Democrats could take the Michigan legislature in 2022
Democrats recently flipped Michigan back into the blue column and should now look to 2022. They have a chance at breaking Republican control over the legislature (Republicans have held it the Senate since 92, and controlled the House all but nine years in that same time). So what makes me think they can take it? Democrats have shown they can win the popular vote share of the house votes (2018 results popular vote 52.13% to 47.40% 2020 49.60 v 49.86 closer but still approximately 13,676 vote difference). Democrats recently defended the Senate seat of Gary Peters (winning by 92,335 or 1.7%), Biden defeated Trump ( 154,188 or 2.8%). Michigan Democrats also have a popular governor who has been trending in the high 40s or low 50s and has more importantly switched to independent redistricting.
There have been multiple years where Dems at the state and federal level have won the popular vote but have not won a similar share of the seats. That has been because of extreme partisan gerrymandering by Republicans. That ends with our independent redistricting committee. So why are commentators bearish on Democrats’ odds? They are failing to message the election to their voters. I’m a liberal but have a hard time selling what the Governor has done, that is not her fault. Much like Snyder, or Granholm (our previous governors) the Republican-controlled legislature is obstinate. They have dragged their feet on every issue from funding roads to public health, to education reform. Would it not be nice to have a partner in the legislature?
The Republicans hold the legislature by single digits (a few seats are all it takes to flip either chamber). Dems need to articulate a vision to get their base out. Working-class, liberal and minority voters make up their base. Those voters need persuading to come out in 2018 levels. To take control of the Michigan legislature focusing on policies that impact Michigan voters. The expansion of voting rights, protection of women’s reproductive freedom, housing affordability, criminal justice reform, income inequality, education reform, job growth, are all policies they can talk about but should openly advocate. The party forgets politics is about who gets what, if they can articulate that to voters maybe we can break Republicans’ control over the legislature and build a Democratic majority.
I will leave you with a quote from Jesse Jackson that should guide Democrats in building their majority, from his 1984 DNC speech. “His foreparents came to America on immigrant ships. My foreparents came to America on slave ships. But whatever the original ships, we’re in the same boat tonight.”
2020 election results
1992–2021 control of Michigan Government