Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Liberal Bastions of Flint, Detroit and Gogebic?

According to The New York Times election map, only three counties in Michigan went for Democrat Virg Bernero over Republican Rick Snyder in the governor's race — Genesee (Flint), Wayne (Detroit), and Gogebic (no idea), way up in da U.P., eh.

UPDATE: Gogebic County = Ironwood. Thanks, Jan.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Washtenaw (Ann Arbor) and Ingham (Lansing) also went Democratic in the end. Whew, I was thinking I'd really lost touch with old Michigan. Thanks, Will.


  1. Since this was posted, Washtenaw and Ingham went the lightest shade of blue as well. FYI.

  2. So what's going on politically in Ironwood? It's like an island of Dem. voters in a sea of Republicans and Libertarians. Why?

  3. Must be all those great Pasties they make up there that make them strong and healthy minded in Ironwood!

  4. A few of my lib friends voted for Snyder. I don't get it.

    As for Ironwood, I'm guessing Canadian influence there... ;-)

  5. I lived in da UP for 6 years. I graduated High School from Iron Mountain.

    The UP has a fairly health economy. Ironwood is an area of the U.P that has high unemployment. Ironwoods economy has been sagging for a long time.

    Marquette was named #3 in the county for best place to live under 100,000 populus.

    It is a big shift for the UP to go mostly red though. I mean, BART is a blue boy and has been a favorite up there for a long time. . Until his flip flop mess for healthcare.. What a jerk.

  6. I am not a Yooper nor do I play one on TV, but I am somewhat familiar with the area so I will take a stab at this. Gogebic County might look like an anomaly on the 2010 Michigan voting map, but if you consult the 2010 voting maps for Wisconsin and Minnesota it appears less of an anomaly:
    Historically the entire UP has voted for the Democratic Party:
    The western end of Lake Superior is a bit of a Democratic stronghold extending at least as far as Marquette. Note there was not too much difference in the 2010 gubernatorial voting of Marquette (2% margin for the Rs) and Gogebic (2% margin for the Ds).

    I have long attributed the Democrat lean of the upper midwest to the Scandinavian / German / Polish influence which is somewhat tolerant of socialist politics. That was historically the trend in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, the Dakotas, and even the prairie provinces of Canada. There was a longstanding farm-labor alliance in the politics of this area. Although the area is probably more libertarian than liberal, and also fiscally and culturally conservative in many respects. In recent years the upper midwest has been trending more conservative in their voting.

    One other significant fact to note in the Wikipedia link is the high 99% voter turnout in the 2008 election which tends to be characteristic of the UP. One might suspect it is a mass typo, but the numbers do appear real. Yoopers are fiercely loyal (as evidenced in their past Democratic Party loyalty), and they have normally and reliably turned out to vote in most elections. In 2010 the first Michigan congressional district gave a fairly decisive 11% margin to the new Republican Congressman. He replaces the 9 term Democrat Bart Stupak who effectively ended his career by his locally unpopular vote on the 2009 health care reform bill.

    Many possibilities here: If the 2010 UP votes represent a new norm, the UP is not likely to return to voting for Democrats anytime soon. On the other side. The 2010 midterm turnout was significantly less the 2008 Obama election. If the Democrats of the UP were merely sitting this out in protest, they might yet return to their Democratic Party voting norm. But I suspect they are no fans of the many redistribution, bailout, and fiscally irresponsible follies of President Obama. They might return in vengeance to help oust Obama. And they may just sit 2012 as well.

    Just my two cents. Mark

  7. Mark, thanks for the rundown. That was fascinating. The voter turnout is amazing.

  8. Okay, I know GY dislikes partisan politics, so I'll try to keep this relatively neutral.

    First, I have no problem with voters rejecting what they deem "socialistic" policies. But the UP is a classic case of folks apparently voting against their economic interests. And voting against a variation on policies they endorse wholeheartedly in other ways.

