Among rural Trump supporters, an America that has lost its way

Tucked in the northwest corner of the Upper Peninsula, Ontonagon County residents know a thing or two about survival, whether it's the long and harsh winters that are a UP trademark or a brutal local economy.

Marine Corps veteran Bill Johnson, 54, could be considered fortunate among the populace in one respect: He doesn't need a job to pay his bills, dependent instead on disability from his military service from 1979 to 1985 that left him with bad knees and back problems. He also collects Social Security disability.

But Johnson is much like many other residents of his region, in that he sees a declining America that cries out for leadership. With a building sense of rage about things as they are, he finds that leadership in GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump.

“We have lost our way as Americans,” Johnson said.

“I don't agree with everything Trump says or does. But the man has balls. That's all there is to it.”

More coverage: Young voters feel they’re ‘screwed either way’

In the March 8 GOP presidential primary, Trump beat second-place finisher Ted Cruz by 28 percentage points in Ontonagon County – one of the largest margins in the state. Judging by results elsewhere, it was like home turf for Trump.

“I don't agree with everything Trump says or does. But the man has balls. That's all there is to it.” -- Marine Corps veteran Bill Johnson of Ontonagon County

Indeed, he posted his strongest margins in large swaths of the U.P., as well as in rural counties scattered across the middle and northern Lower Peninsula. That lines up with national polls that show Trump leading in rural areas by as much as 20 percent.

But those numbers in Michigan might speak as much to a sense of economic distress as they do to partisan politics, with segments of the state scrambling to keep pace with a changing world. These are areas marked in spots by sagging homes on backwoods roads, struggling small towns, and in many cases poverty, high unemployment and stagnant or falling population.

On the eve of Wednesday’s final presidential debate, polls point to a possible blowout Michigan win by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. An Oct. 12 poll by the Detroit News found Clinton leading Trump by 11 percent in a four-way race with Trump, Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein. If that comes to pass, it seems likely these rural Trump loyalists will feel even more alienated come the day after the election.

These places are also largely white, with a relatively high percentage of residents without a college degree. To those who live in metro areas like Detroit or Lansing or Grand Rapids, they might as well be another world.

And while the zeal of rural residents for a New York City billionaire who jets around in his personal Boeing 757 might seem contradictory, it makes more sense when one weighs the message they hear from him.

Where some accuse Trump of racism for saying Mexico was sending criminals and rapists across the border – or for his since-rescinded ban on all Muslims entering the country – Johnson sees strength. He backs his call for law and order.

“We need someone to stand up for this nation,” Johnson said.

He dismissed the significance of the recent, widely played 2005 video of Trump making comments about grabbing and kissing women, saying, “I don't know any man that doesn't talk about women like that. We are just humans.”

He gives no credence to the series of women who have since come forward to allege Trump assaulted them or kissed them inappropriately.

“That's all a slam on him. They never reported it to police. I don't believe it.”

Dour outlooks, bad times

Susan Demas, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, a Lansing political newsletter, said the Trump campaign has exposed fault lines in the electorate that were apparent with the onset of the Tea Party movement in 2009.

“The Tea Party was more focused on economics and getting the government off your back. Trump is more nativist and nationalistic, this idea of strength,” Demas said.

Demas made a trip this summer to rural northern Michigan and the U.P., to take the pulse of voters on state and national issues.

“All they wanted to do is talk about Trump,” Demas said. “He has definitely tapped into something. I think he has a very basic message that appeals to a lot of people – this idea that we are going downhill and he's the only person to fix it.”

Scott Loveridge, a Michigan State University economist who is expert in rural economic development, noted that much of the U.P. has suffered with the decline in the mining industry and elements of the forest products industry. Parts of the northern Lower Peninsula have seen small manufacturing plants tied to the auto industry shut down.

“There is a history in several counties in the U.P. with net population loss. It doesn't leave you with a good feeling if your town is emptying out. People are very distressed by that, especially if you have lived in the county your whole life and you get to middle age and you see how it's changed.”

Ontonagon County has lost 43 percent of its population from 10,548 in 1970 to an estimated 6,007 in 2015.

In the past 20 years, the county has absorbed two major economic blows. In 1995, the White Pine copper mine closed, ending an operation which employed 3,000 workers at its peak in the 1970s. In 2009, officials at the Smurfit-Stone Container Company announced they would close the paper plant in the village of Ontonagon by year’s end. The decision cost 182 jobs and shuttered a mill that was once the county’s largest employer.

In 2012, 54 percent of voters cast ballots for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, to 45 percent for Democratic President Barack Obama.

In 2015, Ontonagon County – which is about 97 percent white – ranked 79th of 83 counties with an unemployment rate of 9 percent, compared with the state average of 5.4 percent. Its median income of $35,365 ranked 78th. Less than 16 percent of those over 25 had a college degree, compared to 26.4 percent statewide.

The apparent allegiance to Trump in this county fits with an analysis of six national polls by the New York Times that found Trump leading among non-college-educated whites 58 percent to 30 percent.

To be sure, there is analysis that suggests the picture of Trump supporters is considerably more complex than this rural narrative. An examination of exit polls by FiveThirtyEight, an election analysis web site, found that the median household income of Trump voters in early primaries was $72,000, above the national median income of $56,000. The median income figure for Trump was partly a reflection of the fact that Republican voters tend to be more wealthy – for example, supporters of GOP Ohio Gov. John Kasich had a median income of $91,000.

The same report found that 44 percent of Trump backers have college degrees, higher than the 29 percent of Americans overall, but lower than 50 percent for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and 64 percent for Kasich.

Where is the love for Alcona County?

In Alcona County, a place of dense forest, small towns and just under 11,000 people 80 miles north of Bay City, Carrie Mullins is trying to piece together a future from a dog-sitting business she started in her mother's house in 2005.

She lives in a county in which nearly 8 percent were unemployed in 2015, while just 13.5 percent of those over 25 had a college degree – about half the state average. Its median income of just over $38,000 ranked 68th in Michigan. It is about 99 percent white.

