I first met Elissa Slotkin a few months ago when we sat down to chat about the potential of her running for Congress to replace the corporate shill Mike Bishop in Michigan’s 8th Congressional District. I came away VERY impressed.
I have written about Bishop’s desire to “create an environment [in Michigan] where…labor costs are low”, how he has been bought and paid for by multi-millionaire developer Matty Moroun, wants to eliminate the Department of Education, and how, while he was the state Senate Majority Leader, he worked closely with Foreclosure King David Trott to help rig laws to benefit Trott’s foreclosure business. So, I’ve been eager for a great candidate to emerge in the 8th District to replace this odious excuse for a Congressman for a long time.
Elissa Slotkin may be that candidate.
First, Slotkin has a background that uniquely prepares her to be a member of Congress. She’s a third generation Michigander who went to graduate school at Columbia University and was then recruited out of college to join the Central Intelligence Agency as a Middle East analyst. She deployed to Baghdad to serve alongside our country’s soldiers and diplomats and served three tours in Iraq, working under Presidents Bush and Obama in various defense and intelligence roles at the White House, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the State Department. While in Iraq, she met her future husband, a Colonel in the U.S. Army with a 30-year career who served as an Apache helicopter pilot in the first Gulf War, Korea, and Kosovo, and who served two tours during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
What became immediately apparent to me is that Slotkin has a keen grip on both what it will take to defeat Bishop and what the Democratic Party’s message needs to look like to win in light of the results of the 2016 election. She clearly learned the lesson that an almost exclusively negative campaign that highlights the glaring faults of your opponent isn’t going to win seats for Democrats. It’s a bitter irony that Republicans can get away with 2-dimensional, shallow campaigns that are highly negative but Democrats are expected to have actual policy answers and to “be nice”. But that is precisely where we find ourselves.
Slotkin’s approach is best demonstrated by her first campaign ad. It’s an example of how Democrats should be running for Congress in this election cycle. She never once mentions Bishop in her opening salvo. However, she hits on major themes that make it clear that she holds politicians like Bishop in great disdain. Talking about elected officials who refuse to work on behalf of the needs of their constituents to make their lives better, she says, “that is not service, it’s selfishness”. “The attack on the American Dream,” she says in the ad, “Is our nation’s biggest crisis.”
But it’s not just these broad themes that “things aren’t right.” Slotkin also shares her populist vision for what things SHOULD look like and lifts up America as a place that is good and decent and has its best days yet to come, an affirmation of our strength when we work together.
Perhaps the highlight of the ad is when she talks about how personal saving the Affordable Care Act is for her. Her mother passed away from cancer in 2011 after having spent many years without healthcare insurance that may have helped he live a longer life. Slotkin was forced to write checks for thousands and thousands of dollars just to get her mother the tests she needed during her treatment. Bishop’s giddy response to having signed the House version of Trumpcare was the final straw for her, pushing her to get into the race. Have a listen:
Here’s the whole ad and it’s very much worth at watch:
You can listen to an extended interview we did with Elissa Slotkin on our podcast The Sit and Spin Room with LOLGOP & Eclectablog last week (HERE or on iTunes HERE). Follow her on Twitter at @ElissaSlotkin and check out her website at ElissaForCongress.com.
But most importantly, please make a donation to Elissa’s MI-08 campaign HERE. This is a flippable seat, especially if we support a candidate like Elissa Slotkin.