    The UP has an aging, shrinking population with relatively low income levels. So the Obama tax cuts helped them out more than many other regions.

    The UP also relies on Social Security and Medicare more than your average population group because of its aging demographic. Why didn't they reject these "socialistic" policies years ago?

    Finally, except for all the current and former government employees in the UP — and there's a lot of them — Yoopers tend to be under-insured when it comes to healthcare coverage. So many of them will be using Obamacare.

    In other words, Yoopers are better off under these policies. And they're getting benefits from Obama's policies disproportionately.

    So hey, vote Republican if you want. But if it's because you hate "socialistic" policies, then that doesn't make a lot of sense.

    Of course, if you're unemployed in the UP, you're liable to blame whoever's in office. That's not always rational, but its more rational than attacking the very policies you're taking advantage of.

  9. I think remarks about the Tea Party as "teabaggers" involved in the Flint stabbings and the "Hutaree" so called "militia" were definite attempts to scare the Democratic base and demonize Republicans. Gogebic County may have been influenced by Wisconsin based media, which like a recent Alaska TV affiliate, had newscasters who were trying to influence the election to help the Democrats. There is no doubt in my mind how the majority of the people that post here voted.

    That said, I will continue to observe the posts here.

  10. Here is the common denominator of the Counties supporting Bernero: These are the dependency counties, Genesee and Wayne counties are UAW controlled coupled with a large welfare population. Washtenaw and Ingham are college towns that are supported by and look favorably to governmental largeness. Goegebic is populated by a large block of welfare recipient voters. This is why these counties vote Democrat, their residents rely on the party of big government.

  11. Well, aside from the occasional guest post, I'm the majority of people who post here. In fact, I'm pretty much the only person who posts here! And I'd have to say my voting patterns are fairly unpredictable. I don't want to reveal too much, but suffice to say I voted for Ross Perot for president. Twice. (It's a long story; please don't ask me to explain.)

  12. The true Laplander Finn does not consider himself Scandinavian, and a lot of the Yoopers are "real" Finns. The Finns fought the Russians for independence in 1917, the year of the Bolshevik Revolution. On the European and Asian Continents, what government is not Socialist? I think it's a stretch to say Scandinavians, Germans and Poles are more susceptible to Socialist government than say Russians and Chinese. As they say, governments who rob Peter to pay Paul can count on Paul's support.

  13. Mark, for someone who doesn't live in the U.P. you pretty much summed up what functions up here as far as the geo political nature of things. My wife has been a state certified municipal clerk here for thirty three years and has seen the trend actually shift over time from a stronger Democratic base to a more conservative posture. There are probably more conservative Democrats than those of the liberal persuasion now. The area you spoke of that runs from Marquette to Hibbing, Minn. is called, The Iron Range. The US Steel Workers numbers are down considerably over the years and mining in general has taken a hit including copper and silver. The socialistic aspect that was prevalent during the days of the cooperative movement that was spawned by the influx of northern Europeans has pretty much died in the north central US and Canada,but the conservative mindset has lingered. I was Treasurer for a few Democratic candidates in local campaigns some years ago and I'll tell you that it's getting tougher in my location for a Democrat to get elected. Sable Pelt...Yoopers know which side their bread is buttered on even when it's free.

  14. Combine the French and the Finns and you have a majority in the UP. Before that, it was just US.

  15. Any democrat upnorth or south of the mighty mac that voted for Snyder has lost there bonkers!
    There is no welfare recipient here!

    There will be no "re-inventing of michigan" Just more special favors done for friends of the governor. The big "lets contract out everything" campaign started with john engler. Who watches these millions of dollars of loose change? no one..its harder to follow the money trail and thats how the big business guys like it. Oh by the way Mr. Syner has already chosen two of John Englers Cronies already to be part of his circus!

  16. Is it a coincidence that the two most liberal areas in Michigan are also the worst off? I believe they go hand in hand, and have for a very long time. History has once again shown that when the government is the provider, the people suffer.


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