Unfortunately, you can often tell how Michigan’s voters will vote based on what side of congressional district lines they live on. These district maps have been skewed, creating political allegiances and, in turn, a lack of competitiveness.
Politicians modifying district lines for their own political advantages goes directly against the vision of our forefathers and harms us all in the process.
We all are aware that geographical manipulation is alive and still impacting elections, whether it be congressional, state house or presidential races. The real crime is that this type of “politics” has serious consequences for democracy, especially in places that haven’t seen a lot of real change in decades like Detroit, Flint and Inkster.
In these circumstances, politicians have the advantage of cherry-picking their own voters. In many ways, uncompetitive maps destroy political goodwill, and when that goodwill is undermined, it can affect the rest of the legislative process.
This can be seen in congressional districts that have been denying Metro Detroiters the ability for their vote to count in a more meaningful way.
Districts that are perennially safe for politicians do more harm than good for the voter as the design majorly favors incumbents. These practices harm the political process.
Voters could see these effects as politics as usual, “dirty tricks,” or just Lansing and Washington doing what they’ve always done, which discourages voters from casting their ballot. They’ll give up and just stay home, further reducing voter turnout and promising politicians will remain in office.
What’s clear is that parties do redraw maps to attempt to create new electoral districts for their own political advantages and until recently this negatively impacted Michigan voter turnout.
It is difficult for outsiders to beat an incumbent who has been in office for decades, especially in Detroit. Name recognition, campaign funding and labor union support seem to keep them in office indefinitely.
Voters’ only ability to change their circumstances with new candidates is at the ballot.
This is why it is essential to put a stop to gerrymandering. It’s crucial that Michigan’s 13 new members on the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission be dedicated to restoring voting integrity and put the power back into the hands of residents.
Brandon Brice, Detroit