Election 2016: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

By |2016-11-17T09:00:00-05:00November 17th, 2016|Michigan, News|

The impacts of the 2016 election on the local, state and national level are going to be felt for a long time. The results are going to cause both parties to shift — but in uniquely different ways.
Nationally, GOP Nominee Donald Trump is ascending to the presidency leaving Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton wondering what went wrong. And along with Clinton are a whole lot of party leaders and thinkers now scrambling to make sense of a party that was delivered a stinging rebuke in national and statewide elections in 2016.
Trump apparently had coattails, dragging along with him a majority in the U.S. House and barely eeking out a majority in the U.S. Senate. That leaves Democrats in the minority, focused on defense, while the GOP is poised to ram through a series of GOP priorities including the immediate repeal — and some leaders say replacement — of Obamacare. What that might look like, and whether or not provisions of that law mandating coverage for people with pre-existing conditions will remain are unknowns. It could also mean a move by the GOP to stop funding the federal government with continuing resolutions, instead passing a full budget. That would mean the Congress would have to renew some budgetary acts, including Ryan White. It’s unclear if this GOP controlled Congress will renew that act which provides prevention funding, medical care and access to medications to 1.2 million Americans living with HIV.
“I am not hopeful about that,” said Susan Demas, the publisher and editor of Inside Michigan Politics, regarding renewal of Ryan White.
Nor does she see much hope for LGBT equality issues on a national or state level.
“The LGBT community is definitely going to be playing defense,” she said. “There is no offense at this point.”
She pointed to Vice President-Elect Mike Pence, who was serving as Indiana governor, as evidence of how difficult a Trump administration could be on the LGBT community. Pence is “the most anti-gay Republican there is right now,” she said, noting he’s been tapped to set the White House’s domestic policy agenda moving forward.
Meanwhile, in Michigan, there is some good news to report. Three openly gay men will take seats in the State House Jan. 1. Reps. Jon Hoadley, D-Kalamazoo, and Jeremy Moss, D-Southfield, were returned to office by voters; Democrat Tim Sneller from Genesee County will be sworn in as state representative to complete the trio.
Unfortunately the trio will be face a GOP controlled House, with an anti-gay leadership. State Rep. Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, had been elevated to Speaker Pro-Tem of the House. Chatfield ousted former state Rep. Frank Foster two years ago in a primary because of Foster’s support of amending Elliott-Larsen to include sexual orientation. Foster refused to support inclusion of gender identity, which resulted in the legislation dying in committee two years ago.
Demas said, “Anyone who thinks this legislature is going to move on Elliott-Larsen is smoking something.”
Democrats elevated longtime LGBT ally and East Lansing Democrat Sam Singh to the post of minority leader.
But it’s not just the state House that is going to be impacted by the election. The State Board of Education will now include former Republican State Rep. Tom McMillin, a virulently anti-gay lawmaker. Demas said to expect to see the gutting of the controversial new guidance for schools on working with trans students, and “the bathroom bills will come back,” she said.
But in the darkness, there is some light. Voters returned Brian McGrain, an openly gay county commissioner, in Ingham County, and elected Ryan Sebolt, also an openly gay man, to the Commission. In Delta Township, Howard Spence, an Eaton County Commissioner, was re-elected despite an anti-gay slur campaign tied to his right wing opponent.
Voters in the Lansing Community College district — the state’s second largest community college — also elected an openly gay man, Ryan Buck, to serve a six year term on the board.
In Kalamazoo Democrats are celebrating installing openly LGBT people in all levels of government in the community — city, county and state. They’re also excited about the election of three women to the County Commission there.

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