Blog Posts by Grassroots Midwest

No Reason Absentee Voting

No Reason Absentee Voting

Last November voters in Michigan passed two ballot initiatives, Proposals 2 & 3, that changed several areas of state election law and were effectively intended to boost voter participation in elections going forward.  Some of the items were already state law, but...

Michigan’s Municipal Elections Primary Results

Michigan’s Municipal Elections Primary Results

Earlier this year, in June and August, Grassroots Midwest took a look at several municipalities that were gearing up for mayoral and city council races and provided some brief analyses of some races. With the elections behind us now, here is another quick look at...

2020 Election Predictions: Part Two

2020 Election Predictions: Part Two

In last week’s blog post, Grassroots Midwest took a look at two House districts that Democrats must win to take the Majority in the House. In Part 2 of this series, this week we continue our look at 2020 and ask: Can House Democrats win a majority in the Michigan...

2020 Election Predictions: Part One

2020 Election Predictions: Part One

Over the next two blog posts, Grassroots Midwest will take a look at the prospects of whether or not House Democrats have what it takes to flip the majority in the Michigan House of Representatives.  Part 1 is here: With a little over a year to go before the next...

Under Pressure

Under Pressure

Governor Whitmer and the 100th Michigan Legislature have been in office for nine months, and together they don’t have many major legislative accomplishments to show for it. Divided government always provides challenges as well as opportunities, but it is remarkable...

Michigan’s Municipal Election Primary Results

Michigan’s Municipal Election Primary Results

Back in June, Grassroots Midwest took a look at several municipalities that were gearing up for mayoral and city council races on the August primary ballot. With the primary now behind us, let’s take a quick look at who made it and provide an early analysis of what we...

Organized Interest Groups

Organized Interest Groups

“the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”, United State Constitution, Amendment 1   When most Americans read those words in the 1st Amendment to our constitution, they think about a rally - for a...

Michigan’s Municipal Election Highlights

Michigan’s Municipal Election Highlights

Several large communities throughout the state will go to the polls again this August and September to pick municipal leaders. Many of these local elected officials become members of the legislature as state lawmakers reach their constitutional term limit, making...

The Tragedy of Larry Inman

The Tragedy of Larry Inman

Scandals happen in politics. For those of us who work in the political environment, an expectation develops that every so often something untoward will come to light. Federal indictments, on the other hand, are quite a bit more unusual, although not unheard of. The...

Redistricting 2020?

Redistricting 2020?

In a surprise move last month, a three-judge panel for the Court of Appeals unanimously ordered Michigan to draw new legislative district maps by August 1st. Considering the state is already mandated to redraw its legislative districts in time for the 2022 election...

The Future of Polling

The Future of Polling

The world has changed in terms of how we communicate with one another. Twenty years ago, nearly everyone owned a landline. As cell phones became more affordable and texting became more popular, many people, especially those under the age of 40, stopped using...

Michigan 2020: The Road to Re-election for President Donald Trump?

Michigan 2020: The Road to Re-election for President Donald Trump?

As we approach 2020, the hottest topic is President Trump’s reelection odds in Michigan.  While most polling has him down in Michigan and nationally, one can’t take polling as gospel, as that was the overwhelming consensus last cycle. Considering Trump only had a 21%...

Government by Default

Government by Default

I hear it all the time, and you probably do too: ‘I want to make a difference, but I don’t know where to start.’ It’s a common refrain, and mostly the answers people get are unsatisfying. Attending a rally or writing a check to a political cause you care about may...

Fix the Damn Roads?

Fix the Damn Roads?

Governor Whitmer Goes Big True to her word the Governor is attempting to fix the damn roads with a rather bold approach: a 45 cent increase in Michigan’s gas tax, to be phased in over one year.  While others have pitched the idea of phasing this in over nine years,...

What is Grassroots?

What is Grassroots?

We get asked all the time: “What’s grassroots?” We’d better have a good answer, since it’s right in our firm’s name! Let’s start with what grassroots isn’t. There are lots of firms in state capitals that engage in what’s referred to as lobbying or direct advocacy....