The county voted 59 percent to 41 percent for Romney in 2012, while Trump carried the Republican primary this year by 30 points.

“It's pretty good right now,” Mullins said of her business.

To save on expenses, Mullins, 40, still lives in the home of her mother, a retired licensed practical nurse, though she pays rent and buys most of her own groceries. She has an associate's degree in biology.

Mullins recalled a rough couple or three years during the Great Recession, when her business – called Carrie's Critter Camp – took a dive. There were days she had no business at all.

“People just stopped taking vacations,” she said.

And though business is much better now, Mullins said she still has little money to spare. She recounted how she had to save several months to be able to afford to replace her 30-year-old mattress.

“As far as money for retirement, I don't have any. Not even remotely.”

Mullins said she has much more faith Trump will be able to improve middle-class lives than Clinton.

“He can be abrasive, but he has grown on me. He has a very strong history and strong leadership in business.”

Mullins, who volunteers as secretary of the Alcona County Republican Party, followed those thoughts with an email the next day: “Here in northern Lower Michigan, we often feel forgotten, lied to, neglected and ignored...It is time that political correctness, inaction and the betrayal of the Constitution and the American people be swept aside. We need to resurrect the country our forefathers designed. Trump is most suited to do that.”

Earlier this month, Lake County resident Laura Burbank said she wasn't quite yet all in for Donald Trump. But she was getting there, in a county that voted 52 percent to 47 percent for Obama in 2012. Trump won the March primary here by nearly 27 percent.

Sitting outside the restaurant earlier this month where she has a part-time waitress job, Burbank, 45, said she worries not just about her own future but that of America. Somewhere along the line, she said, things went wrong, at home and abroad.

“I'm very disappointed at what's happening in America. This was a place where dreams came true and now we're a laughingstock. People will talk crap about us and what can we do to defend ourselves?

“It looks to me like our best days are behind us.”

Like many in this wooded county 90 miles north of Grand Rapids, Burbank has to scrape to keep things together. In addition to her waitress work, she is paid through Medicare as a home health care provider for her mother- and father-in-law. She mows lawns and does yard work. She cuts wood. She was painting the interior of a house for some additional cash.

“I have to put money away, because winter is coming on,” she said.

Of those over 25 years old in Lake County, 9.2 percent had a college degree – last among Michigan counties. Its unemployment rate of 8.2 percent ranked 75th, while its median income of just under $29,000 ranked last. About 87 percent of its population of approximately 11,500 is white.

Burbank expects no miracles from whoever wins the presidential race. But she said she was leaning Trump's way even though she previously voted for Obama.

“What I do like about him is that he is honest,” she said of Trump.

“I like his strength. I don't like pushovers.”

Storm clouds ahead

At JJ's Tackle Shack in Ontonagon County, that pretty much sums up the stated beliefs of Jill Johnson, 49, wife to Marine veteran Bill Johnson.

Jill Johnson said her husband urged her to buy the business a couple years ago, as a cushion for retirement. Located on the Ontonagon River just off Lake Superior, the shop sells fishing gear, ice, live bait, T-shirts and snack items like pop, beef jerky, chips and candy.

It hasn't really made any money yet.

“I think we could be headed for another civil war.” – Bill Johnson, Ontonagon County

“It's pretty much an even. Last year was a minor loss. But we knew it was going to be rough the first few years. We're looking to grow,” Johnson said.

Johnson said most local customers who come through the shop are for Trump. She said she sees far more Trump yard signs around town than those for Clinton.

But those Trump signs are sprouting in a county that might as well also fly an economic distress flag.

When the paper mill shut down in 2009, Johnson said: “Most of the people that did work there left town to find work somewhere else. Some went to school to become prison guards. The working-age men around here have pretty much left.”

At the same time, she said, some in the county have turned to dealing drugs like heroin or methamphetamine as a means of earning money.

But, she said, things could always get worse.

“If Hillary wins, we are done,” she said.

Marine veteran Johnson is still hopeful Trump can pull it out. Noting that he has two years of college himself, Johnson says Trump supporters “are not all a bunch of high school dropouts.”

Still, he is bracing for an alternate ending.

“Most people up here are gun owners and we have Hillary saying we are going to have an executive order and ban weapons. (Trump claims, falsely, that Clinton has said she wants to abolish the Second Amendment. Clinton says she supports individual gun rights but wants a ban on the sale of assault weapons and “reasonable” restrictions to keep guns from dangerous or unstable people.)

“I have a friend who heard about that and he just bought an AR-15,” Johnson said, referring to a type of assault rifle.

“I have an AR-15 myself and I am well supplied. If you look on Facebook postings, there's a lot of people who believe it's the end of our nation if Hillary wins. There's a lot of people with guns.

“I think we could be headed for another civil war.”

