“I haven’t run a business but I have worked against a lot of businesses”
August 6, 2018 8:00 AM   Subscribe

Abdul El-Sayed, The 32-year-old charismatic Muslim doctor is running for governor of Michigan and in the process trying to change US politics (The Guardian) his speech : The Epidemic Of Poverty and the Goverment Imperative . Abdul El-Sayed’s State level single payer plan everyone should be talking about (Current Affairs) One thing that immediately stands out is that, from Abdul on down, this is an undeniably youthful campaign. Almost everyone with a lanyard appears to be between twenty-three and thirty-five years old—an augur of the kind of voter that the El-Sayed team needs to turn out in droves to reverse the usual geriatric composition of the mid-term primary electorate. (The Baffler) Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are joining forces to elect an underdog but potentially history-making candidate on the ballot in Michigan (Politico) Abdul El-Sayed’s Policy Platform. The first-ever political endorsement from the Current Affairs editorial board The Michigan gubatoral debate (YouTube)

The Michigan primaries are August 7th, 2018.
posted by The Whelk (91 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
 
“I haven’t run a business but I have worked against a lot of businesses”

In looking for the source of that quote, I came across a Detroit Free Press article from May 17, 2018, with this exchange:
"We have assumed in Michigan that the only way you build jobs is to incentivize corporations to bring their jobs here," he said. "But those subsidies have gone into big corporations and in this climate, they’re looking for opportunities to decrease labor costs and that means cutting jobs. Corporations buy and sell politicians, who then make decisions to help them automate jobs and it's killing our economy over the long term."

He doesn't mention that political action committee donations are legal and a standard fuel for most campaigns. And a voter at the Sterling Heights forum objected, asking "Why do think corporations are so bad?"

"They’re not bad, but they always optimize their financial position," El-Sayed replied. "A company that is not owned by an individual or group, but by stockholders, who don’t have allegiance to any one place, so they make decisions to optimize that quarterly bottom line. It’s the stock price that drives everything. It was never meant to be that corporations dictate what happens in our politics."
Businesses are run to maximize profits, particularly for owners, investors and shareholders. Government is run to maximize benefits for the public, in part by trying to balance many competing needs and wants with limited funding.

We need to stop accepting the idea or argument that government should be run like a business.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:21 AM on August 6 [49 favorites]


Wow. First I’ve heard of him. He is the real fucking deal. What an engaging speaker.

If the only thing you know about a candidate is that they are a physician and they full on without hesitation support single payer healthcare, then you know: A. They value the good of society above their own personal enrichment B: They are able to think critically and objectively about complex topics without being brainwashed by the prevailing narrative and C: They’ve got a whole lot of balls, because they know how powerless doctors and patients are against the Medical Insurance Industrial Complex.

That a guy named Abdul El-Sayed is able to do this in Michigan, in clear, congenial language? Wow. That’s a level of courage and competence few can question.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:22 AM on August 6 [26 favorites]


“I haven’t run a business but I have worked against a lot of businesses”

Sigh. Is this not really really worrisome for anyone else who actually has run a business, or just, you know, worked in one?

It’s like admitting, proudly, that you are totally ignorant about the adversary you plan to fight.

This is not a good thing. It is a very stupid thing. Very, very stupid. It is admitting that you fundamentally do not know how most of the large organizations that currently hold most political power operate, and that you also do not know how the people who populate those organizations work. AOC did something similar when she claimed that bartending gave her insight into how business worked. Having worked in both bars and big businesses, I can tell you: No it did fucking not, and Jesus Christ that is a frighteningly naive sentiment.

It’s like finding out we’re electing generals who boast about not knowing the enemy terrain.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:39 AM on August 6 [10 favorites]


Nah actually it rules that he's not worshipping at the feet of the idea of the small business owner.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:43 AM on August 6 [68 favorites]


Should a doctor with a public health background really be required to, what, run a speed boat dealership for 5 years before running for office? That's absurd.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:44 AM on August 6 [70 favorites]


Very, very stupid. It is admitting that you fundamentally do not know how most of the large organizations that currently hold most political power operate, and that you also do not know how the people who populate those organizations work.

By this logic we should only be electing people who have run a business, which is silly.
posted by edeezy at 8:44 AM on August 6 [36 favorites]


It’s like finding out we’re electing generals who boast about not knowing the enemy terrain.

Sounds pretty good after a lifetime of electing folks on the basis of knowing the enemy's terrain, and having it turn out pretty much every time it's because—surprise!—they're actually working for the enemy.
posted by enn at 8:44 AM on August 6 [54 favorites]


You can know the enemy's terrain without having personally lived there. You don't need to have actually personally operated a business, especially a business of the size he's actually working against, to learn how that sort of business in America works. Not only would that be saying that only people who've run businesses can be in government, but also effectively that people who come from lower-class backgrounds have no place in government just because they've never been management.
posted by Sequence at 8:48 AM on August 6 [15 favorites]


It is admitting that you fundamentally do not know how most of the large organizations that currently hold most political power operate

Seems to me that sentiments like this are how those organizations retain that political power.

I mean, we do agree that political power shouldn't be concentrated within billionaires and businesses, right?
posted by mosst at 8:50 AM on August 6 [10 favorites]


Political candidates can only have so much direct experience. This is the reason we give them a staff that can be, in aggregate, more informed than any single person can possibly be on the many things that they will be overseeing at the top of an organization chart as large as a state government. If we disqualify candidates for not checking enough experience boxes, we'll have no candidates, or just the ones who wanted to become professional politicians by checking the boxes.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:55 AM on August 6 [4 favorites]


Nah actually it rules that he's not worshipping at the feet of the idea of the small business owner.