Looking Back on 2018, Part 3: What It Means for 2020

Looking Back on 2018, Part 3: What It Means for 2020

Since the Senate is not up until 2022, future speculation about that map and the overall political geography isn’t as important. In 2020 there are only 23 open seats, and only four are potentially competitive. In terms of shifting demographics and the most recent...

Looking Back on 2018, Part 2: Turnout Amongst the Counties

Looking Back on 2018, Part 2: Turnout Amongst the Counties

Following up on my analysis from Part 1 of our 2018 lookback, we’re going to look at turnout statistics for the 2018 general elections by county, compared to prior turnout numbers, to give you a better idea of what happened in the elections as the 2020 presidential...

Looking Back on 2018, Part 1: The Realignment

Looking Back on 2018, Part 1: The Realignment

Now that the smoke has cleared from the last election, we’ve all had time to process what happened, think about what could’ve been different, and start prognosticating what to expect in 2020. The realignment is real, and in the 14 years I’ve worked in politics, I...

A Message from our CEO

A Message from our CEO

2018 was a great year for Grassroots Midwest, and a year of extraordinary changes in Michigan politics and government. 2019 promises to be even more exciting, with key local elections, new leaders at the state and local level working on their agendas, and preparations...

Your 2018 Election Headquarters

Your 2018 Election Headquarters

Welcome to Election Night 2018!   7:45 - As voting wraps up across the state, turnout is trending high across the board. Here’s why that matters: Higher turnout benefits Democrats since Republicans are more consistent voters. Their turnout floor is higher, and...

Decisions, Decisions: Part 2

Decisions, Decisions: Part 2

-Continued from Part 1 In last week’s blog, we highlighted how a public servant’s decisions happen in context, starting with how those decisions affect their constituents as well as their political playing field. This week, we’ll dive deeper. Impact on Political...

Decisions, Decisions: Part 1

Decisions, Decisions: Part 1

You’ve likely heard elected officials referenced with a number of alternative terms: public servants, lawmakers, officeholders, and so on. For most, though, the descriptive value of these words can be questionable. For this reason, journalists and communications...

A Matter of Time

A Matter of Time

“Lost time is never found again.” -Benjamin Franklin It waits for no one. As an ever-dwindling and ultimately finite resource, time plays a critical factor in every campaign. Some considerations deal with internal logistics. How frequently should a campaign hold...

Keeping Score

Keeping Score

Love them or not, sports are an attention-consuming part of our culture. You likely have a friend -- or might be that friend -- who is constantly asking to change the channel to check scores. Web sites and smartphone apps now also exist to tally points and provide...

Our Grand Tradition

Our Grand Tradition

This week, U.S. citizens from coast to coast celebrated the 241st anniversary of our nation’s birth. As with other national holidays, we heed the call to put aside our differences and focus on the grand themes of the season. Every 4th of July is a time for unity,...

Making the Ask

Making the Ask

There’s no way around it; campaigns cost money, and the bigger the campaign, the bigger the bill. Candidates need to raise money to pay for any number of things that may help their chances on election day. We live in a world of Kickstarters and GoFundMe pages that...

‘Musings’: Lessons in Leadership

‘Musings’: Lessons in Leadership

Leadership is an ongoing topic of discussion in professional circles. It’s little wonder that we work to categorically define them; leaders are important in nearly every consequential decision or venture. In talking about leadership, I don’t intend to paint the...

Trending: Campaign Social Media at a Glance

Trending: Campaign Social Media at a Glance

It envelopes our families, our friends, our news, and our lives in general. So it’s hard to imagine that less than 20 years ago, ‘social media’ would’ve been a foreign term to the vast majority of Americans, including those regularly plugged into to the Internet. Back...

On Target

On Target

Campaigning is difficult; not only because of the necessary hours dedicated to executing the fundamentals, but because the biggest hills to climb are ultimately within the minds of the decision makers. The most important considerations are who they are, how they vote,...