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Tue, 10/18/2016 - 10:01am
I don't want a candidate with balls. I want one with brains.
Tue, 10/18/2016 - 11:52am
Yay! You are so right!
Wed, 10/19/2016 - 5:22pm
Kim, Let me offer you a bit about when having ‘balls’ matter you tell me wether ‘brains’ without ‘balls’ is all that good. Any time you have a crisis it is the ones with ‘balls’ that goes into risk their all for the good of other; consider as the person who made the comment about the importance of ‘balls’, those in military service. Do you think it takes ‘balls’ to go into an area where people are planting bombs and using high power weapons to kill anyone in that area? Do you think we need people that are willing to go into that danger or not? Think of a building on fire, do you think it takes ‘balls’ to go into the fire to save those at risk or even to search for people that may be in need of help? DO you think people that would do that would need ‘balls’ or do you think it only takes ‘brains’? If your home were on fire to you expect firefighters to put themselves in mortal danger to save your life? Think of a riotous situations where shots are fired, do you think it would take someone with ‘balls’ to go into that situation or do you think a guy with a gun will simply stop shooting because someone with ‘brains’ is in the area? If you were being threatened with violence [you have ‘brains’] do you think it would be someone without ‘balls’ that would risk their life to extract you from the situation? Now consider those who have the ‘balls’ [realize that having ‘balls’ does not preclude someone from having ‘brains’] is putting their life on the line regularly, do you feel that they want/need someone with ‘balls’ who they can trust leading them and trying to provide them with the best chance for survival? Do you think someone who says, ‘…what difference does it make…’ when questioned about the death of 4 men who were serving under her office has ‘balls’ enough for those who have the ‘balls’ to risk their lives to implement her orders? I thought I had lived a sheltered life and then I read Bridge and comments. First ‘balls’ in the former Marines vernacular is about willingness to risk everything on a decision they made, it is willing to risk everything for the people they serve. In that Marines world there is even a size and weight to ‘balls’. The size/weight is determined by the severity of the crisis they/we are in. Before you dismiss or belittle the idea of ‘balls’ consider how that applies in the everyday. Think of any stressful or dire situation in which someone has to risk their life, their families well-being, their everything, to help or save others, that is when the Marine’s term ‘balls’ applies. Consider those in the military [the former Marine’s world for a while] who are serving at the discretion of the President and you into harms-way everyday into a world of violence and evil [be assured that people doing beheading and other violence to non-combatants are evil], I can assure those they serve with must trust they have the ‘balls’ to help each other to survive. If you want to know who has proven to have ‘big’ ‘brass’ ‘balls’ you watch the ceremony where the President of America presents the owners with the Medal of Honor. Consider our everyday lives and those who know their responsibly to go into harms-way, firefighter, police officers, emergency responder, HazMat responders, and so on, they all have to have ‘balls’ to run into that danger to get people out of danger. Do you truly not believe having ‘balls’ is critical in our lives? And before you discount that a President or someone with ‘brains’ doesn’t need ‘balls’ or that sometimes it is more important that they have ‘balls’ consider what they risk when they make decisions that will undoubtedly cost people’s lives. Consider what those how have to have ‘balls’ to simply do fulfill their responsibly feel their leadership needs to be trusted by them. In the case of this election we have a candidate that said, ‘…what difference does it make…’ when questioned about four men who while serving at her request lost their lives fulfilling their responsibilities. She and others didn’t make an effort to support them. Those men had ‘balls’ and what they got was leadership that had none. How important do you think it is that those with ‘balls’ have confident that the actions they are being ordered to take are made by people with ‘balls’? In this case the person I believe you feel has the ‘brains’ and doesn’t need to have ‘balls’ [using the Marines vernacular] gave us the ‘Reset’ button and what did that give us? Is Putin more aggressive and violent in the world than before the ‘Reset’ button or is he cooperative? Do you think it is ‘brains’ that stop ‘bullies’ or ‘balls’? Do you think evil, in the likes of North Korea, Iran, ISIS, Putin, Assad, China, etc. respond simply to ‘brains’ or do they have to believe that the person with the ‘brains’ has the ‘balls’ to do what they say? You may belittle the importance of ‘balls’, but in a world where violence, where bullying happens at all levels, and media scrutiny is always second guessing every action they don’t like it takes ‘balls’ to lead. And remember having ‘balls’ does not displace ‘brains’. Ask anyone about the ‘miracle on the Hudson’, simply have ‘brains’ was not enough, those in that cockpit had ‘balls’ so many people are grateful for. Take a peek into the world of that Marine [and all the serving Marines], open your eyes to the global environment of bullying, look what you expect in a crisis in your community, then please reconsider and think what having ‘balls’ mean, who and why there must be people that have them, and that having ‘brains’ can also require having ‘balls’. Once you accept what having 'balls' means you should them starting looking at those with 'brains' have shown they have them and then start looking at those with 'brains' and without 'balls' have wasted opportunities they were given. Having met a few and recognize many others with and without, I find this a very important issue. I consider those on July 4, 1776 as the ones that demonstrate having 'balls' was the prerequisite of freedom.
Thu, 10/20/2016 - 3:58pm
In the military, the people on the ground who have the balls hope they are part of a system designed by and commanded by people with brains. And that the CiC has both. Trump has show himself to be a thin-skinned bully wthout vary many brains.
Thu, 10/20/2016 - 8:17pm
duane, Google "long winded".
Thu, 10/20/2016 - 9:39pm
d, Noted, but did it make any sense? I wonder if it helped Kim understand that 'brains' and 'balls' aren't mutually exclusive, and it is best when one has both.
Fri, 10/21/2016 - 10:26am
Duane, You really do need to read the book: Men Explain Things To Me" by Rebecca Solnit. I am sure such an open minded man could learn something.
Fri, 10/21/2016 - 12:46pm
Bernadette, I never claim to be open minded, too much experience has raised the threshold for trusting unexplained claims. However, I do like to hear other people's perspectives and their reasons why, for it is the reasoning behind their view that is where we truly learn. As 'd' pointed out I am wordy, but I try to share a bit of my rationale so others have something to question/to challenge. I am surprised no one, not even Kim, challenged my perspective. I have requested the book from the library, but I am a very slow reader [I read to myself as slowly as I read out loud, and slow at absorbing ideas] so it may take sometime for me to read the book. If you would like to hear what I learn I can let you know when I see a comment of yours after I finish reading.