Just picking the first one to respond to:

NOPE. Besides being not at all what I said (which, c’mon, that is a shitty rhetorical strawman trick), this is just...obvious?

But if you want to beat something, you have to know something about it. If people want to seriously contend otherwise, please feel free to find some examples. Otherwise I’m gonna go with literally every piece of writing on strategy I’ve ever read from every period in human history ever.

This is also, I will note, not the same as having run a business (or a speedboat dealership, if you are again being shitty). You do not need to have run one, or even worked in one, but if you have not done either, you need to have the humility to know that you need to learn about your enemy in some other fashion. Or you are an idiot.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:55 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


Are you asserting that he has not done the latter? What's your proof of this?
posted by Space Coyote at 8:58 AM on August 6 [4 favorites]


And if it was not clear in my first comment: what I object to most is not the lack of direct experience. It is the boasting about ignorance, or the apparent naïveté that leads you to believe you understand something from uh frankly laughably irrelevant experience. That is, again, stupid, in a very particular trollish all-about-the-dunking-with-memes way.

It makes for a good tweet and literally nothing else.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:58 AM on August 6


I don't see him boasting about ignorance at all and I'm not clear on why you're reading it like that.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:01 AM on August 6 [31 favorites]


Is this not really really worrisome for anyone else who actually has run a business, or just, you know, worked in one?

Does anyone really think this guy is running a candidacy against plumbers and construction companies and grocery stores? That those are the businesses he is talking about? Especially when the next ten things he articulates are things like this:
And a voter at the Sterling Heights forum objected, asking "Why do think corporations are so bad?"

"They’re not bad, but they always optimize their financial position," El-Sayed replied. "A company that is not owned by an individual or group, but by stockholders, who don’t have allegiance to any one place, so they make decisions to optimize that quarterly bottom line. It’s the stock price that drives everything. It was never meant to be that corporations dictate what happens in our politics."
I think maybe you are running scared from the Republicans who have created the narrative that unfettered free market capitalism is going to set us free and to oppose that is to be Un-American. Middle class Americans, Republicans/Democrats/Unengaged, *know exactly* which businesses have fucked them over -- have made them declare medical bankruptcy, outsourced their jobs, don't pay the taxes they have to pay -- if candidates speak directly to these people, then this is who wins the next election. There is no "swing" voter in the middle, there's only the millions upon millions who don't have anyone speaking for them.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:04 AM on August 6 [11 favorites]


Yeah, that seemed like a tongue-in-cheek pull quote, not boasting about ignorance. RTFA.
posted by dudemanlives at 9:06 AM on August 6 [3 favorites]


Have folks actually watched the speech linked in the OP? Probably worth doing so before claiming to know what El-Sayed is or is not ignorant of.
posted by melissasaurus at 9:08 AM on August 6 [14 favorites]


Is this not really really worrisome for anyone else who actually has run a business, or just, you know, worked in one?

As someone who ran a small business: No.
posted by lumpenprole at 9:13 AM on August 6 [12 favorites]


the idea that small business owners have some sort of monopoly on truth and wisdom is the worst kind of idiocy
posted by entropicamericana at 9:22 AM on August 6 [27 favorites]


We need to stop accepting the idea or argument that government should be run like a business.

I'm actually ok with running the government like a business, it's just those who tout that line like it because it sounds smart, but then don't want to do things like a business would do like not cutting revenue in good times to pay down debt, borrowing heavily in downtimes when rates are low to do deferred maintenance, make sure program make economic sense and get a return on investment, run audits to make sure all the taxpayers are paying their fair share, etc.

Most of what is referred to as "running the government like a business" though is things no business would do because that would be insane.
posted by jmauro at 9:29 AM on August 6 [4 favorites]


I think maybe you are running scared from the Republicans who have created the narrative that unfettered free market capitalism is going to set us free and to oppose that is to be Un-American.

Yeah, no. I am scared that we’re going to elect people who don’t have any experience whatsoever in the corporate world and therefore do not know the enemy we all need to fight and therefore will lose. This isn’t ideological, and it’s not because I think corporations are somehow necessary for society or the country. In fact it is quite the opposite. I know that they are giant exploitive parasites that are eating the rest of us, slowly and now not so slowly, and I also know that the power they’ve accumulated is not solely represented in economic terms, and that if you want to fight them — particularly if you want to be able to defend yourself when they finally perceive you as a legitimate threat and bring the full lumbering weight of all that accumulated economic, social, and legal power against you — you need to fucking understand not only how they operate (and where the weaknesses are), but who the players are.

The same essentially structural analysis could (and should) be applied to the Democratic Party as a whole.

I think the “tongue in cheek” pull quote got to me because it’s a sentiment I’ve seen a LOT from lefties in a way that is always “Kidding, but not really kidding.” Like this same gross sort of habit of saying things to be provocative or funny or pithy, and then walking back and being like “oh whatever obviously I was JOKING you are just a republican shill.”

Except um you kind of aren’t joking, and I’m clearly not, and that is a juvenile way of dismissing things you don’t want to deal with. And this sort of rhetorical bullshit has a very obvious direct parallel on the right. Ironic stupidity is still stupidity, because then you get a bunch of supporters who are all in on the stupidity. These tactics are useful for burning things down, but not building things.

