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The politics of Trump, the Courser scandal, and ending homelessness

Aug 12, 2015

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Michigan Radio’s senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry and Morning Edition host Christina Shockley discuss Donald Trump's latest trip to Michigan, a sex scandal, and a plan to end homelessness.

Trump in town

He’s still going, and last night Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke in Michigan at a fundraiser for the Saginaw and Genesee County Republican Parties. He didn’t attack women, but he did go after Mexicans, which Lessenberry says has become par for the course. Lessenberry says Trump and his supporters “went away with a warm feeling” after supporters enjoyed Trump’s belittling of Jeb Bush.

Lessenberry calls Trump a “spiritual heir of George Wallace and Ross Perot.” But although voters often like a brash and seemingly honesty candidate, says Lessenberry, we still don’t know how far his antics will take him in the election process.

An affair to remember

State Representatives Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat have found themselves in the middle of an ever growing scandal. The allegations include using staff to try and cover up an affair. Courser is also accused of lying about drinking, drugs, and sex with a prostitute to cover up the affair, but he says he won’t resign.

Lessenberry says the Republicans want Courser gone more than the Democrats, and they can’t make him quit but they could throw him out. The real question now is whether he tried to use an aid in his cover-up, but this scandal presents a bigger problem, says Lessenberry.

“The bad thing I suppose is that this will distract attention from the legislature doing any meaningful work until it’s over.”

Pledges for homelessness

Five Michigan cities have made a pledge to end veteran and chronic homelessness by 2016. They are Ann Arbor, Royal Oak, Pontiac, Flint, and Detroit.  It looks like three: Ann Arbor, Pontiac, and Royal Oak could actually do it, but Lessenberry doesn’t think so. Although they are making strides, eliminating all homelessness is very difficult, says Lessenberry, and it depends on things like economic downturns and how they are defining chronic homelessness.

“It seems to me it would be very very difficult to eliminate all of it…It’s a worthy goal but it’s hard to believe they will be totally successful,” he explains.

Michigan Radio Newsroom - Cheyna Roth