Sun, 10/23/2016 - 7:49am
One of todays responders writes a novel about brains vs. balls, but he is all confused. Different jobs responsibilities at different levels require different skill sets. A private first class requires different talents than a 5 star general. So this readers fundamental assumptions are flawed from the get go. So as he builds his novel, the foundation is shaky. The higher the structure the greater the wobble. The POTUS needs a whole lot of brains along with some strong ground support to carry out sound decisions. Those top level decisions come with people who deliver brain power - not something hidden away tween their legs.
Sun, 10/23/2016 - 4:21pm
WiserR, I wonder how you define ‘balls’ and when they are needed. If you think it only applies in the most extreme conditions, you are missing seeing a lot of everyday people who have ‘balls’. I learned a long time ago what having ‘balls’ meant and why it was so important. I learned to see it in everyday people, I have seen it in kids on the playground, in co-workers, in those making business decisions, in public officials, in government regulators, in parents, etc. and it isn’t life or death choices it everyday choices. When you suggest that that talent plays a critical part in whether the choices require ‘balls’ or not, don’t confuse access to information, to experts, to the broadness of impact of a decision differentiates whether it takes ‘balls’, though as I mentioned it may tell a bit about the size. A simplified way I define a choice that may require ‘balls’ is when it is between a self-serving decision or decision that risk oneself for the benefit of others. If you want a few examples read JFK’s book Profiles in Courage, there are few individuals he describes that had ‘balls’.
Keith Root
Sun, 10/23/2016 - 11:51am
You can have all the balls in the world but if all you do is rush in without thinking all that will do get people yourself killed as well as the people you are supposed to be saving . Trump does not think before he talks or acts . Trump is just another reality show actor . It is the "reality" show mentality that is driving his campaign . Nothing on a reality show has anything to do with reality . Trump says he has given many millions of dollars to charity and yet nobody can find any charity that can find a donation from Trump . There are no charities that can find any evidence of donations from the Trump foundation either . He lies continuously and yet you people think he will do anything he says . He cannot be allowed to have the power of the D.O.J. to wield against anybody who offends him . He is in business with Putin and even backed by Putin and his Russian hackers . Trump has been less than honest when dealing with the people he contacted to do work on his failed casinos . Trump has refused to pay laborers for work done . These are working like most of his supporters . Do you really believe Trump will care about the people who vote for him if he succeeds in winning the presidency ? He has shown his callous disregard for common working people by his actions against them in his business . He has hundreds of liens against him from law suits that he still has not payed . He calls Clinton crooked Hillary but he is the real crook .
Robyn Tonkin
Sun, 10/23/2016 - 1:55pm
Duane: Here is Hillary Clinton really said about the Benghazi deaths. "Clinton: With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this, but the fact is that people were trying in real time to get to the best information. The IC has a process, I understand, going with the other committees to explain how these talking points came out. But you know, to be clear, it is, from my perspective, less important today looking backwards as to why these militants decided they did it than to find them and bring them to justice, and then maybe we’ll figure out what was going on in the meantime." This is SOP for figuring out what happened. For every paid informant who says "they wanted to protest" there is a paid informant who says "they were wanting to kill Americans." Finding out the motivations of fighters from a world away, and a culture light years away from our own, will always yield multiple motivations for an act, not just one. And as you can clearly see in this transcript quote, that is all Hillary Clinton is talking about in this instance--the role of the intelligence about figuring out the psychological catalyst for the attack on the embassy in Libya, and how important that tiny decision is in figuring out how to prevent a repeat of the event in the future.
Sun, 10/23/2016 - 4:59pm
Robyn, I read it, I heard it, and I heard the silence from her about what to do differently. I also thought about the message it sent to those who were serving in far away places. I have become jaded by politicians obscuring practices by claiming they need more facts, and then we don't hear the facts, we don't hear of any changes, we hear silence after their denials and delays. Have you heard what she would do differently, she knew what she did/asks/told? I will offer you what the difference is between a formal planned attack and an emotionally triggered spontaneous attack, the former has brought more sophisticated weapons, have plan their positions, have planned a staffed for the event, and will stay as long as the risks are to high for them. If it is an emotion driven event they will not have sophisticated weapons, they will not have planning, they will not have planned to stay. Ms. Clinton may not see that difference nor see that that difference would influence the response in support of those being attack, but there is. To relate to those events, consider how local police would react to an armed attack on a government building versus a spontaneous protest that include violence. There was a difference and that is what she was trying to obscure. Was it her being caught at ignoring what really was for what the White House was promoting? What really upset her and wasn't the lost American lives? In any case her comments in that response seemed more self-serving than trying to inform others.
Sun, 10/23/2016 - 8:41am
Well said !
Kristina Anderson
Thu, 11/03/2016 - 9:15pm
Trump has both! And he is smart enough to surround himself with intelligent, knowledgable experts and advisors. He is very supportive of women, minorities, and all other Americans. He has gone into storm-ravaged areas (with NO media coverage) and gone into the homes of victims with water, medical supplies, and other necessities, all at his own expense. He could have skipped all the hassle, accusations and stress to stay centered in a very comfortable life, but he appreciates all the opportunities America has given him, and in his words, "it's time to give back to the Country I love so much!" Trump has the heart, now he needs all of our support and votes to Make America Great Again!
Tue, 10/18/2016 - 10:01am
