OK

My next stop in redistricting is Michigan, currently captured by a robust Republican gerrymander. Here, I present two maps: an aggressive 11–1–2 Democratic gerrymander and another, more robust but less aggressive, 10–1–3 Democratic map. The differences between the two maps all involve Central Michigan, especially in the Lansing and Ann Arbor areas.

In these maps, the benchmark I used was 55% Obama (2008). All projected Democratic districts except for MI-01 meet this threshold, and MI-01 doesn't have to due to its ancestral Democratic status. I assumed a three-point dropoff in Obama's 2012 performance in metro Detroit, a four-point dropoff in central and northern Michigan, and a five-point dropoff in western Michigan.

I tried to adhere to some of the extra requirements unique to Michigan. I minimized county and city splits to the furthest extent possible. I maintained the tradition(?) of having only one district crossing a single county border (e.g. only one district crossing the Wayne-Oakland border, only one district crossing the Oakland-Macomb border). The district are compact insofar that they allow Democratic dominance.

Let's now delve into the two maps. I will start with Map 1, the 11–1–2 Democratic map.

Map 1: 11–1–2 Democratic

11-1-2 Michigan
11-1-2 Detroit
Detroit
Details

MI-01 (blue) – Upper Peninsula/Northern Michigan: Marquette, Sault Ste. Marie, Bay City
Deviation: −469
Population: 92.0% white, 1.3% black, 1.7% Latino, 0.6% Asian, 2.6% Native American, 1.8% other
VAP: 93.3% white, 1.4% black, 1.3% Latino, 0.6% Asian, 2.2% Native American, 1.2% other
2008 election: 51.1% Obama, 47.1% McCain, 1.8% other
2008 PVI: R+2
Avg: 47.2% Dem, 52.8% GOP
Avg PVI: EVEN
Incumbent: Dan Benishek (R–Crystal Falls)
Rating: Lean Democratic

Given the narrow win by Benishek last year and this district being two points to the left of the current iteration, this district should go Dem but is never a sure hold.

MI-02 (green) – Western Michigan: Holland, Forest Hills, Grandville
Deviation: −41
Population: 89.9% white, 1.3% black, 5.4% Latino, 1.7% Asian, 0.4% Native American, 1.5% other
VAP: 91.8% white, 1.2% black, 4.2% Latino, 1.5% Asian, 0.4% Native American, 0.9% other
2008 election: 39.2% Obama, 59.2% McCain, 1.6% other
2008 PVI: R+14
Avg: 29.7% Dem, 70.3% GOP
Avg PVI: R+18
Incumbents: Bill Huizinga (R–Zeeland), Justin Amash (R–Cascade Township)
Rating: Safe Republican

The most conservative district in Michigan shifts seven points rightward and pits two incumbents in a battle royale: the classic conservative versus a Paulist. Who will the Dutch go for?

MI-03 (purple) – Western Michigan: Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Manistee
Deviation: +51
Population: 74.6% white, 11.3% black, 9.4% Latino, 1.6% Asian, 0.7% Native American, 2.4% other
VAP: 78.9% white, 10.2% black, 7.2% Latino, 1.6% Asian, 0.7% Native American, 1.4% other
2008 election: 57.5% Obama, 40.9% McCain, 1.6% other
2008 PVI: D+5
Avg: 45.6% Dem, 54.4% GOP
Avg PVI: R+2
Incumbent: none
Rating: Lean Democratic

A Republican can conceivably survive here, but it'll most likely go to a Democrat with a bit of a fight. Finally, a Dem congresscritter from western Michigan!

MI-04 (red) – Central Michigan: Traverse City, Mount Pleasant, Lansing
Deviation: +105
Population: 84.7% white, 5.5% black, 4.4% Latino, 2.5% Asian, 0.8% Native American, 2.2% other
VAP: 86.6% white, 5.3% black, 3.5% Latino, 2.5% Asian, 0.7% Native American, 1.4% other
2008 election: 55.9% Obama, 42.5% McCain, 1.6% other
2008 PVI: D+3
Avg: 45.9% Dem, 54.1% GOP
Avg PVI: R+2
Incumbent: none
Rating: Lean Democratic

Mark Schauer is running for governor, but a Lansing Democrat can run and win here.

