WHERE THINGS STAND IN MICHIGAN TODAY
After losing the Presidential race in Michigan by 10,704 votes in 2016, demoralized Democrats picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and fought back in a big way in 2018.
In that election they flipped the offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, State Attorney General, Secretary of State, 2 Congressional seats, 6 State House seats, and 5 State Senate seats. Not to mention they helped pass state ballot measures like an Independent Redistricting Commission (to prevent gerrymandering) and marijuana legalization.
In other words, Donald Trump’s unexpected win seemed to awaken a sleeping giant.
But as impressive as that 2018 comeback was in Michigan, we can take it even further in 2020.
Here are 8 reasons why Michigan deserves our focus this year:
REASON #1: WINNING 16 ELECTORAL COLLEGE VOTES
This is where it all fell apart in 2016. This is where we exact our revenge in 2020.
At this time polls are pointing to a favorable outcome in Michigan this November, with attention being shifted to states like Arizona and Georgia.
But we can take nothing for granted. If something goes awry, we can’t afford to lose Michigan just because we became too complacent. The top of the ticket in Michigan is THE grand prize in 2020. Don’t let 2016 happen again.
REASON #2: RE-ELECTING DEMOCRATIC SENATOR GARY PETERS
Similarly here, Democratic chances of holding this Michigan Senate seat looks optimistic in polling. But there is no room for error.
Incumbent Democratic Senator Gary Peters is a fine-but-low-key Senator who has been out-fundraised by his Republican opponent (a rising conservative star), something nearly unheard of for a Democrat this election cycle.
Leave everything on the field to make sure that Gary is re-elected by a substantial margin. If we get caught napping on this seat, the likelihood of a Democratic takeover of the Senate shrinks substantially.
REASON #3: FLIPPING THE MICHIGAN STATE HOUSE
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer needs back-up, and she needs it in the form of a more Democratic State Legislature.
All *110* seats in the Michigan State House are up for election in 2020. And of those seats, Democrats only need to flip *4* in order to gain control of the chamber. Right now there are *9* seats alone in the all-important Detroit metro/suburb area up for grabs (Districts 17, 24, 30, 38, 39, 43, 44, 45, 46), and *1* in the Grand Rapids metro/suburb area (District 72).
The main concern with winning the Michigan State House in 2020 is making sure that Democrats have as much say in the 2021 Congressional and State Legislative redistricting processes as possible.
And while control of redistricting isn’t theoretically at risk in Michigan (because Michigan voters approved the aforementioned 2018 ballot measure to enact an Independent Redistricting Commission), it’s better to be safe than sorry and make sure we have a Democratic State House buffer to put a stop to any Republican shenanigans.
Plain and simple, I just don’t trust the GOP.
REASON #4: FLIPPING THE MICHIGAN STATE SUPREME COURT
It’s not just the Michigan State House that can flip in 2020, but the Michigan State Supreme Court as well.
The Court is currently made up of 7 members (4 Republicans, 3 Democrats).
And this year there are *2* Michigan State Supreme Court races. These races are labeled as ‘non-partisan’, but the political parties provide their endorsements. So please note that when these names are listed on the ballot, they may not be accompanied by party identifications. Thus you need to memorize the names of the 2 Democratic-endorsed candidates to vote for: Bridget Mary McCormack and Elizabeth Welch.
Bridget Mary McCormack is an incumbent Democratic Justice. Elizabeth Welch is a candidate running to replace a retiring Republican Justice. We must win both of these seats in order to flip the Court into a 4-3 Democratic majority.
REASON #5: FLIPPING MORE CONGRESSIONAL SEATS
Based on trends from 2016 to 2018, there are *4* Congressional seats that Democrats may be able to flip in 2020. Three are in the area of trending blue Grand Rapids. The fourth is in the suburbs of Ann Arbor and Lansing.
Democrat Bryan Berghoef will be running to flip Michigan’s 2nd Congressional District. Democrat Hillary Scholten will be running to flip the open-seat Michigan 3rd Congressional District (famously held by retiring Republican-turned-Libertarian Justin Amash). Democrat Jon Hoadley will be running to unseat the increasingly vulnerable Fred Upton in Michigan’s 6th Congressional District (experts agree this is the most flippable of all remaining GOP-held districts in Michigan). And Democrat Gretchen Driskell will be running to flip Michigan’s 7th Congressional District.
Some of these races are tougher than others. But if we can produce a true Blue Wave, we could win all four of these seats.
REASON #6: HOLDING 2018 CONGRESSIONAL SEATS
Democrats made great strides by electing Elissa Slotkin (Michigan’s 8th Congressional District) and Haley Stevens (Michigan’s 11th Congressional District) in 2018. At this point their Republican opponents are nominal (thanks in large part to the incredible fundraising abilities of these two Congresswomen), but we have to remain alert and protect these two seats.
REASON #7: EDUCATION ELECTIONS
Michigan has several statewide education positions up for election this year.
The State Board of Education, Michigan University Board of Trustees, University of Michigan Board of Regents and the Wayne State University Board of Governors all have 2 elections each this November. Democratic nominees have not been selected yet (there is a convention to do so at the end of August). But it’s vital that all educational institutions have as much Democratic representation as possible if we’re ever going to recover from Michigan-born Betsy DeVos’ reign of terror.
REASON #8: PREPARING FOR THE MICHIGAN STATE SENATE ELECTION IN 2022
If you want to have a Democratic State Government ‘trifecta’ in Michigan (meaning that Democrats would have control over the Governorship and both State Legislative chambers), think of it in 3 Steps.
Step 1 – Electing a Democratic Governor in 2018 (Done)
Step 2 – Electing a Democratic State House in 2020 (In Progress)
Step 3 – Electing a Democratic State Senate in 2022 (Up Next)
We need to get voters motivated to flip the Michigan State Senate in 2 years. Why? Because it has been controlled by the Republican Party since the *early 1980s*. That is not a typo.
In 2018 we were able to end the Republicans’ Michigan State Senate supermajority (bringing them under 2/3 control of all seats in the chamber). Unfortunately, the Michigan State Senate has no elections this year. But that doesn’t mean we can’t start to motivate Democrats now for that ultimate goal of a Democratic Michigan trifecta.
Thank you for taking the time to read about why Michigan is so important this year.
Keep in mind that these are not the only reasons to Focus on Michigan this year. There will undoubtedly be a number of other local elections worth your time and attention as well.
If you’d like to help Focus on Michigan, please sign up HERE for the DemCast “Focus14” Michigan effort.
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