But if you’re actually interested in making things better, you have to engage with the world as it is. Hopefully El-Sayed and others actually understand this and can do this. But there is still an inherent cost to trollish campaigning. And this is coming from someone who very much enjoys dunking on enemies (look at my fucking username, for Chrissake).

I just want to win more. The stakes are fucking high. And if I have to have another conversation with a lefty twenty something who condescendingly explains to me from their collective housed in a building owned by their one rich friend that “money doesn’t matter anymore”* I’m going to despair that these people have any fucking clue how to actually make large organizations work.

*PM for more depressing real world conversations with people under thirty (lol no don’t I really am kidding there, I am done recounting depressing things for the day)
posted by schadenfrau at 9:31 AM on August 6 [8 favorites]


Not a Michigander, so I can't vote for him, but I deeply appreciate that he is a man like my boss: went to the trouble to get a medical degree and work in his specialty, then eventually threw himself as a force for change into the ethically corrupt cesspool of the business and politics of medicine and public heath.
posted by Snacks at 9:33 AM on August 6 [3 favorites]


But if you’re actually interested in making things better, you have to engage with the world as it is.

I want to destroy capitalism. I don't care about making it better.
posted by dilaudid at 9:33 AM on August 6 [12 favorites]


I first heard about this guy from one of my Republican grandmother's cutting-edge news emails, where I often learn a lot about right-wing framing. She is freaked out by this guy! The text is in all red, and some "scary" parts (he was a Rhodes scholar!) are highlighted. Most of the text of the email is like this:
PRESIDENT ABDUL EL-SAYED?


Etch this man's name in your mind.
His name is Abdul El-Sayed.
After years of being groomed by George Soros, El-Sayed has been hand-picked by the Left to be their next "champion of Hope and Change.
El-Sayed is 32 years old, born in the USA, and an extremely well educated Muslim Doctor in Detroit Michigan. (education funded by Soros)
El-Sayed is handsome, articulate, charismatic and smart. He is also married with a family.
El=Sayed is sympathetic of Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood, and isrunning for Governor of Michigan, which is Step 1 in his preparation to run for President of the United States


El-Sayed has the potential to be Obama #2, but far more openly Muslim.
Abdulrahman Mohamed El-Sayed is an American physician, epidemiologist, public health advocate, and politician.
He has announced his candidacy for Governor of Michigan, running as a Democrat.
And after reading the whole thing, I'm thinking hell yeah! How do I support this effort?? He sounds GREAT. Thanks, Soros!
posted by witchen at 9:41 AM on August 6 [24 favorites]


the apparent naïveté that leads you to believe you understand something from uh frankly laughably irrelevant experience.

Yes, I'm sure his experience as a doctor and a health commissioner will prove laughably irrelevant to his efforts to reform Michigan's healthcare system. No doubt Michiganders would be better off electing the CEO of a health insurance company, instead. Sounds like a flawless plan there.
posted by mstokes650 at 9:51 AM on August 6 [26 favorites]


I am in Michigan and I like this guy a lot. Looking forward to voting for him tomorrow.

However all the yard signs around here are for Whitmer and all the mailings I have received are from Shri Thanedar, who is taking up single payer as well (but sounds like a rich goofball). It would not be the worst outcome if Whitmer takes it but with strong showings for the two minority candidates who are pushing single payer. She's an establishment player who would have the sense to adopt one or both of these guys and use their strengths if she can.
posted by elizilla at 9:57 AM on August 6 [3 favorites]


Yeah, no. I am scared that we’re going to elect people who don’t have any experience whatsoever in the corporate world and therefore do not know the enemy we all need to fight and therefore will lose.

What is "the corporate world"? If they'd run a car dealership, they'd still know nothing about how multinationals operate and lobby. If he'd run a bank he'd know nothing about "real" business but if he'd run a non-bank he might know very little about finance. If he'd run a utility, or a consumer goods company, or a software company, or who knows, he'd still basically know nothing about how other parts of the economy operated. What if he was a strategy consultant? He'd really know nothing then, right? Except that he's not, so has he ever thought about corporate strategy?

"Business" and "the corporate world" are nothing as a category. Most people work in the private sector in one way or another and most of them don't know a damn thing about even the bit they work in, let alone the rest of it.

We need to stop accepting the idea or argument that government should be run like a business.

No business has remotely the scale, scope, and permanence of even a small US state government. Not even close, there are no non-governmental comparators that I can think of that we can mine for examples. (Yes some businesses have higher revenues than the tax revenues of a small state, but their scopes are usually tiny in comparison).
posted by atrazine at 10:02 AM on August 6 [31 favorites]


schadenfrau, I feel what you are saying about "kidding, not kidding" schtick that a lot of people use as a way to say wild shit and nominally get away with it. I also find it tiresome when people pick up on one particular thing that a person said and use that a cudgel to discredit everything that they say.

You don't like the guy, then fine, and maybe he shouldn't have said that one thing. I just know that I'm tired of the Democrats running the "safe" corporatist candidate for specifically the reasons that you have outlined. If I wanted a boot-licker, I'd adopt another dog.
posted by dudemanlives at 10:06 AM on August 6 [18 favorites]


No business has remotely the scale, scope, and permanence of even a small US state government. Not even close, there are no non-governmental comparators that I can think of that we can mine for examples. (Yes some businesses have higher revenues than the tax revenues of a small state, but their scopes are usually tiny in comparison).

Uhh, Walmart has more employees than there are citizens in 10 states (roughly the size of Hawaii), and it's revenue beats the GDP of 35 states. No one in their right might would call Walmart, "tiny". Amazon is about the same size as DC in terms of employees and GM used to be on the same order of magnitude back until about the 90's. Saying there are "no non-governmental examples" is a bit much.