"There's (sic) a lot of people with guns. I think we could be headed for another civil war." Wow. That is scary stuff. It's criminal that Trump is fueling this type of anger and hate, and continues to do so. I had so hoped that by now, we would have moved toward a more enlightened approach to government, socials issues, and how we treat each other. Just wondering if the people interviewed for this article remember where they were 8 years ago, at the end of W's term, when every day the economy, jobs, housing, everything was imploding daily. Our generation's Great Recession. Now, everything (employment, jobs, etc.) is moving i the right direction, albeit not as quickly as some would like. Just sayin.
Chuck Lockwood
Tue, 10/18/2016 - 11:47am
Why do you want a civil war?
Chuck Lockwood
Tue, 10/18/2016 - 11:53am
AnniePatC71355, my apologies. I should know better than to comment when I can’t see what I’m doing.
Jay W.
Tue, 10/18/2016 - 1:05pm
Yeah Annie, all those shovel ready jobs from Obama's stimulus plan, aka, legalized money laundering, sure did contribute to the economy.
Tue, 10/18/2016 - 4:44pm
But they did! Continuous jobs growth now for 7 years. Big cats (Trump buddies) made out better than little cats (as usual) but life is much better overall today than 8 years ago.
Thu, 10/20/2016 - 8:18pm
True fact.
Tue, 10/18/2016 - 10:30am
What a sad bunch of delusional people who want a return to the good old days and that is not going to happen no matter who is president.
Alan Goldsmith
Tue, 10/18/2016 - 10:51am
What a hoot. Someone collecting a Federal tax dollar funded military disability pension, and a Social Security disability pension bitching about the Federal Government. I guess this is the guy Mitt Romney kept telling us about--that non-productive 'taker' of our tax dollars. Intriguing.
Jay W.
Tue, 10/18/2016 - 12:00pm
I find it interesting that all of this attention has been put on Trump's locker room talk. Go into any store and right there at the cash registers are magazines with headlines like "Angelina's Multiple Lovers" or "Michelle Obama Sex Scandal." Or better yet, Cosmopolitan magazine has scantily clothed women on the cover with stories like "Have The Best Orgasm Of Your Life" or "Rock Your Man's World In The Bedroom." Who buys these trash magazines that are full of locker room talk? Women. But that's a double standard that we don't talk about.
Sue Martens
Tue, 10/18/2016 - 1:39pm
The difference is CONSENT (or lack of it) by one of the parties involved. By the way, those magazines you mentioned are not full of vulgar locker-room talk. I don't buy them, but have read occasional issues in the doctor's office waiting room. They're also full of untruths and the writers literally make up stuff to sell copies. Lawsuits abound with these, and famous people either ignore them or sue for libel, usually quietly winning.
Jay W.
Tue, 10/18/2016 - 1:54pm
My point Sue is that women buy those trash magazines. Kudos to you if you don't, but women are the primary consumers of that kind of trash. Tell me honestly that you have never talked to other women about certain attractive men in an R rated or X rated way? You've never flirted with a married man that you find attractive? You've never flirted your way out of a traffic ticket? I'm not defending Trump, but this consent that you mention goes both ways and many women use sex and flirting to get things that they want. No double standards though, huh?
Wed, 10/19/2016 - 6:42pm
Yes, some women buy that trash, but none that I know and I'll bet not the majority of adult women in this country. And, no, I have never talked to other women about men in a R-rated of X-rated way. News flash: Most women don't think about sex constantly and talk about it even less. We're too busy. We also don't flirt with married men. I guess it goes with how we want to be perceived - as intelligent, thoughtful, kind women focused on our work,our families, and the greater good for all. Flirting our way out of a traffic ticket? Do men do that with female police officers? Shame on any officer of either genre who behaves like that. So when people try to normalize behavior of a candidate for the POTUS who exhibits such behavior and brags about it, intelligent women (and the men in their lives) understandably cry foul. Look at the latest polls. Decent people everywhere are speaking loud and clear.
Sun, 10/23/2016 - 11:10am
Very well said Sue, and great observations between men and women.
Robyn Tonkin
Sun, 10/23/2016 - 2:04pm
I have been extraordinarily happily married to the same man for 42 years, so I feel qualified to wade in here. I honestly don't know who those magazines at the check out counter are for. I have never thought I needed any of what was called in more circumspect times the "marital advice" they contain. I am indifferent to the photos of women in provocative clothes that decorate the covers. I never buy such magazines because (and this really dates me) I opine that they probably don't have any crochet patterns or decent recipes. I don't flirt with any men, married or otherwise, never have. I don't flirt to get out of traffic tickets. The last time I got one, I was in a bad mood and was impatient with the young cop, and made fun of him a little. He gave me a warning ticket, probably thought it was refreshing that a middleaged maternal looking women didn't flirt with him. I keep my nose clean and have always kept myself out of trouble. I have been alone a lot, as my husband was away on business a lot, and you'd be surprised how many of his "friends" gave me the come on. I thought that was really poor form. I have never discussed my husband as a lover with another woman. How unseemly. that said, I think younger women, at least some of them, in this day and age, give clear indication that they weren't raised to be a lady.
Wed, 10/19/2016 - 12:17pm
Jay, there's a really, really big difference between talking or reading about sex and admitting to sexually accosting others against their will. These are not morally equivalent behaviors.
Tue, 10/18/2016 - 12:06pm
So, what should they do? People feel ignored or taken advantage of by federal and state government, corporations have pulled out for cheaper access to resources and labor, and they have family ties to the area. How often do we show concern for places like Ontonagon County, except when they support Trump?
Darryle Buchanan
Tue, 10/18/2016 - 12:12pm
The man has balls... of course he does, he's a man! He has no brain and no heart, that's the problem!
Tue, 10/18/2016 - 12:19pm
Trump is a clown, but he's tapped into something real. As the economy becomes more high-tech, as entire job categories are threatened (store clerk, travel agent, taxi driver etc.), as trade becomes more globally integrated, a lot of people in this country and elsewhere become economically disenfranchised and very bitter -- susceptible to Trump's kind of nativist, huckster rhetoric.
Thu, 10/20/2016 - 8:20pm
Tue, 10/18/2016 - 12:58pm
I get a kick out of all theset fools voting for Trump. Every one of them depends on the government programs the Republicans want to cut. Go figure.
Wed, 10/19/2016 - 3:59pm
Bingo! We have a winner here. People who don't realize they are their own worst enemy.
William Hammond
Tue, 10/18/2016 - 1:02pm
If there is violence post-election it will be by Trump supporters. Anyone that thinks Trump would improve the economy are mistaken. In fact I have my doubts that HRC will be able to improve it either. Until there is a shifting in thinking and people accept that the concentration of wealth in our Country into the hands of the wealthiest has come at the expense of the middle and working classes there will be little change. We need leadership that will not succumb to the lure of big money and instead work to reverse the income inequality. We need a Sandersesque leader to do that.
