Will Michigan lose Black influence in Congress?
The story that is yet to be told in the midst of what is quickly becoming a congressional rat race is the fact for the first time in decades Michigan and Detroit could lose African American influence in Congress, largely due to the Republican leadership in the state that drew the congressional district lines in a way that pitted Democratic lawmakers against each other. By doing so, Detroit and the Downriver communities that have always enjoyed African American representation in Congress for both the 14th and 13th Congressional Districts now stand to lose both.
And the Democratic leadership in the state doesn’t seem to realize the importance of at least working to ensure that one of the districts is represented by an African American. At a time when we talk so much about diversity in politics, business and other spheres of life, what would it look like if we wake up the day after the November election and find out that Michigan has no African Americans in Congress? What message does that send to the Democratic Party that claims to be the party of the big tent? It’s easy to blame it all on Republicans for snaking the two congressional districts in a way that leaves Democratic lawmakers in those districts with no option. But in reality, they do have an option.
They could have a meeting of the minds and strike a delicate compromise to ensure that one of the districts remains in the African American column. Politics is much about compromise. What is really interesting after the Republican damage caused to both districts is watching Democrats themselves duke it out with each other. Yet none has publicly and in a very forthright way raised the concern about losing African American representation in Congress. This is not about playing the race card. This is very much about civil rights and minority representation in Congress, both of which should be sacredly guarded in our democratic dispensation.
Putting raw ambition and politics aside, the Michigan Democratic Party — always found wanting for being so lackluster — should be convening a meeting with all the Democratic candidates that have declared running for Congress in both districts to sort this mess out. While those candidates reserve the right and the democratic free will to challenge each other, it is in the party’s best interest to ensure that minority representation becomes a reality in Congress for Michigan.
Read the rest of this article by Bankole Thompson in the Michigan Chronicle