MI-05 (yellow) – The Thumb: Flint, Lapeer, Sandusky
Deviation: −51
Population: 81.2% white, 12.7% black, 3.1% Latino, 0.7% Asian, 0.4% Native American, 1.8% other
VAP: 83.5% white, 11.7% black, 2.5% Latino, 0.7% Asian, 0.4% Native American, 1.2% other
2008 election: 58.5% Obama, 39.8% McCain, 1.8% other
2008 PVI: D+6
Avg: 50.7% Dem, 49.3% GOP
Avg PVI: D+3
Incumbent: Dan Kildee (D–Flint)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Instead of going north from Flint, it goes northwest to take in almost the entire thumb. Democratic performance goes down significantly, but Kildee should be safe.

MI-06 (teal) – Southwestern Michigan: Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph
Deviation: +92
Population: 80.1% white, 9.8% black, 5.4% Latino, 1.5% Asian, 0.5% Native American, 2.6% other
VAP: 83.4% white, 9.0% black, 4.2% Latino, 1.5% Asian, 0.5% Native American, 1.5% other
2008 election: 55.3% Obama, 43.1% McCain, 1.6% other
2008 PVI: D+3
Avg: 46.2% Dem, 53.8% GOP
Avg PVI: R+1
Incumbent: Fred Upton (R–St. Joseph)
Rating: Tossup

Upton isn't easy to knock off despite adding Battle Creek, but his retirement will spark an intense fight in this evenly split district.

MI-07 (gray) – Central Michigan: Midland, Saginaw, Ann Arbor
Deviation: −113
Population: 82.3% white, 7.5% black, 4.5% Latino, 3.5% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 1.9% other
VAP: 83.9% white, 7.1% black, 3.7% Latino, 3.7% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 1.2% other
2008 election: 58.1% Obama, 40.3% McCain, 1.6% other
2008 PVI: D+5
Avg: 49.2% Dem, 50.8% GOP
Avg PVI: D+2
Incumbent: Dave Camp (R–Midland)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Camp should find somewhere else to run, probably next door in MI-04. Or he can just retire. But he isn't going to survive here.

MI-08 (slate blue) – Metro Detroit/Southern Michigan: Dearborn, Taylor, Monroe, Adrian
Deviation: +48
Population: 85.1% white, 7.1% black, 4.2% Latino, 1.1% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 2.1% other
VAP: 87.0% white, 6.6% black, 3.5% Latino, 1.1% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 1.4% other
2008 election: 57.0% Obama, 41.1% McCain, 1.9% other
2008 PVI: D+5
Avg: 49.2% Dem, 50.8% GOP
Avg PVI: D+2
Incumbents: John Dingell (D–Dearborn), Tim Walberg (R–Tipton)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Dingell is not going anywhere anytime soon. Walberg will have to go somewhere else.

MI-09 (cyan) – Northern Detroit suburbs: Warren, Sterling Heights, Port Huron
Deviation: +68
Population: 82.7% white, 9.7% black, 2.3% Latino, 2.9% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 2.2% other
VAP: 85.4% white, 8.4% black, 1.8% Latino, 2.7% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 1.4% other
2008 election: 56.2% Obama, 41.9% McCain, 2.0% other
2008 PVI: D+4
Avg: 48.9% Dem, 51.1% GOP
Avg PVI: D+1
Incumbent: Candace Miller (R–Harrison Township)
Rating: Likely Democratic

Much of this district was represented by Sander Levin, but his residence is next door. He can run here, but he might run where he lives (which is a safer district) and yield this to an ambitious Democrat. Miller will not survive here.

