s available right on your phone.
We no longer had to rely only on what Tim Skubick was, or was not telling us. We didn’t have to endure relics like Frank Beckman or Bill Ballenger to give us Republican-slanted points of views. There were other ways for people to get the truth, and to learn how progressives planning on fighting back.
That’s what the Left of Lansing Podcast was all about. And I loved it.
However, combined with my day job, producing, writing, and performing a weekly podcast simply burned me out. I loved it, and wanted to get back to doing it, but I just couldn’t muster the time nor energy to do so.
I’ve still kept up a presence on Twitter, which has served as an avenue to share some views during the past couple of years. But it’s not enough.
So, I’d like to announce that I’ll soon be posting new episodes of LOL!!!
Instead of a weekly podcast, I’ll probably do a bi-weekly podcast. If LOL really begins to pick-up some subscribers, maybe I’ll get a Patreon page, which might help me devote more time to podcast. My ultimate goal is to have LOL become a daily podcast!
I’ll let you know when the first episode will drop. I’m hoping within the next two weeks.
In the meantime, I’ll be devoting the website to not only provide podcast archives, but share with you my “Pat’s Ponderings,” on a range of Michigan and national political and pop culture news. There are only so many thoughts I can fit into a podcast. So, I’ll use this space to provide some of my insights.
I’m looking forward to getting back into the game.
Also, please don’t forget to visit other fantastic progressive Michigan websites, such as Eclectablog, or Progress Michigan. And for my daily Michigan political news reading, my go to is Michigan Advance, which features stellar straight-up hard news reporting, combined with thought-provoking commentary.
Of course, there are several awesome and influential voices who are just as devoted to Michigan’s progressive movement, and I’ll not only be sharing their work here, but I plan on having them join me on the podcast.
Thank you, and if you need to email me, please use email@example.com.
Take the battle to them!
Abortion Rights Are A Game-Changer In 2022 Michigan Election
This latest poll should frighten the Michigan GOP:
The poll, from Lansing-based EPIC-MRA, found 56% of those surveyed self identify as pro-choice, compared with 34% who identified as pro-life. The poll surveyed 600 people between Jan. 15 and Jan. 20 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.https://www.freep.com/story/news/politics/2022/01/23/michigan-voters-abortion/6607323001/
Considering how evident it appears the extreme right-wing activist Supreme Court will nullify Roe, abortion rights will suddenly become a crucial issue in the midterms.
Many voters, and many in the old media, believed there was absolutely no way SCOTUS would ever overturn abortion rights. But with the former guy placing three ultra-conservative justices on the Supreme Court, the right-wing’s long-term goal of punishing women is nearly complete.
This will hit Michigan hard as there’s a 1931 law on the books that bans abortion. That’s why pro-choice supporters are working to get an initiative on the ballot in which voters could amend abortion rights to the Michigan Constitution if SCOTUS overturns Roe.
Banning abortion rights will awaken a voting bloc determined to protect a woman’s right to control her body. And this recent EPIC-MRA poll only shows that while Republicans will rejoice this summer, they could pay the price in November.
This isn’t a controversial issue.
It’s a gerrymandered one. https://t.co/VwUlMhBoqE
— Mallory McMorrow (@MalloryMcMorrow) January 25, 2022
As usual, Senator McMorrow is spot-on.
For your listening and viewing pleasure.
Happy Birthday to John Belushi, who would’ve been 73 years old today.
Still, one of the Top Ten Most Iconic SNL moments ever: