Michigan’s John James joined me this morning:
HH: I’m very excited. My underdog candidate for 2018 is John James of Michigan where he’s running for Senate against the invisible Debbie Stabenow. This West Point graduate, combat attack helicopter Apache pilot in Iraq, graduate of the University of Michigan Business School, job generator and charismatic person, when he wins, I’m going to tell everyone I got him on the radio first. John James, welcome back. How are you, my friend?
JJ: Hi, I’m doing great, Hugh. Thank you so much for having me back on.
HH: Talk to us a little bit about the sense of momentum in the race and where you think you are with six days to go.
JJ: Well, you know, it started with running out of 5,000 yard signs in a matter of three and a half weeks. In fact, this past, it started by closing a 23 point gap in the primary, winning by 10 points. It started by God and our grassroots army really out to the polls and really taking that momentum through the primary into the general. Right now, we are in a situation right now where we’ve doubled Stabenow in fundraising in quarter three. I was $3.6 million to her $1.8 million. From October 1st to October 17th, we outraised her four to one, raising an additional $2 million dollars to her $471,000. We’ve closed the polls in the general from 23 points down again to 6 points down just this past Friday. We have the momentum, because we have the grassroots enthusiasm. And I need your listeners in Michigan coming out in full force this next Tuesday. And for your listeners outside the state, please reach out to anyone that you know here in Michigan. If you’re lucky enough to know Michiganders, please implore them to vote. Implore them to get 10 people to vote. And if you want to learn more about my candidacy, please go to www.johnjamesforsenate.com. We’re going to win this race.
HH: Now I am on Detroit right now. We have a good audience in Detroit. I’m on in Grand Rapids right now. I’m on in Hillsdale right now. I’m on in the Upper Peninsula right now. And I want people to go to that website, www.johnjamesforsenate.com and contribute, because getting up on TV in these last three days, if people see you in your flight suit, John James, I mean, if they know what you’ve done, would you, for the benefit of our, we just picked up two new affiliates, honest to goodness, two new affiliates in Delaware yesterday. They will not have known the John James story. Would you give us the brief bio including your combat experience after you got out of West Point?
JJ: Sure, but before that, I have to tell you my wife was pretty proud of me for still fitting in that flight suit. So that was a major accomplishment.
JJ: So, but about the flight suit, I left Detroit, was raised in Detroit in the city, went to West Point, graduate from West Point in 2004, became a Ranger-qualified Apache pilot and flew 750 hours combat in Operation Iraqi Freedom, ’07-’09. And I was really disturbed by the situation that I saw back home, in fact, while I was in a combat zone. Areas of Detroit, Flint, Saginaw, Benton Harbor, Muskegon, Marquette, areas of home that in many cases looked worse than the combat zone I was flying in during the Great Recession. I decided to come back home to do what I could to create economic opportunity back here, create jobs. So I came back, joined a family business, an automotive logistics provider in Detroit, and was able to help grow the business from $35 million to $137 million, and added over 100 jobs in Michigan and around the country. I believe having a combat veteran on the floor of the U.S. Senate who understands national security from the strategic to a tactical standpoint, but somebody who also understands veterans issues as too many of us are fighting our toughest battles after we get off the battlefield, is essential. But also, having a business leader, somebody who’s signed the front and the back of checks, somebody who understands how to create jobs in the real world, somebody who understands how to grow our economy, and somebody who understands that Washington is sapping the innovation and the resources by the overburdens of regulation and taxation, and that the federal government just needs to stay out of the way in most cases, we need that type of balance on the floor of the U.S. Senate. And I’m looking forward to serving again.
HH: Now John James, the only thing that scares me about you is that if you win, you might inspire Harbaugh and team to actually win in the Shoe this year where Ohio State’s won 13 out of the last 14. I put that online, and a lot of Ohio State people say how can you be rooting for a Michigan guy, and I said this is the Michigan guy. Here’s my very blunt question. You’re an African-American. Detroit has been represented by Debbie Stabenow, overwhelmingly African-American community, by Debbie Stabenow, as was Flint, for I don’t know, 100 years. She’s done nothing for them. What is the black vote doing in this race? Are they coming home to John James?
JJ: Well, that’s the thing. We recognize and realize that we have a lot of work to do. But I don’t have a black message or a white message. I have a red, white and blue message. And this is a message that is steeped in my values – faith and family, God and country, and service before self. I was raised by parents who were born in the Jim Crow South. And my father lived directly across the street from Mississippi State University and couldn’t go there, because he was black. But he refused to accept dependency as his destiny. He came up to Michigan where it was the birthplace of the middle class, the home of the American dream, and started a trucking company with one truck, one trailer and no excuses. And when I tell that story, when I go back into the church that I was raised in, when I go and I talk to black businesses around Detroit and Flint and areas around here, and I remind folks that Detroit is the most segregated city in the nation, we have become the Jim Crow North. And that has been, that’s something that people forget. And I believe that when I talk to people and when I engage them one on one, they see the issue. But I will tell you what. I went to a Pistons game this past week with my wife. And as soon as I got out of the car, the African-American ticket seller pulled me aside and said he was voting for me. I got to the arena, the lady who was sweeping up the popcorn said she was voting for me. The man who was behind the hot dog stand said he was voting for me. And those are the people who they’re not polling. I’m telling you that we’re going to win this thing, because the invisible people of Michigan are going to be voting for me. I truly believe this message resonates with everyone regardless of what they look like on the outside.
