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Time For The 50-State Strategy to Become A 435-District Strategy

by: PerfectStormer

Wed Feb 13, 2008 at 22:45:24 PM EST

(This took me by surprise. - promoted by ScottyUrb)

Very early this morning as I was doing research for my Wednesday morning turn at posting Coffee Talk at MichiganLiberal.com, I was clicking through the Grand Rapids Press section of MLive.com. The article was about the Michigan/Florida primary boondoggle and how that all may have to be straightened out in light of the tight race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The paragraph said:

Beyond Michigan and Florida, they could hold the nomination in their grasp. Michigan's super delegates include Granholm, Levin and fellow Sen. Debbie Stabenow, six members of Congress, 17 state members of the Democratic National Committee and two members to be chosen in May. There are no DNC members from west of Lansing.

That last line floored me.

PerfectStormer :: Time For The 50-State Strategy to Become A 435-District Strategy
I did a little poking around the dKosopedia, and the article is right. The members of the DNC representing Michigan are as follows:
Mark Brewer Clinton Twp. MI
Arthenia Abbott Lansing MI
Lu Battaglieri E. Lansing MI
Elizabeth Bunn Detroit MI
Debbie Dingell Dearborn MI
Joel Ferguson Lansing MI
Melvin "Butch" Hollowell Detroit MI
Hon. Kwame Kilpatrick Detroit MI
Joyce Lalonde Eastpointe MI
Hon. Christina Montague Ann Arbor MI
Erin Parsons-Wright Lansing MI
Jeffrey Radjewski Chesterfield Twp. MI
Virgie Rollins Detroit MI
Richard Shoemaker Detroit MI
Jim Sype Okemos MI
Richard Wiener Lansing MI

Not one of those folks is from outside the Detroit or Lansing areas.

I know when everyone from outside Michigan thinks of Michigan, they think of Detroit. When they think of Detroit, they think of the auto industry, Motown, and crime (we'll tackle misconceptions about Detroit in another diary.) Detroit is nice, and Detroit is huge, but it's not the whole state.

And yes, Lansing is the state capital. Lansing is where all the real political movers-and-shakers live, from the Governor on down to the fine folks at Progress Michigan. But Michigan doesn't end there, either.

Time to think like a true Michiganian Michigander: hold out your left hand, palm down. Now use the index finger on your right hand to point to the  base of your left thumb. That's Detroit. Now point to the middle of your palm. That's Lansing. Notice anything? There's a whole lotta territory beyond your thumb and your palm. You've got your knuckles, the inside of your palm, and your fingers.

Around these parts we call them Kalamazoo (yes, there really is a Kalamazoo-zoo-zoo), Grand Rapids (Furniture City USA), Battle Creek (Cereal City USA), Holland (home of windmills, klompen shoes, and a hell of a lot of Republicans), St. Joseph/Benton Harbor (home of Whirlpool and KitchenAid), Grand Haven (Coast Guard City USA), Muskegon (the mistake by the lake The Port City--and my hometown), Ludington, Manistee, Traverse City (the Cherry Capital), Flint (home of Buick), Saginaw, Midland (home of Dow Chemical), Bay City, Alpena, Petoskey, and Mackinaw City, to say nothing of the entire Upper Peninsula (da U.P., eh! and home of the Nimrods).

The population of the nine-county Detroit CSA is 5.9 million people. The population of the Lansing MSA is 454,000. That's only 6.3 million. The population of Michigan as a whole is 9.9 million (give or take a couple moving vans headed down I-75). So by my count, that leaves 3.3 million people without any kind of representation on the Democratic National Committee.

And this year, those 3.3 million people aren't just any 3.3 million people. They're Michigan voters, who were subjected to this primary boondoggle by the Michigan Legislature, Governor Granholm, the Michigan Democratic Party, and yes, the DNC. As the fate of Michigan's convention delegation hangs in the balance, it looks like it's going to be left up to the DNC's Credentials Committee. Wouldn't it be nice if these 3.3 million voters had a say in what's going on?

Beyond that, let me just say that I'm a big believer in the 50-State Strategy. It clearly paid dividends in 2006. We won races in several oddball districts simply because we had candidates on the ground. Between the Democracy Bond project and the 50-State Strategy, the DNC is endeavoring to put paid DNC staffers on the ground in all 50 states in an effort to boost the DNC brand and make us competitive everywhere, not just the liberal northeast and California.