Government and business accounting and operations are not as different as folks make them out to be.
posted by jmauro at 10:29 AM on August 6 [1 favorite]


I think a lot of people are conflating "running a business" with "having executive, managerial, and financial experience."

They are not the same thing.

Abdul served as the director of two programs at Columbia and ran Detroit's health program. Which means that he does, indeed, have executive, managerial, and financial experience. Universities and public agencies are also part of the real world.

My boyfriend's sister worked under Abdul. She cannot say enough good things about him. I have never in my life heard someone talk so effusively about their boss.

He really is the real deal.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 10:37 AM on August 6 [48 favorites]


FWIW, polls have shown El-Sayed in third, Whitmer in the lead, but Michigan has a fairly infamous history with bad polling, so I wouldn't rule him out.

elizilla: " It would not be the worst outcome if Whitmer takes it but with strong showings for the two minority candidates who are pushing single payer. She's an establishment player who would have the sense to adopt one or both of these guys and use their strengths if she can."

I endorse this take.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:46 AM on August 6 [2 favorites]


That a guy named Abdul El-Sayed is able to do this in Michigan

FWIW, Michigan has a surprisingly high number of Muslims for a Midwestern state, with Dearborn having the largest Muslim population in the entire United States. So in some ways a candidate like El-Sayed can be open about his faith and ethnicity in Michigan in a way that he wouldn't elsewhere.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:51 AM on August 6 [12 favorites]


Didn't Michigan vote for a person named Barack Hussein Obama twice? Let's give the fine people of Michigan *some* credit here, jeesh.
posted by NoMich at 11:15 AM on August 6 [10 favorites]


We’ve given corporate shills plenty of chances. It’s time we give the reins back to competent people whose careers are based on a commitment to the public good and who understand how to get things done in government.

I’m going to stop short of calling corporations evil. They just exist. They do not exist to accomplish the aims of democratic government.

I’m going out on a limb and will say that to be someone who knows how successful corporations work, it means you’ve succeeded in a cutthroat environment that is explicitly different than succeeding working in the public interest. And it’s insane to think that someone who “understands business” has any understanding of government besides how to take advantage of it for the shareholders.

I work in public health. I need to know how to get hospitals and insurers and pharma to work for the goals of public health and that involves a certain amount of knowing what their goals are and how to leverage that for the public good and I suspect Dr. Al-Sayed has had this experience as well. But I don’t think for a minute that hospitals and insurers and pharma have the first fucking idea what the public good even is much less how to make the system work for it.

Let’s hope that with Trump we can finally put to rest the idea that business credentials have fuck all to do with effective government.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:42 PM on August 6 [16 favorites]


Let’s hope that with Trump we can finally put to rest the idea that business credentials have fuck all to do with effective government.

If anything, he's evidence for a correlation, sadly. He's run multiple businesses into the ground, and is now doing the same with government.
posted by explosion at 12:45 PM on August 6 [8 favorites]


Sorta like Bush II, right? I mean, that's enough data for me
posted by NoMich at 12:55 PM on August 6 [3 favorites]


Didn't Michigan vote for a person named Barack Hussein Obama twice? Let's give the fine people of Michigan *some* credit here, jeesh.

In reply: Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Sixteen

I really hope that the fine people of Michigan can get our shit together and elect Sayed or heck, Whitmer, because GOD JESUS PLEASE DON'T LET IT BE SCHUETTE but before I allocate that credit I'm gonna need to see that we learned our lesson from handing the 2016 election to Trump.
posted by Preserver at 2:40 PM on August 6 [8 favorites]


Uhh, Walmart has more employees than there are citizens in 10 states (roughly the size of Hawaii), and it's revenue beats the GDP of 35 states. No one in their right might would call Walmart, "tiny". Amazon is about the same size as DC in terms of employees and GM used to be on the same order of magnitude back until about the 90's. Saying there are "no non-governmental examples" is a bit much.

Government and business accounting and operations are not as different as folks make them out to be.


Uhh. I don't doubt that in terms of raw scale Walmart is massive, Apple is hugely valuable, etc. etc.

That's great. They're still pretty bad comparators.

1) Time-scale: not even the most forward planning business plans on the kind of timescale that governments do.

2) Scope: A government is responsible for a lot of different things, some of them big, some of them small. Walmart is massive but they basically have one thing that they do really well and replicate the hell out of.

3) Non-substitutability: related to (2), many of the things that governments do are exclusive sovereign responsibilities and have to be done with the care that goes with knowing that people
have no alternative.

4) Universality: they have to serve everyone all the time, that adds a massive amount of complexity.

I don't doubt that accounting is much the same, but I doubt that is what people have in mind when they want government "run like a business".
posted by atrazine at 3:46 PM on August 6 [5 favorites]


Shri Thanedar, who is taking up single payer as well (but sounds like a rich goofball)

Shri Thanedar seems like he's to the Democrats what Michael Bloomberg and Donald Trump were to the GOP. He's not interested in the party's policies as much as using it to get into power. His commercials have been pretty funny, I'll give him that.
posted by riruro at 4:34 PM on August 6 [1 favorite]


Didn't Michigan vote for a person named Barack Hussein Obama twice? Let's give the fine people of Michigan *some* credit here, jeesh.