Sun, 10/23/2016 - 9:02am
William, Did you listen the debates? Hillary said it right out... I am, and Donald if he doesn't figure a way out, am going to pay higher taxes. I agree, we need to structure taxes so those at the top contribute more to the good of all. (The capitalistic system is based on the accumulation of wealth with the intent of them reinvesting in large scale endeavors (businesses), while the government pools our money for investing in large scale projects to the good of the public, i.e. roads, schools. The problem is it takes much less capital now (or people) to build a large scale business so the profits stay with the owners (think Google with a couple of thousand employees vs GM with hundreds of thousands.) We have structured the tax system so we tax profits, not earnings. So why not pay your executives millions of dollars (saying you need to be competitive in the marketplace...wink, wink) and then report minimal profits.
Sue Martens
Tue, 10/18/2016 - 1:31pm
What do the people who were interviewed think Trump and the Republicans will do for them? One has no savings for retirement, another barely makes ends meet with a low-paying job, and the third lives off government programs. Yet which party looks out for these average working people, works to raise minimum wage and provide health care, and works to help citizens in their retirement years? It sure isn't Trump and the Republican Party. How some people can vote the opposite of their own best interests is beyond me.
Tue, 10/18/2016 - 9:46pm
Wed, 10/19/2016 - 8:59pm
Sue, If it is only what government can do for you that matters then does that mean you have your handout and who will put most in that hand decides your vote? I recall an inspiring line; " fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man." JKF The reality is that those who do for themselves are the ones that provides what the government does for you. If you want a better life it won't come from the government, the reality is that the government is always looking backward, what it gives to people is based on what happened yesterday not what live will be tomorrow, they are trying to control people today based on what happened yesterday, the way they do things and the way they treat people is based on what life was like yesterday. A better life belongs to those who are looking forward and trying to do what they can to enjoy the future.
Trout Lake
Tue, 10/18/2016 - 2:24pm
I grew up in a similar area downstate, I have much sympathy for these folks, they have been left behind as many rural areas have been. Both political parties are guilty although I believe the GOP is far worse. And Trump won't be able to snap his fingers and fix anything, that's just not how our Govt. works, read the Constitution, folks, it's a complicated process by which we govern ourselves. And if you look behind the process, focus on the money flowing into political campaigns. The money isn't from people and it isn't local. It's from PACs and mostly from Wash. DC. One last comment, do you really think you can take on 101st Airborne division with an AR-15? I'd give you 10, maybe 15 minutes until its over.
John Q.
Tue, 10/18/2016 - 5:49pm
The Republicans controlled the Governor's office for 17 of the last 25 years, the State Senate for the past 25 years and the State House for 17 of the last 25 years. During that time,what have the Republicans done for the residents of the UP?
Tue, 10/18/2016 - 7:04pm
John Q. - You win the internet for the day. That is the ultimate question. And along the same line, what role have term limits played in the decline of "out state" Michigan? People complained about Dominic Jacobetti being in the state legislature for so long, but the dude got stuff done. The U.P. had a real champion that looked out for people like those mentioned in this article. With term limits, seniority is basically gone. We have a continuous churn of inexperienced reps and senators who rely on career staffers and special interests for their mandates. The marching orders don't come from the district. They come from Metro Detroit, Midland, Grand Rapids, and Lansing. Instead of making a long term commitment to represent their districts, the newly elected are focused on how to advance to the next level after they're term-limited. We've created the very thing we were trying to avoid and the state has suffered immeasurably because of it. It's sad.
Sun, 10/23/2016 - 12:51pm
Amen to that!
Jay W.
Tue, 10/18/2016 - 7:38pm
Former Governor Jennifer Granholm, a democrat, tried to close the State Police posts in Iron River and Calumet, which republicans opposed. She also tried to close the State Police crime lab in Marquette, leaving the lab in downstate Grayling as the nearest lab for all U.P. law enforcement agencies to receive lab services from. U.P. law enforcement agencies would have to contract for lab services from labs in Wisconsin or Canada, in other words, another state or another country. Granholm also laid off 100 State Police troopers, some of which served various parts of the U.P. Republicans fought her on all of these when they only had control of the Senate and for two years when they controlled the House. But even with the budget cutting measures during her time in office, she managed to find more than $70 million in taxpayer funds to build a new State Police headquarters in Lansing, which was a sweetheart deal for a developer that has been a longtime contributor to her campaigns and the Democratic Party. If you really believe that democrats have the best interests of citizens in mind, you're obviously delusional.
Mon, 10/24/2016 - 1:03pm
Well, for starters, the state as a whole is in better financial shape than it was when Granholm left office, and state government has moved from the "rob Peter to pay Paul" mindset into one where revenues actually are sufficient to cover expenditures. The Snyder administration has made some moves I don't agree with, but he has been a far better governor than either Granholm or Engler. I have lived in the UP for 25 years, and we are better off in so many ways than we were a few years ago. Yes, we still have economic issues here, but things are steadily improving. Places like Ontonagon County are so physically and economically isolated that they will struggle no matter what party is in control. Smurfit-Stone didn't close because a Republican was elected governor, it closed because of the economic realities of doing business in an area so far removed from markets combined with the fragile state of the US paper industry in general.
Tue, 10/18/2016 - 6:05pm
I feel sorry for all of the"educated idiots" that haven't been taught true history in this state and country !!!!
Bob Garver
Tue, 10/18/2016 - 8:30pm
Bill you are the problem you live 100% on the government dole whatever the reason no one else pays it but the rest of us. If you really want to help society man up and get off the dole and get a job! You're like so much of society, everyone wants something for themselves but they don't want to pay for it ! As Mitt would say"a 47%er.
Mon, 10/24/2016 - 12:35pm
Did you miss the part where he and his wife have purchased a small business and are working to make it profitable? Or the part about the high unemployment rate in Ontonagon County?