HH: You know, if you’re willing to go to a Pistons game, you’re really a dedicated candidate. Now John James, I want to play for you, Eddie Glaude is a friend of mine. He’s an African-American professor at Princeton, but he went on with my friend, Stephanie Ruhle, yesterday, and he said an outrageous thing about the President who has raised the issue of birthright citizenship, which is probably what the 14th Amendment demands, that’s my view of it, but it’s not conclusively. It’s never been ruled on. This is what Eddie Glaude said to Stephanie Ruhle yesterday. Gentlemen, play the cut.
EG: It works politically, but I do, because it means something. Citizenship in this country has always been tied to free white persons since the Naturalization Act of 1790. So when he invokes this question of immigration and you say it plays with the Republican base, it’s all about a certain conception of whiteness. This idea of whiteness that has led to 11 people being dead in Pittsburgh.
SR: Two people in a Kroger Grocery Store last week.
EG: Two people in…so here we are after the carnage, and this man, this moral monster, is playing to those base instincts. I don’t want to play the political game with regards to that. I know what the 14th Amendment was all about. It was passed in 1868. It was part of the Reconstruction Amendments. It has everything to do with the abolishment of slavery. It has everything to do with making us being able to have citizenship, and it has everything to do with part of the second founding of the country. Donald Trump, go read the Second Inaugural.
HH: So John James, Eddie Glaude calls the President a moral monster, connects him with the neo-Nazi who hated him, the neo-Nazi in Pittsburgh hated Donald Trump. And I just think to myself that race relations in America doesn’t need this. We need to focus on jobs and opportunity and colorblindness. What do you make of his remarks?
JJ: Well, I will say that I’ve been trained my entire life to be an officer in the United States Army. And that gives me at least two things – 1. an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. My priorities will always be God and country. But also, I’ve been trained to have a cool head. And right now, in these times of chaos, we need people who can bring order to chaos. And as a military officer, I understand that we need to keep cool heads in these hot times. That sounded like a very impassioned argument. And we’re not always entitled to our passions as we lead forward into a difficult future. I believe that we are looking at just another symptom of a broken system, one that Senator Stabenow, career politicians, have allowed to pervade our country for decades. Senator Stabenow and career politicians have had the opportunities to bring solutions to the massive issue that we have with immigration. This is just another example of those failures. We need to have people with political courage, the imagination, and the humility to lead effectively and to lead us through these difficult times, because we must have the passion, but we also must do it in a Constitutionally-consistent manner.
HH: I am talking with John James. His website is www.johnjamesforsenate.com. I’m sure he would appreciate any donations in the final stretch. John James, I watched some of the debates with Debbie Stabenow. You won them all. She looked frightened. She looked frozen like the deer in the headlights cliché, because she’s never had a race. And I think they are afraid of this hidden vote. What is, give us one anecdote like the Pistons game more as to why people can be enthusiastic about John James in the stretch run.
JJ: Because when I go to, I went to an NAACP dinner a number of months ago, and I was pulled aside by an African-American female who said she’s been in Detroit for 45 years and feels like the Democrat Party’s neglected us. At that very same NAACP dinner, I was pulled aside by an African-American man who said that he never split his ticket before, but he’s excited to finally have a conservative to vote for. Notice he said conservative, not Republican.
JJ: And that same day, I went to a Tea Party rally up in Lapeer, Michigan, and you know what my message, my message didn’t change, because my message is an American message. It’s about protecting the American dream for future generations. And it’s about standing up for this great country of ours and making sure that we leave a better situation than we came into.
HH: Last question. Debbie Stabenow, of course, voted against Gorsuch, voted against Kavanaugh. Michigan voted for Donald Trump largely because of the Supreme Court issue. Does Kavanaugh come up, and especially the treatment he was meted out by the Democrats, the ambush, the character assassination? Is that on the minds of voters still?
JJ: It absolutely does. But it comes out in our disdain in the disconnectedness of Washington. I can’t find a single friend of mine, Democrat or Republican, who wasn’t embarrassed by the debacle that went on, that neither Dr. Ford nor Justice Kavanaugh were afforded the respect that they deserved. And we just want government that will work and won’t embarrass us. And right now, in order for that to happen, we need to change the people who we have in Washington. And I’m excited to represent the better, that we have to lead, because we should not have a political class of elites and royalty in this country. We have forgotten how to govern a free people, and we have replaced rights and responsibilities with rules and regulations because you have career politicians like Debbie Stabenow who have never operated in the real world. We need to get people, statesmen, who our framers intended, to go and serve and then bring their tails back home. And that’s why Debbie Stabenow needs to retire, because she’s been an elected official for 43 years. She’s been in Washington for 20. And she’s been in the U.S. Senate for 18 years and only gotten five bills passed into law. She’s hyper partisan, she’s ineffective, and she’s broken her promises. It’s time for her to go.
HH: John James, good closing kick. Well, maybe we’ll talk to you on Election morning, but everyone go to www.johnjamesforsenate.com. He is our sleeper upset, and I don’t think it’s going to be an upset by next week. I think he’s got the momentum.
End of interview.