In reply: Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Sixteen

You say that, but most of the way through tallying the votes local sources like the Detroit Free Press with experience reporting on how elections break in Michigan were saying we were looking at a Clinton victory here, and then all of a sudden a bunch of Trump votes materialized out of nowhere, and then the attempted recount found some evidence that I would say casts some serious doubt on whether Michigan actually did go for Trump: a massively-outside-the-norm 75,000 ballots that were counted as not having voted for anyone for president (that's more than 7 times Trump's supposed margin of victory, by the way), dozens of scanners that broke down (all in heavily-blue Detroit, of course), and a huge number of instances of precincts being determined unrecountable due to things like holes in ballot boxes or boxes being sealed in obviously not tamper-proof ways or just the number of ballots not being the same as count in the poll book. You read that right: our official recount policy is that if there's evidence that fraud might have occurred that means you are not allowed to look at it and find out if the ballots actually match the record. We only check the precincts where it seems like nothing went wrong! Then the recount was illegitimately shut down before most votes could be counted by a legislative body dominated by Republicans on the basis that Jill Stein, who initally filed the grievance, was not an aggrieved party, which is a reasonable position since we all know that only a person who could have won the election but didn't could in any way be negatively affected by a fraudulent outcome to an election.

I know Michigan being red on that electoral map is what's going to go down in history (and in a very real sense none of this matters because the voters don't elect the president anyway), but I'd be very surprised if that's actually what happened.
posted by IAmUnaware at 5:22 PM on August 6 [22 favorites]


This Ohio voter has never wished more fervently I could be a Michigan voter tomorrow.

I was up in Detroit last weekend and found out about two hours beforehand that my #1 Democratic Socialist crush Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was going to be stumping for Abdul, so I ran up to Wayne State University's student center and had to be like, "wait, who's Abdul again?" so I'm scrolling through his wikipedia page while waiting in line and meanwhile all his canvassers are asking me if I'm going to vote in 10 days and also can I phone bank?

"Sorry, no, I live in Ohio"
"That's OK, we can still use your help!"

I politely declined but wow I admire their persistence.

Also? Best political rally I've ever been to. It felt so... generous. It was an awesome mix of people from all ethnicities, religions, ages, worldly conditions. At one point a chant went up, something kind of typical like "I believe that we will win!" or an old favorite, and some little kid echoed it a beat after everyone finished. Entire audience laughed. Then two separate women standing near each other loudly went MMMHMMMM!!! in unison when Abdul hit one of his lines that everyone liked. Again, everyone laughed. And his parents were there and they were clearly geeking out about seeing their son run for office.

I was really into the fact he kept talking about water issues. I mean, yeah everyone knows about Flint but he was talking about the water shutoffs in Detroit and the pipeline being built under one of the lakes. And then I looked up his single payer healthcare proposal, and this guy is clearly thinking out his positions.

And friends, that rally? IT ENDED BEFORE SCHEDULE. How glorious! Everyone said what they needed to say, they were on time, and it was FUN! What a vision for the future!

And here I am, back in Ohio. And all I can think of is, goddammit, we all deserve candidates like this. Even my most hardcore "if voting changed anything they'd make it illegal" left beyond left friends are planning to vote for him.

I hope he wins.
posted by mostly vowels at 6:05 PM on August 6 [17 favorites]


I'm delighted to say that the polling station was pretty busy for 7:45 in the morning! Mine serves two precincts, and both were active. I voted for El-Sayed- I'm so glad he's running.
posted by Mouse Army at 6:53 AM on August 7


Here's hoping if Whitmer wins as projected that he becomes her running mate. They've been pretty careful not to attack each other much so it would be nice to see some unity on the left. He'd also make an even stronger candidate for governor with 8 years of experience in the capitol (and 8 more years of demographic shift) behind him.
posted by ulotrichous at 7:04 AM on August 7 [8 favorites]


I saw his Flint rally with AOC and was blown away by his charisma. He had my vote already based on his credentials and policy papers, but goddam can that man talk to a crowd. I was proud to cast my vote for him at 7:15 this morning.
posted by libraritarian at 7:28 AM on August 7 [3 favorites]


Sigh. Is this not really really worrisome for anyone else who actually has run a business, or just, you know, worked in one?

It’s like admitting, proudly, that you are totally ignorant about the adversary you plan to fight.


I read it as the opposite. I have to work against businesses often. To have even marginal success, you have to know their interests, their objective, their timelines, and their arguments better than they know them themselves. You have to know the business enough to see the internal contradictions, and have your timing just right to force a contradiction out into the open.

if you work for a business, you know this well. you have to know the boss better than he knows himself, or you will get clobbered with some arbitrary authoritarian nonsense workload (see "office space").

there is, of course, the knowledge of making decisions for profit, that is a kind of knowledge that he does not ascribe to. but that's not a requirement for public office, and hasn't been since non-landowning white men have been allowed to vote.
posted by eustatic at 8:04 AM on August 7 [2 favorites]


I'm out of the country at the moment, but my wife and I absentee voted for him Friday. We're also in Amash's district, so we had to figure out who was on the dem ticket that was most likely to be able to take him down - we figured a minister had the best shot even if he wasn't our favored candidate. Amash is horrible and I don't agree with him on pretty much anything, but he's been pretty consistently anti-Trump so he might be shielded some from any blue wave in Michigan.
posted by LionIndex at 8:58 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Amash is crazy, but I have to give him some points for being crazy in a consistent way.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:09 AM on August 7 [1 favorite]


It’s primary day!

