Given the results of the last few elections in Michigan where Democrats received the majority of the votes but Republicans won a majority of the seats in the state legislature, there is little to argue about when it comes to discussing gerrymandering and how terribly gerrymandered our state is. There are hardly any competitive seats in our state anymore. Period.
However, a new poll out from Public Policy Polling brings the reality of this into sharp relief. Without question, the voters in our state lean toward progressive, sometimes sharply, on a wide array of issues while our state legislature is as Republican as any southern state.
Have a look:
- Approval of Gov. Snyder: 47% disapprove, 40% approve
- Support of the Affordable Care Act: 44% support, 42% oppose
- Allowing adoption agencies to deny services to families based on religious beliefs: 52% oppose, 34% support
- Support for Todd Courser’s bill to allow only clergy to perform marriages: 69% oppose, 16% support
- Support for legalizing pot: 48% support, 42% oppose
- Approval of the state legislature: 54% disapprove, 20% approve
- Support for requiring businesses to allow workers to earn paid sick days: 78% support, 15% oppose
- Support for replacing flat income tax with a graduated income tax: 64% support, 28% oppose
- Revising the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to protect the LGBT community: 68% support, 25% oppose
These are poll numbers from a democratically blue state. A liberal state. A progressive state. And yet our state Senate is 71% Republican (74% if you include Virgil Smith) and the state House is 57% Republican (59% if you include Harvey Santana.) In other words, the state of Michigan is being run by people who do not represent the views of the citizens of the state of Michigan and they have systematically put in place safeguards to ensure that they hold onto that power.
Keep in mind that our state’s Attorney General was involved in three of the Supreme Court rulings last week, and on the wrong side of all three: The USEPA’s ability to regulate carbon pollution, the Affordable Care Act, and marriage equality.
It’s going to take nothing short of a voter revolution in this state to change this. We need two specific things to happen in the 2016 election:
- A massive groundswell of voters to go to the polls and drown out the anti-democratic impact of gerrymandering and
- A citizen-initiated referendum to establish a non-partisan or at least bipartisan and independent redistricting commission to redraw our state legislative district and Congressional district lines now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that they are constitutional.
These two things combined will give Democrats a level playing field on which to compete with Republicans who know full well that a level playing field spells the end of their political dominance in Blue Michigan. They and their corporate benefactors aren’t going to give up easily. In fact, they will behave like cornered dogs, lashing out in retribution whenever they get the chance. And when they do this we will draw them out into the light to expose them for the hateful, harmful threats to our state that they are. We will do this every day from now until election day 2016 and will not allow them to suddenly seem reasonable six months before the election. From now until November 8th, 2016 it will be a constant drumbeat of holding Republicans accountable for what they have done and continue to do to this beautiful state.
That’s the most patriotic thing we can pledge to do, in fact.
People often ask me why I stay in Michigan now that it has been taken over by Republican extremists. I tell them it’s because I am a lifelong Michigander, that Michiganders are good people and mostly Democratic people, and, most importantly, because it is a beautiful state and it’s worth saving.
We can do this.