Tue, 10/18/2016 - 10:10pm
I appreciate this article. However, like so many other stories where Trump supporters are interviewed, it doesn't ask follow-up questions when interviewees make statements that contradict the facts -- like claiming that he has "strong leadership in business." Ask for examples. Ask if they are aware of his many spectacular business failures and bankruptcies, and what they think of that. When someone says Trump has balls, ask him to DEFINE that. And when the platitudes come out -- like how America needs to return to how our forefathers wanted it to be, or how we need to restore the Constitution -- push them to explain what they mean, explicitly. I'm guessing there's a lot of racial resentment behind a lot of these folks' stances, plus generalized fear of changing demographics and the loss of white privilege. But you won't get to the root of their Trumpism without digging deeper. Ask why. Then ask why again. And again. It's only when they're pushed to express what really motivates them that we can get the full picture.
Michael Kiella
Wed, 10/19/2016 - 12:43am
Thank you, Shoe.... There is a technique used in analysis and evaluation to investigate events to identify causative factors called 5 Why...or 5-W. The response to each question is followed by the question why. A respondent must assess and answer the question why, to five levels of inquiry. I wish journalists and truly interested persons would have the patience to use this technique; there is so much rich information revealed as the responses drill-down. Cheers!
Wed, 10/19/2016 - 10:09am
Yes! I worked for a Japanese automotive supplier where 5 Why was standard practice. Maybe it should be taught in journalism school. Very much needed now. Thanks, Michael.
Fri, 10/21/2016 - 1:03pm
MIchael, The reality is that asking the five Whys isn't about patience, it is about the desire/persistence of finding the facts. I wish the FBI Director Comey had learned how to use the 5 whys. My greatest fear is that the inside 'elite' are above the system you describe and they will never let anyone ask the 5 Whys about what they do. 'I fell and can't recall' must be their new line when being questioned by the FBI, for the Director of the FBI buys it.
Carrie Mullins
Thu, 11/03/2016 - 7:24pm
How much room do you think there is for an article like this in any publication? Ted was very kind to me, inquisitive and he did ask for clarification. I feel he is a consummate journalist. Do you really need clarification on Trump's "strong leadership in business?" His business EMPIRE (worth BILLIONS) isn't good enough for you to believe he has strong leadership and business skills? Have you been living under a rock? Business comes with ups and downs. Yes, there were bankruptcies (LEGAL - I might add). That's just good decision making. Hillary breaks laws (lying under oath is just one instance - I don't have enough room for all of them), Trump uses them; there's a difference. Do you really need a definition for "balls?" He has taken on the establishment. He says what he thinks, political correctness be damned. I'm sick of liars like Obama and Hillary telling us one thing and delivering nothing. "Balls," it's a colloquialism, get over it. If you don't know that our Fore-Fathers created a Constitutional Republic, you obviously need a history lesson. If you don't know what a Constitutional Republic is, you're probably a "college educated" Democrat. This is NOT a democracy. The loudest whiners and complainers don't get to win. Fairness, Justice, and Inalienable Rights belong to every legal citizen. Our Founding Fathers never intended for government positions to become life long careers (30+ years for Hillary). Trump is not from the establishment. The establishment doesn't like Trump. On the subject of "what our founding fathers intended" - welfare was never on the table in the beginning. Currently, those of us that vote Republican even though we get government assistance want a Hand UP, not a hand out. The people who want to sit on their ass and get rewarded for doing nothing vote Democrat. There is NO "racial resentment" in this article or in anyone's comments in this article. This country's problems have nothing to do with race as there is only ONE RACE, the Human Race. This is a nation of laws. Someone who commits a crime is a criminal regardless of their age, ethnicity, gender, weight, height, religion, etc., etc., etc. Democrats always bring in the "race" card. It makes it look like they are on the side of the minorities, but all they do is make policies that keep the minorities down. 'Give them their hand out and they will vote for you.' What really motivates me? Pride in my country. Pride in my work. Doing what I love to do. Keeping what I earn and having the opportunity to earn more. I abhor the redistribution of wealth. I abhor the limitations put upon the people by both the left and right. I abhor sending money to people that hate us. I abhor waste. It's time to clean house and focus on AMERICA.
Wed, 10/19/2016 - 1:53am
Unfortunately most Trumpsters are hurting financially, feeling neglected and abused by their State and National politicians who don't serve their basic needs and instead are guided and financially supported by big business. Most Republican Politicians don't fairly represent and vote supporting their constituents on issues that would benefit them. People of every race and creed and financial status feel frustrated by politicians who just don't care about those who voted them in once they are elected. Voters are also at fault if they don't vent and pin down their political representative's position and reasoning on issues important to them. We can no longer sit on the sideline and just complain instead we must hold our elected representatives responsible to hold our needs first. Thats why we elected them. Everyone must be held responsible for their small and large actions. Every spectrum of America Society feels frustration when politicians don't do the right thing for their people. So if you don't get out and vote in November you lose the right to complain. Simple huh.
Wed, 10/19/2016 - 12:06pm
"We have Hillary saying we are going to have an executive order and ban weapons." This fact that guy actually believes this makes me sad for him and angry at those who feed and perpetuate lies like this. What other lies have this man and his neighbors accepted as truth? The people in rural areas have many good reasons to feel lost and left behind, but in addition to what's real in the world, they are fed -- and believe! -- lies that make them even more miserable.
Kevin Grand
Thu, 10/20/2016 - 12:27pm
"Lies", eh? Let's go to straight to the horse's mouth on that one, shall we?"Circling back around on guns as a follow up to the Friday morning discussion: the Today show has indicated they definitely plan to ask bout guns, and so to have the discussion be more of a news event than her previous times discussing guns, we are going to background reporters tonight on a few of the specific proposals she would support as President - universal background checks of course, but also closing the gun show loophole by executive order and imposing manufacturer liability."Next...
Thu, 10/20/2016 - 8:38pm
Where's the banning of weapons in your comment? It's not going to happen? Next...
