Republican activists trying to stop the recent loss of GOP support in Michigan, especially among voters in Oakland County, have again turned to a shady TV personality to boost their party and their beloved president.
A Republican-controlled group announced today that it will hold a February fundraising event featuring Mike Lindell, aka the “My Pillow Guy.” He is the huckster responsible for those endless commercials on second-tier TV channels that rely on cheesy actors to hawk his expensive, foam-filled pillows.
A press release by the Michigan Conservative Coalition about their Feb. 14-15 event in Troy (with tickets priced at $100 to $150) obviously makes no mention of Lindell’s checkered past. Instead, it promotes him as “one of the most well-known corporate spokesmen in history.”
Over the past several years, Lindell has made so many phony claims about the health benefits of his pillows that it would make an old-time snake oil salesman blush. While racking up many millions of dollars in sales, the company has reportedly claimed at various times that the My Pillow may rid you of multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, migraines, fibromyalgia, menopause, acid reflux, restless leg syndrome or numerous sleep disorders.
After consumer protection groups stepped in and lawsuits were filed, My Pillow Inc. agreed in 2016 to halt those claims and to stop referring to Lindell as a “sleep expert.” The company was ordered to pay $1 million in penalties.
Based in Minnesota, Lindell also saw his rating from a Midwestern chapter of the Better Business Bureau drop to an “F” in 2017. That rebuke came after a long-running ad campaign promoted a special “two for one” offer on his pillows that essentially amounted to a 1-cent savings.
Twice divorced and a former longtime cocaine addict, Lindell claims that God cured him of his addiction – overnight, through a dream. Lindell has also said that Donald Trump was brought to the presidency by the Lord.
Trump took a liking to the pillow maker in the 2016 campaign and this year Lindell serves as the Minnesota state chair of the president’s re-election campaign.
Lindell’s rapid rise in politics among Republicans, particularly evangelicals, is evidenced by the Michigan Conservative Coalition’s curious decision to give him top billing above Michelle Malkin, a nationally known conservative commentator. Malkin will be the keynote speaker at the Feb. 14 event but it’s Lindell’s appearance at the Feb. 15 gathering that received more attention from the coalition, which is also associated with the group Women for Trump.
The two-day fundraiser/workshop, slated for the San Marino Club in Troy, is billed as “the Midwest’s premier event for conservatives.”
The gimmicky Lindell appearance is reminiscent of Republicans’ decision in the 2018 election to bring in a disreputable character from reality TV known as “Dog the Bounty Hunter.” With several state House and Senate races in Oakland County skewing toward the Democrats at the time, GOP candidate Matt Maddock of Milford made “Dog” the featured guest at his September fundraiser, charging up to $100-per-ticket.
For those who are unaware, Dog (real name, Duane) Chapman gained legions of fans for his loud, foul-mouthed antics on his A&E reality show, which from 2004-12 dramatized his life as a bounty hunter, chasing down those on the run from the law.
But Dog’s fame also brought to light another side of Chapman – a junior high school dropout, motorcycle gang member, arrested numerous times for violent crimes, convicted felon, known to spew racial slurs, married five times, and alleged by a daughter, one of 12 kids, to be a cocaine addict.
To be clear, Dog the Bounty Hunter is not the type of character most conservatives would want to embrace at election time – or any time. But the candidate went all in.
In buttoned-down Oakland County, he labeled himself “Mad Dog Maddock” in the final weeks of his House campaign.
How’d he do? Well, he won his race easily, by a 58-42 percent margin.
One footnote: Mad Dog Maddock is the husband of Meshawn Maddock, the leader of the Michigan Conservative Coalition which recruited Lindell for the Feb. 15 event, and the founder of Women for Trump. It appears this GOP power couple is eager to establish a whole new brand of politics in Michigan.