Chrysler retiree creates homemade sign for Trump

Detroit News staff

Hand-made political signs are as old as the republic, but Ronald and Dianna Miller’s sign on the front lawn of their home in Stockbridge stands out along M-52 in rural Ingham County.

“These Retired Union Members are Voting for Donald Trump for President of the United States of America,” the six-foot-wide sign reads.

Ronald Miller is a retired Chrysler employee who was a member of the United Auto Workers for 30 years, serving as the union’s health and safety representative at the Chrysler Proving Grounds in Chelsea. His wife is a retired school bus driver and was a member of the Michigan Education Association, the powerful school employees’ union.

One of the great unknowns about this election is whether union members and retirees will heed the advice of their leaders and vote for Democratic presidential Hillary Clinton or revolt and cast ballots for Trump. The Republican nominee’s message on trade and the economy has resonated with blue-collar workers.

Ronald Miller says he’s been a lifelong ticket-splitter but plans to vote all Republican in November because he believes Democrats like President Barack Obama and Clinton are “leading our country down the wrong path.”

“I think we need a change in this country, and it’s not necessarily that I think Donald is the savior,” Miller said.

In addition to the pro-Trump yard sign, Miller has a decal on the rear window of the topper on his white Dodge truck that reads: “In 2016, many union members, retired and working, are voting Republican. Do we need to explain why?”

He says he’s trying to get the attention of union leaders.

“I think they’ve gone too far into politics,” Miller said. “I’m just trying to send a message.”

Moore: ‘Trump can win’

Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore doesn’t want Donald Trump to win the presidency.

But the Davison native says he understands why Trump’s outsider candidacy is so attractive to some voters in the industrial Midwest.

“Across Michigan, across the Rust Belt, I understand why a lot of people are angry,” Moore said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet The Press.” “And they see Donald Trump as their human Molotov cocktail that they get to go into the voting booth on Nov. 8 and throw him into a political system that has made their lives miserable.”

Moore said his fellow Democrats need to stop their early victory celebrations.

“Everybody needs to have their game face on here and realize that Trump can win, he can pull this off and everybody has to be at full force here,” he said. “... I take this seriously now. Trump is just not comedy to me.”

Spinning ‘Novey’ error

Last week, Donald Trump’s campaign sent Republican voters in Oakland County a robo call featuring Ivanka Trump and an unidentified woman who mispronounced Novi, the site of Trump’s rally last Friday.

The woman pronounced the suburb as “Novey,” The News reported.

Scott Hagerstrom, state director of Donald Trump’s campaign, acknowledged no one from the national campaign called him to check the proper pronunciation of Novi.

But Hagerstrom took a page out of his boss’s playbook, contending all news is good news.

“Sometimes mistakes are made, but we got an extra article out of it and promotion for the event,” Hagerstrom said on WKAR-TV’s “Off The Record.”

The campaign, Hagerstrom said, is “very fast-moving, there’s a lot going on.”

“We’re very happy where we are in the state of Michigan — the momentum’s on our side,” said Hagerstrom, who predicted Trump will defeat Hillary Clinton by 3 percentage points.

Long shot visits Ann Arbor

Evan McMullin, a former CIA agent who has mounted a long-shot independent campaign for president, visited Ann Arbor last Thursday for a private fundraiser.

The 40-year-old Virginia man is not on the ballot in Michigan, but he is certified to be a write-in candidate.

McMullin, a former policy director for U.S. House Republicans, is trying to capitalize on Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton being the most unpopular major party presidential candidates in modern American history.

“Voters on both sides of the aisle are looking for something else,” he said in a telephone interview.

In his six weeks on the campaign trail, McMullin also is trying to combat the notion that voting for him would be a wasted vote.

“For a long time, the two major parties and incumbent candidates have sold us this idea that our votes are not as valuable as they actually are. They tell us we need to only cast votes for people who essentially come from one of the two major parties,” McMullin said.

“We’re being told we have to choose between the lesser of two evils,” he added. “We fundamentally have to reject that notion or we’ll never get the kind of leaders we need to get this country back on track.”

U-D Jesuit alum’s debate gig

Washington University in St. Louis is the site of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s second debate of the presidential election on Sunday night.

And like the first bout, getting the debate hall is limited to a couple hundred of Clinton and Trump’s guests, mostly their family, friends, campaign donors and supporters.

Livonia native Stephen Huber, a senior at Washington University, is among the handful of students who will get into debate hall during the 90-minute town hall event at 9 p.m. Sunday.

Huber, a senior double majoring in finance and supply chain management, is attending the debate on a media credential as senior photo editor of Student Life, the university’s student newspaper.

The campus of the private university in Missouri’s second-largest city has been abuzz this week as security barriers are constructed and the news media sets up camp, Huber said.

“It’s making some students a little nervous because of all of the security because of the high-profile candidates,” said Huber, a 2013 graduate of the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy.

Last week, Huber got an early tour of the debate hall and green room where Trump and Clinton will prepare to go on stage.

“I realized as I was standing in the green room, I’m standing in the same room that the next president of the United States is going to be standing in, no matter the result,” Huber said.

Paul Ryan touts Yooper cred

“Go Packers!” U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan said Monday as he entered a Republican office in Traverse City to stump for Jack Bergman, a congressional candidate in Michigan’s 1st district that also includes all of the Upper Peninsula.

The Wisconsin Republican, who grew up about three-and-a-half hours from the peninsular border, engaged in playful ribbing as he suggested local GOP volunteers wearing yellow stickers were doing so in an act of “solidarity” with his home state Green Bay football team.

“You know Yoopers are pretty much Packers fans,” Ryan said. “I spent my childhood going up to the U.P. in February from where I lived in Janesville, Wisconsin.”

The 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee then turned his attention to Lower Peninsula football, highlighting recent games between Michigan schools and the University of Wisconsin.

“We almost got the Wolverines on Saturday,” he said, prompting a shout of “Go Blue!” from the crowd. “The Big Ten is here to stay, I’ll tell you, we are strong this year. I see the Spartans -- that went pretty well for us.”

“O.K., now that I’ve insulted everybody in this room,” Ryan said to laughs before getting down to business and talking Congress.

Later in his speech, Ryan referred to “Michiganders” and requested input on a long-running debate. The Detroit News, for the record, refers to residents as Michiganians.

“I say Michigander but somebody told me Michiganian,” he said, noting advice from U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Tipton. “That’s wrong, right? Michiganders.”

Contributors: Chad Livengood and Jonathan Oosting