MI-10 (magenta) – Exurban Detroit: Novi, Waterford, Washington
Deviation: +30
Population: 91.2% white, 2.1% black, 2.7% Latino, 2.3% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 1.4% other
VAP: 92.6% white, 2.0% black, 2.2% Latino, 2.1% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 0.8% other
2008 election: 43.9% Obama, 54.5% McCain, 1.6% other
2008 PVI: R+9
Avg: 34.8% Dem, 65.2% GOP
Avg PVI: R+13
Incumbents: Mike Rogers (R–Brighton), Kerry Bentivolio (R–Milford Township)
Rating: Safe Republican

An FBI agent versus a Santa Claus impersonator slash reindeer breeder. Shouldn't that be a movie? And if Candace Miller decides to run here, what should we name the three-way?

MI-11 (chatreuse) – Southern Michigan: Canton, Ypsilanti, Jackson
Deviation: +324
Population: 78.8% white, 10.7% black, 3.6% Latino, 4.2% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 2.4% other
VAP: 81.2% white, 10.2% black, 2.9% Latino, 3.9% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 1.5% other
2008 election: 55.8% Obama, 42.7% McCain, 1.6% other
2008 PVI: D+3
Avg: 45.6% Dem, 54.4% GOP
Avg PVI: R+2
Incumbent: none
Rating: Lean Democratic

The Obama percentage should mean this district goes blue, but there doesn't seem to be a Democratic base in the district other than a small one in Washtenaw County.

MI-12 (cornflower blue) – Northern Detroit suburbs: Farmington Hills, Pontiac, Troy
Deviation: −352
Population: 74.0% white, 11.6% black, 4.1% Latino, 7.9% Asian, 0.2% Native American, 2.2% other
VAP: 76.8% white, 10.8% black, 3.3% Latino, 7.3% Asian, 0.2% Native American, 1.5% other
2008 election: 58.2% Obama, 40.4% McCain, 1.5% other
2008 PVI: D+5
Avg: 46.1% Dem, 53.9% GOP
Avg PVI: R+1
Incumbents: Gary Peters (D–Bloomfield Hills), Sander Levin (D–Royal Oak)
Rating: Safe Democratic

With Peters running for U.S. Senate, Levin should have a clear shot here.

MI-13 (dark salmon) – Metro Detroit: Detroit, Lincoln Park, Trenton
Deviation: +336
Population: 35.3% white, 51.8% black, 8.8% Latino, 1.8% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 2.0% other
VAP: 38.0% white, 51.1% black, 7.3% Latino, 1.8% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 1.5% other
2008 election: 78.6% Obama, 20.5% McCain, 1.0% other
2008 PVI: D+26
Avg: 68.6% Dem, 31.4% GOP
Avg PVI: D+21
Incumbent: none
Rating: Safe Democratic

Hansen Clarke can make a comeback here.

MI-14 (olive) – Metro Detroit: Detroit, Livonia, Romulus
Deviation: −24
Population: 40.5% white, 53.5% black, 2.1% Latino, 1.6% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 2.0% other
VAP: 43.0% white, 51.8% black, 1.8% Latino, 1.6% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 1.5% other
2008 election: 76.9% Obama, 22.1% McCain, 1.0% other
2008 PVI: D+24
Avg: 67.3% Dem, 32.7% GOP
Avg PVI: D+20
Incumbent: John Conyers (D–Detroit)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Conyers should be safe, unless another scandal hits him.

Breakdown

6 safe Dem
1 likely Dem
4 lean Dem
1 tossup
2 safe GOP

There might be a hint of dummymander in this map, given the sharp dropoff in Democratic performance in 2012. Which gives rise to my second map, which concedes a district to the Republicans to shore up the more vulnerable Democratic districts. It's still miles ahead of the 9–5 GOP delegation that we have now.

----

Map 2: 10–1–3 Democratic

10-1-3 Michigan
Lower Peninsula. The Upper Peninsula is entirely in MI-01.
Six districts see changes between Map 1 and Map 2, so I will only list those districts here. The other districts are the same in both maps and can be referred to above.