Vooooote.
posted by The Whelk at 9:24 AM on August 7 [2 favorites]


My dad, a lifelong Libertarian, called me to let me know that he's voting for Whitmer all the way after he met her while emceeing a cancer benefit at a medical marijuana dispensary and she shared his outrage over Nestle's water hustle. He also talked the mayor of Detroit, so I'm pretty convinced he'll be a full-on mover and shaker in the Michigan Dems by 2020.

I'm a Michigan SPH alumna myself and we wouldn't be the HARVARD OF THE MIDWEST if we didn't snootily vote for our own (although his campaign was a bit over the top with their text outreach: campaigns, don't text me more than my mom does, sheesh).

My partner, when I said I could never vote with someone with such a terrible wig (ie, Thanedar), said that I was misreading the mood of the country, that the White Working Class Democrats of Michigan love bad wigs, which led to a debate about weave vs. wig (with special emphasis on lace-fronts).

Either way, the Democratic slate of gubernatorial candidates is just leaps and bounds ahead of the vicious and ignorant men that the Republicans disgorged onto the ballot this year.
posted by palindromic at 10:22 AM on August 7 [2 favorites]


I volunteered for MoveOn.org's text canvassing team today and I feel really good about it. I sent texts to 1,500 people and I got a bunch of opt-outs and one or two "hell no I'm a republican" responses (and one straight up racist), but I also got a handful of people who I either helped get to their polling station on time or got to celebrate their vote for Rashida Tlaib.

Feels like I actually did something, which is better than the sort of empty nothingness that happens when I just click the ActBlue button again.
posted by zrail at 12:49 PM on August 7 [7 favorites]


94th voter at my polling place this morning.

I *love* the idea of a Dem unity ticket: El-Sayed/Whitmer or Whitmer/El-Sayed, depending on who gets the most votes today.

(Shri is, at best, a joke.)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 12:59 PM on August 7 [4 favorites]


Abdul El-Sayed - wow, watch the linked video people. This guy is the real deal and I hope that the state of Michigan has the courage to elect him.
posted by bluesky43 at 2:29 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


From Vox.

Whitmer has been leading nearly every poll with a double-digit margin — although both she and El-Sayed say they put little stock in the latest Detroit Free Press poll, conducted via landline.

Emphasis my own :)
posted by bluesky43 at 3:02 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


From the Metro Times (Detroit):

Michigan on pace to have highest primary voter turnout in 40 years, expert says

(Posted yesterday, does not reflect today’s vote)
posted by Barack Spinoza at 3:22 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Thanedar seems to have pre-thrown in the towel.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:53 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Thank goodness.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 4:37 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


The nature of my work as a contractor has had me working in the offices of hundreds of small businesses of all varieties. More often than not, they are not extremely competent at the services they provide, or much of anything. It's really quite amazing and fortunate that somehow, mediocre people organized into mediocre operations are allowed to exist and make any money at all by the free market.

If a candidate's got small business at the top of his resume, I do not assume much about his ability to do the job.
posted by floam at 4:39 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


By definition, most people are mediocre.
posted by Chrysostom at 4:45 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


El-Sayed looks to be underperforming in Washtenaw.
posted by Chrysostom at 5:37 PM on August 7


Ann Arbor City politics (Washtenaw) is in the middle of a fairly heated NIMBY vs YIMBY development battle. The primary is essentially the general election for the Dem dominated city government. Turnout ought to be pretty high.
posted by klarck at 6:11 PM on August 7


No NYT or AP call yet, but several prognosticators have called it for Whitmer. She's up 51-34 with 15% in.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:19 PM on August 7


That seem like a silly early call to me. Washtenaw and Wayne county always take forever to count and (from the other thread) precincts in Oakland county ran out of ballots so people might still be waiting to vote.
posted by zrail at 6:22 PM on August 7


AP calls the GOP race for AG Schuette.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:30 PM on August 7


Well then, no matter what happens here in Michigan, we vote for the Dem. Schuette cannot be governor.
posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:58 PM on August 7 [8 favorites]


AP and NYT call it for Whitmer.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:05 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


Anyone have any idea why results for MI-13 haven’t come in?
posted by zrail at 7:20 PM on August 7


(Never mind, NYT just updated finally)
posted by zrail at 7:21 PM on August 7


By definition, most people are mediocre.

Yeah. But when I was younger, I had assumed that these were genuises who had an edge because they had mastered things. Otherwise, they'd had been driven into the ground by a better businessman? Well I was wrong and I was surprised.
posted by floam at 7:24 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


Having worked a bit on California's latest and now probably dead legislative single payer effort, I wish the folks who created it (mostly the California Nurses Association) had taken El-Sayed's approach instead.

We basically had an empty bill that said Single Payer, we'll explain the financing later... I appreciate how honest and clear the Mich Care proposal sounds in contrast. Hopefully the next attempt will be more along these lines.
posted by latkes at 8:42 PM on August 7 [1 favorite]


In MI-13, progressive activist/former state legislator Rashida Tlaib is leading by about 20 points, but it's still only about 25% reporting. This is a very blue district, so a win tonight should send her to Congress - she'd be the first Muslim woman in the House.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:14 PM on August 7 [3 favorites]


El-Sayed moves quickly to comity:
El-Sayed says tomorrow the work begins to make sure “the likes of Bill Schuette is the not the next governor of Michigan” Congratulates Gretchen Whitmer on a “hard fought win” and says his campaign will get behind moving them forward
posted by Chrysostom at 9:39 PM on August 7 [10 favorites]


Well then, no matter what happens here in Michigan, we vote for the Dem. Schuette cannot be governor.