New to the Ballot, Part 2: All Kinds of Kinds

New to the Ballot, Part 2: All Kinds of Kinds

We’ve talked about the importance of personal or political participation, as well as the ways to get involved and the basic concerns of running for political office. Ask yourself: Are you interested? Could you actually win? Many who answer ‘yes’ to the first question...

Four Years

Four Years

It all started with some simple ideas: Gather the top political minds from both parties under one roof. Build an organization that can talk effectively to any group or individual. Leverage practical data and the best techniques from across the political spectrum to...

New to the Ballot: A Primer for First-Time Candidates

New to the Ballot: A Primer for First-Time Candidates

Recently, Grassroots Midwest’s Chairman, Dan McMaster, talked about the importance of serving your community as an elected official. In each of us is a potential leader. We’ve had the opportunity to meet with many prospective political candidates, and some of our...

Focus

Focus

In politics, as in life, it is all too easy to get pulled in a million different directions. But just like in life, the more things you try to accomplish at the same time, the less you can apply concentrated effort to the things that really matter. In an electoral...

Too Close for Comfort

Too Close for Comfort

For the invested observer, the eve of an election or major vote can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. News media, internet tracking systems and massive watch parties stack the tension of each and every moment leading up to the next big decision for our state or...

‘Musings’: Making Yourself Matter, Part 2

‘Musings’: Making Yourself Matter, Part 2

Last week, we touched on some initial ways to get more personally involved in the field of politics. Now, let’s talk about the deeper, ongoing commitments: Do your homework. There’s a lot of information out there that can help you reach your goals. Are you trying to...

‘Musings’: Making Yourself Matter, Part 1

‘Musings’: Making Yourself Matter, Part 1

For many Americans, our political system may seem immensely frustrating. Those they elect to represent them can seem far away and disconnected from the concerns of their everyday lives. Most people feel that they have very little influence on all levels of government....

Numbers Matter

Numbers Matter

You’ve got the passion. You’ve got the work ethic. You’ve got the support. You’ve got a great cause. Victory, you’re assured, is simply a matter of time and drive. We live in a society that loves to dream and embraces positive change. Our nation’s popular culture...

‘Musings’: On Form Letters

‘Musings’: On Form Letters

As we move further into the 21st century, our means of communication have evolved. We value efficiency above all else. This is especially important in politics. When you can’t physically engage your voters, craft an effective message and distribute it to your focused...

‘Musings’: From the Other Side

‘Musings’: From the Other Side

Lately it seems like every time I go back and visit my hometown, someone starts talking about politics. I don’t think this is because of my career. These days you can barely leave your own home without stumbling on political news. Everyone is engaged in it one way or...

The Moral of the Story: Political Branding, Part 2

The Moral of the Story: Political Branding, Part 2

It's common in Michigan’s political scene to share stories of the success and failure of close elections and ballot measures. Observers pontificate on what went wrong, what went right, and where the challenges were. Post-election season is prime time for politicos to...

Longest Job Interview Ever: Political Branding, Part 1

Longest Job Interview Ever: Political Branding, Part 1

Most of us have been on the job interview circuit, competing for a job we want. Though we emphasize how our resume fits each role we seek, the most critical component for success in a job hunt is not a series of concrete credentials; those just get you in the door....

The Bipartisan Approach

The Bipartisan Approach

We talk about it all the time. With each passing month, partisanship swells in waves, dividing lawmakers and their public policy recommendations along thin, hard lines. To many, our two-party gap is the natural order. Sometimes even before a case is laid out or the...

Wanted: Tomorrow’s Political Candidates

Wanted: Tomorrow’s Political Candidates

Good governance starts locally. As a longtime student of Michigan politics, I’ve grown familiar with the seasonal arrival of candidates eager to serve their local communities. And, as co-founder and partner at Grassroots Midwest, I’ve personally helped many of them to...