Kevin Grand
Fri, 10/21/2016 - 11:04am
Well, you can either go , or you can re-read what was posted above. A straight out ban would have the flight potential of a cement truck. She know it. Her handlers know it. The strategy she is using is to attack a fundamental right piecemeal...think seat-belt law.
Kevin Grand
Fri, 10/21/2016 - 11:06am
Let me try that again... Well, you can either go here, or you can re-read what was posted above. A straight out ban would have the flight potential of a cement truck. She know it. Her handlers know it. The strategy she is using is to attack a fundamental right piecemeal…think seat-belt law.
Fri, 10/21/2016 - 1:46pm
d, I know you are more appreciative of the sutblies than clinging to the idea that Hillary would order an outright ban. She would be much more like NYC's Bloomberg attempt to restrict the size of soft drink people would be allowed to order, no ban on soft drinks but much more difficult to satisfy a thirst the way they want to. It would be similar to the Obamacare model, make claims about making things better with the private marketplace and when those claims fail replace the marketplace with government entitlement. Each is not direct, but each works to the same result. Freedom to chose is only what is allowed by the system controlled by the inter-sanctum. The easiest challenge to people that see an the ultimate planned result is to challenge where did they read that, rather than asking why do they believe that or why are they concerned about that. Wordy again, but trying.
Ruth Briggs
Sun, 10/23/2016 - 2:31am
Closing the gun show loophole means doing background checks on people who buy guns at gun shows; it doesn't mean banning guns outright. She has never said she would ban the purchase of guns and there was nothing in Kevin's quote that said that.
Mon, 10/24/2016 - 12:42pm
All background checks do is create another loophole for law-abiding citizens to jump through. Those who can't pass a background check will find another way to get a gun -- steal one, buy it on the street, etc. The smokescreen of expanded background checks, closing the gun show "loophole," etc., is the start of an incremental effort to decimate the Second Amendment.
Mon, 10/24/2016 - 12:44pm
Sorry, first sentence should have said "hoop" rather than loophole. Always check to make sure brain is engaged before hitting "post."
Sun, 10/23/2016 - 6:16am
The guy living on the government dole 'cause he has 'bad knees' is kneeling in front of a Trump sign? I'll stop reading right there. Folks, get off your lazy rears, get an education and help yourself. Don't expect the government to support you.
Sun, 10/23/2016 - 8:51am
Why do the people most severely affected by the policies of the tea party and ultra-wealthy, (anti-union, jobs sent overseas, reducing safety net programs, etc.) keep voting for them?
Keith Root
Sun, 10/23/2016 - 11:55am
The people in the U.P. haven't voted for a democrat in many decades . Why would anybody expect anything different now ?
Sun, 10/23/2016 - 12:07pm
My grandfather and his brother left Iowa in the '30s and all they knew..farming , because as he told me " they could stay and starve or look for a better life" They came to Lansing and worked along with their oldest sons. They ended up in skilled trades, grandpa always said as we drove thru East Lansing "I built that" pointing out the new dorms going up after WW2. People need to quit waiting for the '50s to come back and get some 21st century skills. I always remembered his words during tough times in my life and got up and got busy finding a better way. No better savior for your life than the one in your mirror.
William Plumpe
Sun, 10/23/2016 - 12:22pm
I'm a man and I have "balls". The biological kind between my legs and the courage and resolve to do things. However, Mr. Trump's kind of "balls" is not necessarily a good thing. Being courageous in the face of danger and uncertainty after thinking things out and doing proper planning is one thing but acting in a brash and undisciplined manner because you think you know everything is not courageous but foolhardy. That is what training, training, training is all about in the military. Be courageous but try your best not to do anything really stupid. Trump is not courageous in the first sense but rather is foolhardy and stupid. Trump has no real plan and his attempts at a "plan" are not reasonable or well thought out but designed more to "sell his brand" to his supporters and sympathizers--- Trump is no better than the typical hard charging and obnoxious in your face salesman. I don't think his type of reckless courage would really work in the White House or on the battlefield. Trump has not trained to be President and has no experience in public service or government. And just because Trump "speaks his mind" doesn't make him courageous or his ideas smart and practical. Just because Trump says what people want to hear--- just like the typical politician---doesn't mean what he says is necessarily true or a good idea. In fact many of his ideas are stupid even dangerous. And the type of emotions that Trump's rhetoric arouses--- fear, uncertainty and hatred---while great motivators are not good emotions to use to make critical decisions or to run the most powerful country in the world. And is it really a good idea to foster hate, uncertainty and anger? I sure don't think so. It just aggravates the problem and increases the divisiveness. And even worse Trump has no really noble purpose but cares only for himself. Trump doesn't really give a damn about America or Americans. Being President is not a dog and pony show, a popularity contest or a reality TV show but serious business and a good deal of public service. Trump may know about shady back room real estate deals and reality TV shows and beauty pageants and making products overseas but he knows nothing about running a government or serving the public. Trump only cares about Trump and nobody and nothing else. Trump as President would be a huge mistake, the biggest electoral error America has ever made.
Sun, 10/23/2016 - 9:50pm
Of the two major candidates - based our past 7 plus years I am willing vote for the jerk than incompetent fibber.
Mon, 10/24/2016 - 12:47pm
Incompetent fibber? I would suggest morally bankrupt, incompetent, corrupt, pathological liar. And I am no fan of Trump either.
John S.
Mon, 10/24/2016 - 7:28pm
There's need for those who support Trump and feel like they've been left behind to ask themselves a question that almost all must find an answer to: What can I do to be useful to other people and not just myself? Those who hang on in rural areas left behind by post-industrial society and not on government welfare have found an answer to that question. They may not have high incomes, but the cost of living is lower and there are other pluses to living in rural areas. Rural residents themselves likely have the best ideas for promoting economic development where they live. Experts on economic development can furnish useful information to would be entrepreneurs and help them in getting off to a good start with their ideas.
Bernadine Bennett
Wed, 11/09/2016 - 12:39pm
Most of the trouble men get into is because they think with their balls. They should try their brain for a change. Balls only have one function and we don't need that. We/ve already had enough from him.
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