Absolutely. I voted for El-Sayed, obviously, but I got no problem with Whitmer. Schuette is a terrible terrible humanoid, and his giant list of misdeeds needs to be hung around his neck every minute between now and November.
posted by FelliniBlank at 10:02 PM on August 7 [8 favorites]


Rashida Tlaib has won both the regular and special primaries (this was the seat Conyers vacated).
posted by Chrysostom at 10:30 PM on August 7 [5 favorites]


Well this is sad about El-Sayed.

But tonight was Seattle Night Out, where literally every neighborhood sets up block parties that are highly attended. I’m the local doctor who works at the local community health clinic which is somewhat of an institution, and this being a progressive, politically active city people always ask me about what’s going on in health care. As usual, I got on my single payer soapbox, gave my history of how the Medicaid expansion has gone in WA state, and railed against the latest evil shit Healthco Insurance Corporation is pulling. Then I talked about how the federally qualified community health centers in Seattle are coming together to officially launch our union petition tomorrow mostly to fight the bureaucrats who are caving to the insurance con game in the name of profit “sustainability”, how I’m going back to school in September to get my MHA to learn how to fight these bastards in court, in boardrooms, and in the state house, showed them my new tattoo, and then when asked how it might work here I replied, “Well, there’s this one interesting fella in Michigan running for governor who’s got it pretty well thought out...”

People around here think very highly of the people working in the safety net and are very interested when you start talking about the greed mongers who are destroying it.

Thank you Dr. El-Sayed for your courage to talk straight about this shit.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 10:34 PM on August 7 [10 favorites]


They've been pretty careful not to attack each other much so it would be nice to see some unity on the left.

He said “Money laundering”. He didn’t even hedge it with “My opponent...” or “The Whitmer campaign...”. I hope she’s big enough to forget that, but I wouldn’t blame her at all if she didn’t.
posted by Etrigan at 11:11 PM on August 7 [2 favorites]


Perhaps some of us may have a friend or family member who still believes this trope of "running government like a business". Ask them why they believe that. No doubt they will say "so that we can make a profit." Now breakdown the analogy with them: Government consists of politicians, lobbyists, bureaucrats, and the citizens. Business consists of owners, investors, managers, and employees. Now ask them if they think that a business would do anything for the employees that would not make a profit for the owners and investors. Considering lay-offs and off-shoring, the honest answer would have to be no. The analogous situation in government would be making profit for the politicians and lobbyists, at the expense of the citizens. But the difference is that you can't fire or off-shore citizens, and even if you could, where would the "fired" citizen go to look for a new "job"? Use your questions to lead your interlocutor to the idea that bosses and owners can't be fired by the employees, but citizens can, and often do, fire politicians through the process of voting. The bottom line is: we have been running our government like a business for 40 years, and it's not working. We did the experiment, and results are right there to see by anybody without Murdoch brand blinders on. We need to go back to running the government like a government.
posted by ambulocetus at 5:54 AM on August 8 [4 favorites]


Looks like in the end, Whitmer won every county.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:29 AM on August 8


I can't find the map I saw, but there was one floating around a little while ago with El-Sayed taking Washtenaw (i.e., Ann Arbor).
posted by Etrigan at 6:36 AM on August 8


Whtimer ended up winning Washtenaw by about 120 votes.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:53 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Chrysostom: "Rashida Tlaib has won both the regular and special primaries (this was the seat Conyers vacated)."

Btw, she definitely won the regular primary, but now she is trailing in the special. Open question whether, if Brenda Jones pulls out a win in the special, she'd even want to be seated, as it would only be for a couple of weeks.
posted by Chrysostom at 7:18 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Ann Arbor City politics (Washtenaw) is in the middle of a fairly heated NIMBY vs YIMBY development battle. The primary is essentially the general election for the Dem dominated city government. Turnout ought to be pretty high.

El-Sayed taking Washtenaw (i.e., Ann Arbor).


Ann Arbor =/= Washtenaw County. City of Ann Arbor voters cast less than half of the total votes in Washtenaw County this election.

El Sayed won in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and most of the nearby townships (Ypsi, Superior, Pittsfield). It was the outlying cities/townships that put Whitmer on top in the county.
posted by Preserver at 8:06 AM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Well this is sad about El-Sayed.

I do wish he had won (and lots of us encouraged Whitmer post-win to find a prominent place for Dr. Abdul in her administration), but out here in the wilds of rural West Michigan, just seeing a non-Dutch name on the ballot and having several hundred people in my revoltingly Trumpy county vote for the guy was a refreshing change.
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:47 PM on August 8 [7 favorites]


Perhaps some of us may have a friend or family member who still believes this trope of "running government like a business". Ask them why they believe that. No doubt they will say "so that we can make a profit."

So what happens if they say "businesses are more efficient and responsive to their customers than governments are"? Please reply quickly, the dinner's getting cold
posted by Merus at 4:59 PM on August 8 [2 favorites]


So what happens if they say "businesses are more efficient and responsive to their customers than governments are"?

No, Uncle Stu, businesses are more efficient and responsive to most of their customers. And the rest? They don't care. They don't have to care. What's the one business you can think of that serves the biggest number of people? Walmart, right? It's everywhere, and it sells everything, and it made Sam Walton's entire family billionaires. About 95 percent of Americans shop at Walmart at least once a year. That's a better market share than McDonald's -- hell, that's a better market share than fast food. Walmart would probably like to get the other 5 percent in the door, but they clearly don't have to worry about them too much, right? They can afford to ignore that 5 percent. And that's a big problem with treating government like a business -- like the largest and most all-encompassing business you can think of: leaving behind 5 percent of Americans is more than 16 million people. That's New York City. Plus Los Angeles. Plus Chicago. Plus any other city in the country. Put a different way, that's every American with an alcohol problem, according to the National Institutes of Health. Put a different different way, that's the fourteen smallest states combined. The government can't just ignore that many people.