There are 435 Congressional districts in the United States, which constitutionally are designed to be roughly equal in size to ensure that each and every American has representation in Congress and access to their representative (gerrymandering...well, as Alton Brown would say, that's another diary). There are also 440 members of the Democratic National Committee. How is it that, with roughly equal numbers, such large swaths of the country are going unrepresented at the DNC?

And so I propose a change to the DNC by-laws: Henceforth, one member of the Democratic National Committee should be elected from each of the 435 Congressional districts in the United States. It's time for the DNC to put its money where its mouth is and ensure that it operates according to its name, democratically.

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Brilliant idea Stormy!
I couldn't agree more and it drives me insane when people from outside of Michigan ask if Manistee is near Detroit... Like Detroit makes up the whole friggin' state?  

I have come to the conclusion that politics are too serious a matter to be left to the politicians. Charles De Gaulle (1890 - 1970)

I think you'd have to draw up DNC-specific districts, rather than use Congressional districts.  Plot out the locations of registered Democratic voters and draw boundaries to try and encompass equal groups.  Certain Congressional districts as they are drawn would have larger numbers of Democrats than others, and thus your plan would have one committee member representing tens of thousands in one district, and just tens in another.

Did you exchange a walk-on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?
The PhiKapBlog

I think it balances out
The areas that have many Dems within a smaller area do have an advantage in that it's easy for them to reach their entire consituency.

Those from the redder, more rural areas may have fewer Dems within their District but they are spread far and wide, very difficult to actually be involved with them.

Lastly, the redder areas you are referring to have a lot more Dems than you may think and getting bluer every cycle FYI.  :-)


To prepare for when your life flashes before your eyes, make sure it's fun to watch.

[ Parent ]
this color "blue" you speak of...
Please bring it to the 11th District.  42% blue is still a reddish shade of purple.  And it's apparently not blue enough to get anyone to throw some green-colored paper our way.

Did you exchange a walk-on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?
The PhiKapBlog

[ Parent ]
We've none to spare, sadly.
Trust me, I'm in the unfortunate 4th District, custom designed for a putz like Dave Camp to hold on to.

Still, we have pockets of blue and there has been a lot of effort to expand the blue on the map.  For instance, while Grand Traverse Co. is still red, Traverse City is now firmly blue and we make slow but sure progress in the surrounding townships.

We have other such stories across the 4th (a 14 county swath of the state).  Thankfully there are people out there right now working to get it done for this November.

One helpful way to bring money into a disadvantaged District for us Dems is if you can find a candidate who is not only a good candidate but can raise money outside of the District.  A tough bill to fill, believe me I know.


To prepare for when your life flashes before your eyes, make sure it's fun to watch.

[ Parent ]
Registered Democratic voters???
How do you do that when we don't have party registration in Michigan?

[ Parent ]

Do you have the current members?
Would appreciate an updated list since you seem to have that information.

The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization.

 - Ralph Waldo Emerson

[ Parent ]
The screaming aside, that list was dated 2006. If it's incorrect, I'll fix it.

[ Parent ]
Call the MDP

[ Parent ]
The MDP will email you the list.
Complete with contact info.

[ Parent ]
Thank you!
I'm glad someone finally said it!

[ Parent ]
According to the Lansing State Journal
Here is the 2008 list:

Here is a list of Michigan's 26 Democratic superdelegates for 2008:

Gov. Jennifer Granholm
U.S. Sen. Carl Levin
U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow
U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak
U.S. Rep. Dale Kildee
U.S. Rep. Sander Levin
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick
U.S. Rep. John Conyers
U.S. Rep. John Dingell
Democratic Party Chairman Mark Brewer
Tina Abbott
Lu Battaglieri
Elizabeth Bunn
Lt. Gov. John Cherry
Eric Coleman
Debbie Dingell
Joel Ferguson
Robert Ficano
Kwame Kilpatrick
Joyce Lalonde
Jeff Radjewski
Virgie Rollins
Richard Shoemaker
Michael Tardif
Rick Wiener
Lauren Wolfe

The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization.

 - Ralph Waldo Emerson

[ Parent ]

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