The Republican party in Michigan drew districts so far to their favor that claims of gerrymandering could no longer be ignored. After a decade of these undemocratic districts, justice is being restored with the newly created district map to give Democrats a “fighting chance” in upcoming elections. These new maps were created through bipartisan collaboration and excluded biased lawmakers from the mapmaking process. However, despite this, these new electoral maps could result in stipend influence of POCs on Michigan elections.
It is too soon to call this a success story. These districts were drawn with the intention of removing Black voter majorities and spreading them amongst more districts for the purpose of “increasing representation.” Since the Michigan Black vote is most concentrated in the Detroit area, what appeared to be a noble effort to encourage bipartisan collaboration has essentially backfired and stripped the Black voice from the face of Michigan elections.
Michigan State Senator Adam Hollier, originally from the Detroit area, provides valid criticism to said redistricting plan, stating that the goal of partisan fairness cannot impact Black communities in such negative ways. Despite gerrymandering being a massive problem in Michigan, when these districts were redrawn, the concentration was not on what could better benefit the state and the people but rather what could make for a more competitive election cycle. The city of Detroit and its overwhelmingly high concentration of POC was not the priority while drawing these new districts.
Because the GOP was previously in charge of electoral maps for the state of Michigan, it is not surprising that talks of changing these maps have also run amok amongst Michigan Republicans. GOP spokesman Gustavo Portela made a statement claiming that the GOP will take any steps necessary to restore the voices of those silenced by this redistricting. Portela gave no explanation to the voices whom he was referring to; however, one can come to the natural conclusion that he is not concerned with Detroit.
Despite what the GOP tells its followers, these maps give no Democratic advantages. In fact, all three of the new maps still possess a slight Republican edge. They even violate the commissioner’s guidelines of “keeping neighboring communities together” by splitting over half of the state’s counties into several districts.
With the rules of compromise, no one comes out happy. Michigan’s redistricting is definitely not a bad thing. It is only a step in the right direction on the road to a better tomorrow: a tomorrow where elections can be free and fair.