And that's why we can't run government like a business. It has to be less efficient, because "efficiency" includes cutting out the things you just don't want to bother with. We can't hang a sign saying WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE SERVICE TO DAKOTAS up on Minnesota and call it a night just because it's inconvenient to deal with a natural disaster in Fargo.

Also, let's face it, "efficient" and "responsive" mean different things to different people. Remember the bad tire that garage sold you? Remember how the manager told you that he didn't need your business, and you'd just have to sue him? That was him being efficient -- he was pretty sure it would cost him less to do that than to pay for the damage to your car.

And then, when you did sue him, it would have been more efficient for the court to say "Fuck it, it's not worth all our time to replace a rear axle on a 1998 Civic." It would have been more responsive for the court to say "You're inconveniencing a small business that employs a dozen people, and you're just one person, so we're gonna rule for the 12 people instead of you."

Efficiency is great, for some things. But I like the slow, plodding, methodical Americans With Disabilities Act, when America said, "It's not efficient to give a crap about wheelchair access. But we're gonna do it anyway, because it's the right thing to do." There's a lot of people who aren't going to be good "customers" of the government. They don't deserve to be ignored just because it's more efficient and responsive.

Government isn't business. The courts aren't Walmart. The Army isn't Terry's Garage. And thank the gods for that, Uncle Stu, 'cause you and me would be fucked if they were.
posted by Etrigan at 8:06 PM on August 8 [15 favorites]


Thank you, but he's ranting about small business tax cuts now but I'll know what to say for next time
posted by Merus at 8:11 PM on August 8


The rich rarely rule directly. They prefer instead to leave governance in the hands of bourgeois politics, which runs things in the interests of a bloc of capital.

Even if someone isn't looking to run government as a business, if you're planning on taking formal political power in a capitalist system, you're taking on the responsibility of managing capitalism in your state.
Many of the same decisions will be made, because keeping a capitalist state functioning well means keeping capitalism afloat and relatively stable. That means working to increase the rate of profit, which means increasing the exploitation of workers.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 11:25 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


Many of the same decisions will be made, because keeping a capitalist state functioning well means keeping capitalism afloat and relatively stable. That means working to increase the rate of profit, which means increasing the exploitation of workers.

The existence and success of Labour parties across the world are a very clear refutation. The UK one has had a troubling track record of this over the last few decades, but it's sheer nonsense to say that formal political power is only ever capable of legislating for the exploitation of workers.
posted by Merus at 11:57 PM on August 8 [1 favorite]


It is exactly the role played by Labour parties and their ilk that I'm referring to. Sure, they exist, but even the ones founded with an original goal of ending capitalism have shown time and time again that they're mostly interested in running capitalism in their state. That's why they've compromised time and time again, because they're more concerned with keeping the capitalist state they seek control of viable than they are with liberation.

Time and time again they have betrayed workers. Somehow, once elected, the time is never right to improve the lot of regular people. That will come in the future, they promise, for the time being business must be nurtured and capitulated to. They embrace racism, nationalism and bigotry, working again gender emancipation and anything else that threatens the foundations of capitalist social relations.

It's also evident in their international politics, even when they make concessions for workers in their country, they continue to support imperialist wars and the exploitation of the global working class.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 12:08 AM on August 9 [1 favorite]


I'm having difficulty responding to this without violating MetaFilter's guidelines. I see company taxes, universal healthcare, a liveable minimum wage and paid annual and sick leave as pretty directly improving the lot of regular people. We have so little common ground that there's nothing to discuss.
posted by Merus at 12:26 AM on August 9 [3 favorites]


In the interests of hopefully being a little less aggravating, I should admit that those things are good for the working class, and worth defending. They're things that keep us alive and able to fight for more.

None of those things are necessarily against the interests of capitalism more generally though. They're definitely against the interests of certain individual holders of capital, but none of those things by themselves are anti-capitalist.

It's good to have a workforce that is healthy, educated and able to survive when you're not employing them. It's just not good to pay for those things yourself as an employer. They can be great policies to implement if you want more stable capitalism, and to win the votes of average people without challenging capital direcly. Which brings me back to the fact that many of these concessions some countries have had for decades, without further steps being taken to actually build working class power.

When Labor gets in here, they're promising to reverse recent tax cuts for the rich. They should be promising to increase those taxes instead. They're promising to review industrial relations, they should be promising us that they'll imprison employers who steal wages. They're promising they'll think about some sort of deadline on the indefinite detention of verified refugees.

That's not to say that we shouldn't vote for our left alternative parties, but to pretend that they're interested in anything other than running the state, and therefore capitalism in the state, themselves, just doesn't seem to fit the evidence. Or their own admissions. Formal political power can improve the material conditions of workers somewhat, but, you've heard the quote before, I'm sure,
"For the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the master's house as their only source of support."
posted by AnhydrousLove at 7:09 AM on August 9 [1 favorite]


but also effectively that people who come from lower-class backgrounds have no place in government just because they've never been management.

Ding ding ding, we have a winner, please proceed to the aspen ideas festival
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 9:02 PM on August 12 [1 favorite]


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