The War of the Words: Communicating with Real People Pt 2

The War of the Words: Communicating with Real People Pt 2

I love words. Words are great! We have the best words. The very best, I assure you. They have power. They win elections. They can be simple and direct. Or they can be complexly constructed to confuse even the most coherent concept completely. Words are magic.  ...

Staying Afloat – With Our Help!

Staying Afloat – With Our Help!

Success in public relations, policy, and political campaigns all rely on accurately reading the terrain and plotting a course. Staying aware of news media and policy trends - and using that to make preparations - is as critical as it is time-consuming. Moreover,...

On Uncommon Ground: Communicating with Real People, Part 1

On Uncommon Ground: Communicating with Real People, Part 1

Nobody talks anymore. Yeah, we throw words around and make a lot of noise, but we don’t actually communicate. We used to. We used to listen to each other. We used to ask how someone was doing looking for an honest answer. But those days are gone. We don’t talk with...

Looking Ahead to 2018: Statewide Midterm Elections in the Trump Era

Looking Ahead to 2018: Statewide Midterm Elections in the Trump Era

As we start this new year, preparations for the 2018 elections are already starting to take shape. It is too early to say what 2018 will bring us, and if 2016 taught us anything, it’s to assume nothing. President-Elect Donald Trump ran an unorthodox campaign that flew...

Thank You – From the Partners

Thank You – From the Partners

We wanted to say thank you. During the holiday season, we often take the time to sit back and reflect on all that has been made possible by the goodness and faith of others. When we sit back and think about how far we’ve come as a company, we’re amazed by how many...

5 Apps for Finding Balance as a Young Professional

5 Apps for Finding Balance as a Young Professional

**This post originally appeared in the Public Relations Society of America, New Professional Section blog under the title " 5 Apps New Pros Need to Successfully Navigate Adulting"** I’ve been somewhat successfully navigating the professional realm for about eleven...

6 Characteristics of Effective Social Media Graphics

6 Characteristics of Effective Social Media Graphics

As we continue to navigate our lives online, the ways we connect people continue to change. It is more important than ever to have an engaging digital presence to interact with your followers. A critical part of this is utilizing effective graphics. Social media...

Making Sense of the Scribbles

Making Sense of the Scribbles

Working through data is just like the beginnings of a doodle. The journey starts with an absent-minded scribble. Moving randomly with no particular direction, chaotic and abstract at the same time. Moving up and down and right and left. You have no idea what you’re...

So You Just Lost Your Election, Now What?

So You Just Lost Your Election, Now What?

I'm sorry you lost the election. Just because you didn’t get that sweet cushy chair in the big marble mansion doesn’t mean you still can’t make all those votes count. It’s time to ditch those sweatpants and get back to work. “But where do I go from here?” you may...

Trump Wave Hits Michigan, and The Road Ahead

Trump Wave Hits Michigan, and The Road Ahead

Last night, for the first time in 28 years,  the Republican nominee for President won Michigan. It was  also about 28 years ago that I first became aware of Donald Trump when his Trump Board Game covered the shelves at department stores all across the country. It...

Road to Majority – Who will control the Michigan Legislature?

Road to Majority – Who will control the Michigan Legislature?

Currently, Michigan House Republicans hold 63 of 110 House seats. Based on my analysis of the race for the majority in the House, the Democratic and Republican caucuses each start tonight with about 47 safe seats, barring something completely unforeseen. That means...

Coalition Building in 7 Easy Steps

Coalition Building in 7 Easy Steps

It’s great to bring people together to achieve a common goal, and that’s what coalition building is all about. Everyone and anyone is capable of doing it, but it has to be done right. At Grassroots Midwest, we’ve built and managed coalitions for various organizations...

5 Halloween Costumes to Parody the 2016 Presidential Election

5 Halloween Costumes to Parody the 2016 Presidential Election

By Lance Engels | Halloween is quickly approaching and for (most of) us who are procrastinators, you might be scrambling for the perfect last minute costume. In this year’s circus of a presidential election, no one should hold back when it comes to creating the...