New Michigan Congressional Cards Cancel Years of Gerrymandering

“The goal of creating partisan equity cannot negatively impact black communities to the point of wiping us out of space,” said Adam Hollier, state senator for the Detroit area. “They think they’re unboxing, because that’s the story they hear from all over the country, without looking at what that means in the city of Detroit.”

Republicans were also discussing possible challenges to the new maps.

“We are evaluating all options to take the necessary measures to defend the voices silenced by this committee,” said Gustavo Portela, spokesman for the Michigan GOP, on Wednesday, without specifying the voices of whom he was speaking.

The GOP’s advantage in the Michigan legislature continued for years, even though the Democrats won the presidential election and won the elections for Governor and the United States Senate. In 2014, Senator Gary Peters, a Democrat, won the seat previously held by Carl Levin by more than 13 percentage points. Yet that same year, Republicans in the state Senate broadened their qualified majority, winning 27 of 38 seats.

Such a large discrepancy between statewide elections and legislative elections is often the telltale sign of a gerrymandered map. And a 2018 lawsuit unearthed emails in which Republicans bragged about packing “Democratic garbage” in fewer districts and securing Republican benefits “in 2012 and beyond.”

But the new state Senate card would create 20 seats President Biden would have won in 2020 and 18 former President Donald J. Trump would have won, giving Democrats new hope for competitiveness.

The new cards, however, offer no guarantee that Democrats will win either chamber. And in a strong year for the GOP, which could be 2022, Republicans could retain their advantage in the legislature and could also walk away with the majority of the state’s new 13-seat congressional delegation.

The Congress card includes three rocking seats where the 2020 presidential margin was less than five points, and two additional seats that could be competitive in a wave year, with presidential margins of less than 10 points. Two current Democratic representatives, Haley Stevens and Andy Levin, have been drawn to the same district, setting up a competitive primary in the 11th district. Both have declared their intention to show up on Tuesday.


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