The politics of Michigan, a competitive state that leans Democratic in Presidential elections, are divided. Michigan is considered part of the Democrats' "Blue Wall."[1] Governors since the 1970s have alternated between the two parties, and statewide offices including attorney general, secretary of state, and senator have been held by members of both parties in varying proportions, though the state currently is represented by two Democratic U.S. Senators. The Republican Party holds a majority in both the House and Senate of the Michigan Legislature. The state's congressional delegation is commonly split, with one party or the other typically holding a narrow majority.

Presidential election results[2]
Year Democratic Republican
1960 50.8% 1,687,269 48.8% 1,620,428
1964 66.7% 2,136,615 33.0% 1,060,152
1968 48.2% 1,593,082 41.5 1,370,665
1972 41.8% 1,459,435 56.2% 1,961,721
1976 46.4% 1,696,714 51.8% 1,893,742
1980 42.5% 1,661,532 48.9% 1,915,225
1984 40.2% 1,529,638 59.5% 2,251,571
1988 45.6% 1,675,783 53.7% 1,965,486
1992 43.7% 1,871,182 36.3% 1,554,940
1996 51.7% 1,989,653 38.5% 1,481,212
2000 51.3% 2,170,418 46.1% 1,953,139
2004 51.2% 2,479,183 47.8% 2,313,746
2008 57.3% 2,867,680 41.0% 2,044,405
2012 54.2% 2,564,569 44.7% 2,115,256
2016 47.0% 2,268,839 47.2% 2,279,543
2020 50.6% 2,804,040 47.8% 2,649,852

Political geography

Republican strongholds of the state include the rural areas in Western and Northern Michigan, the Upper Peninsula, Livingston County, and (historically) the outer suburbs of Grand Rapids, although redistricting after the 2020 census and shifting demographics has led many political observers to call the Grand Rapids suburbs a "toss-up" in future elections.[3] Areas of Democratic strength include the cities of Detroit, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Flint, Grand Rapids, and Muskegon, as well as many of those cities' inner ring suburbs. Much of suburban Detroit—which includes parts of Oakland, Macomb, and Wayne counties—is politically competitive between the two parties.

History

Michigan's Only US President, Gerald R. Ford
Michigan's Only US President, Gerald R. Ford

Historically, the first county-level meeting of the Republican Party took place in Jackson on July 6, 1854,[4] and the party thereafter dominated Michigan until the Great Depression. In the 1912 election, Michigan was one of the six states to support progressive Republican and third-party candidate Theodore Roosevelt for president after he lost the Republican nomination to William Howard Taft.

Michigan remained fairly reliably Republican at the presidential level for much of the 20th century. It was part of Greater New England, the northern tier of states settled chiefly by migrants from New England who carried their culture with them. The state was one of only a handful to back Wendell Willkie over Franklin Roosevelt in 1940, and supported Thomas E. Dewey in his losing bid against Harry S. Truman in 1948.

Michigan went to the Democrats in two presidential elections during the 1960s but voted for the Republican candidate in every election from 1972 to 1988, including "native son" Gerald Ford in 1976. Since 1992 it has supported the Democrats by moderate margins, except for a narrow win by Donald Trump in 2016. In 2020 Biden won it back by 2.8 points.

Michigan was the home of Gerald Ford, the 38th president of the United States. Born in Nebraska, he moved as an infant to Grand Rapids.[5][6] The Gerald R. Ford Museum is in Grand Rapids, and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library is on the campus of his alma mater, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Michigan's United States Senator Thomas W. Ferry, was President pro tempore of the United States Senate from March 9, 1875 – March 17, 1879. Vice President Henry Wilson died on November 22, 1875. Ferry, being President pro tempore of the Senate, was next in the line of presidential succession, and remained so until March 4, 1877. While the title "Acting Vice President" isn't defined in the Constitution, the title was widely used at the time (including by Ferry himself).[7][8]

Senator Thomas Ferry who served as president pro tempore and acting President of the US Senate during the 1870s.
Senator Thomas Ferry who served as president pro tempore and acting President of the US Senate during the 1870s.

In 1846, Michigan became the first state in the Union, as well as the first government in the world, to abolish the death penalty.[9][10] Historian David Chardavoyne has suggested the movement to abolish capital punishment in Michigan grew out of enmity toward Canada, which made public executions a regular practice under British rule.

Michigan approved plans to expand Medicaid coverage in 2014 to adults with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level (approximately $15,500 for a single adult in 2014).[11]

In 2018, the state electorate passed proposals to create an independent redistricting commission,[12] and to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.[13][14][15]

In 2020, voters approved two ballot measures, one to increase the limit of money from sales of gas and oil from state-owned land that can benefit state parks, and another to require a warrant for search or seizure of electronic data and communications.[16][17]

2020 election

U.S. Senate results, 2020. While Republicans dominated the Upper Peninsula and the rural counties of the Lower Peninsula, Democrats carried the state by winning the Detroit metro.
U.S. Senate results, 2020. While Republicans dominated the Upper Peninsula and the rural counties of the Lower Peninsula, Democrats carried the state by winning the Detroit metro.

While Michigan remained competitive in 2020, Democratic nominee Joe Biden's strength with traditional Democratic constituencies such as Black voters (93% to Trump's 6%)[18] and organized labor (56% to Trump's 42%)[18] and increased voter turnout in Detroit and its wealthy suburbs helped tip the state in his favor.[19]

References

  1. ^ Peters, Jeremy W. (2020-11-10). "Where the 'Blue Wall' Was Strongest, and Where Cracks Appeared". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-02-14.
  2. ^ Leip, David. "General Election Results – Michigan". Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. Retrieved February 14, 2022.
  3. ^ "Newly drawn congressional district in West Michigan moves from conservative-leaning to 'toss up'". mlive. 2021-12-30. Retrieved 2022-06-09.
  4. ^ Michigan Historical Marker Program (February 18, 1956). Under the Oaks (Michigan Historical Marker). Jackson: Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Archived from the original on October 8, 2010. Retrieved July 25, 2010.
  5. ^ "Biography of Gerald R. Ford". whitehouse.gov. August 9, 1974. Archived from the original on June 10, 2010. Retrieved July 25, 2010 – via National Archives.
  6. ^ Funk, Josh (2006). "Nebraska-Born, Ford Left State As Infant". Boston Globe. Associated Press. Archived from the original on January 5, 2009. Retrieved October 6, 2007.
  7. ^ Michigan Historical Commission, and S. D Bingham (1924). Michigan biographies, including members of Congress, elective state officers, justices of the Supreme Court, members of the Michigan Legislature, Board of Regents of the University of Michigan, State Board of Agriculture and State Board of Education. The Michigan Historical Commission. pp. 453–454.
  8. ^ "Biography of Thomas White Ferry". migenweb.org. Retrieved 2021-07-21.
  9. ^ "Information on States Without the Death Penalty". Archived from the original on May 12, 2008.
  10. ^ "History of the Death Penalty: Faith in Action, Working to Abolish the Death Penalty". Amnesty USA. Archived from the original on March 6, 2010. Retrieved July 25, 2010.
  11. ^ Ayanian, J. Z. (2013). "Michigan's Approach to Medicaid Expansion and Reform" (PDF). New England Journal of Medicine. 369 (19): 1773–1775. doi:10.1056/NEJMp1310910. PMID 24066713. S2CID 6375184. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2019-03-03.
  12. ^ Gibbons, Lauren (November 6, 2018). "Voters Not Politicians declares victory for Proposal 2". MLive Lansing. Mlive Media Group. Archived from the original on January 9, 2019. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  13. ^ "Ballot Proposal 1 of 2018" (PDF). Michigan.gov. Archived (PDF) from the original on November 7, 2018. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  14. ^ "STATE OF MICHIGAN STATEWIDE BALLOT PROPOSALS NOVEMBER 6, 2018 GENERAL ELECTION" (PDF). Michigan.gov. September 19, 2018. Archived (PDF) from the original on November 10, 2018. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  15. ^ Noble, Breana; Rahal, Sarah (December 6, 2018). "Michigan's new marijuana law brings confusion". The Detroit News. Archived from the original on August 11, 2019.
  16. ^ "2020 ballot measure election results". Ballotpedia. Retrieved November 6, 2020.
  17. ^ "Election 2020: Ballot Proposals Passed In Michigan". November 5, 2020. Retrieved November 6, 2020.
  18. ^ a b "Michigan Voter Surveys: How Different Groups Voted". The New York Times. 2020-11-03. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-02-14.
  19. ^ Collins, Keith; Fessenden, Ford; Gamio, Lazaro; Harris, Rich; Keefe, John; Lu, Denise; Lutz, Eleanor; Walker, Amy Schoenfeld; Watkins, Derek (2020-11-05). "Michigan Flips Back to the Democrats". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-02-14.