MI-01 (blue) – Upper Peninsula/Northern Michigan: Marquette, Mount Pleasant, Bay City
Deviation: +135
Population: 91.5% white, 1.5% black, 1.9% Latino, 0.7% Asian, 2.6% Native American, 1.9% other
VAP: 92.7% white, 1.7% black, 1.4% Latino, 0.7% Asian, 2.2% Native American, 1.3% other
2008 election: 52.7% Obama, 45.5% McCain, 1.8% other
2008 PVI: EVEN
Avg: 48.9% Dem, 51.1% GOP
Avg PVI: D+1
Incumbent: Dan Benishek (R–Crystal Falls)
Rating: Likely Democratic

The district loses more of northern Michigan up to the Mackinac Bridge (which is barely in the district) and takes in Mount Pleasant in the Lower Peninsula's center. The district shifts a point and a half more Democratic, ensuring Benishek's defeat in this ancestral Democratic slash college town bastion.

MI-02 (green) – Western Michigan: Holland, Forest Hills, Grandville
Deviation: −223
Population: 89.4% white, 1.6% black, 5.7% Latino, 1.6% Asian, 0.4% Native American, 1.4% other
VAP: 91.3% white, 1.6% black, 4.4% Latino, 1.5% Asian, 0.4% Native American, 0.8% other
2008 election: 39.1% Obama, 59.2% McCain, 1.7% other
2008 PVI: R+14
Avg: 29.9% Dem, 70.1% GOP
Avg PVI: R+18
Incumbents: Bill Huizinga (R–Zeeland), Justin Amash (R–Cascade Township)
Rating: Safe Republican

The only difference between this district and the one in Map 1 is that it loses Osceola and Mecosta counties in exchange for Ionia County. Everything else remains the same.

MI-04 (red) – Central Michigan: Traverse City, Midland, Cadillac
Deviation: −4
Population: 92.5% white, 1.8% black, 2.6% Latino, 0.9% Asian, 0.7% Native American, 1.4% other
VAP: 93.5% white, 2.0% black, 2.0% Latino, 0.9% Asian, 0.7% Native American, 0.9% other
2008 election: 47.3% Obama, 51.0% McCain, 1.7% other
2008 PVI: R+5
Avg: 39.5% Dem, 60.5% GOP
Avg PVI: R+8
Incumbent: Dave Camp (R–Midland)
Rating: Safe Republican

This district is the third district conceded to the Republicans and Camp gets a new lease in political life.

MI-07 (gray) – Central Michigan: Saginaw, Lansing, Okemos
Deviation: −330
Population: 77.8% white, 10.9% black, 6.0% Latino, 2.6% Asian, 0.4% Native American, 2.3% other
VAP: 80.5% white, 10.1% black, 4.8% Latino, 2.7% Asian, 0.4% Native American, 1.4% other
2008 election: 59.2% Obama, 39.1% McCain, 1.7% other
2008 PVI: D+7
Avg: 49.2% Dem, 50.8% GOP
Avg PVI: D+2
Incumbent: none
Rating: Safe Democratic

This district loses Ann Arbor and Midland but gains Lansing, shifting two points leftward and ensuring a Democratic lock on the state capital.

MI-08 (slate blue) – Metro Detroit/Southern Michigan: Dearborn, Taylor, Monroe, Canton
Deviation: +503
Population: 80.9% white, 9.3% black, 3.6% Latino, 3.6% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 2.3% other
VAP: 83.2% white, 8.6% black, 3.0% Latino, 3.4% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 1.6% other
2008 election: 58.5% Obama, 39.8% McCain, 1.7% other
2008 PVI: D+6
Avg: 49.9% Dem, 50.1% GOP
Avg PVI: D+2
Incumbent: John Dingell (D–Dearborn)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Again, Dingell is not going away anytime soon. In fact, if given this district he's more likely to return.

MI-11 (chatreuse) – Southern Michigan: Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Marshall
Deviation: −227
Population: 80.4% white, 8.4% black, 4.2% Latino, 4.2% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 2.5% other
VAP: 82.4% white, 7.9% black, 3.5% Latino, 4.3% Asian, 0.3% Native American, 1.6% other
2008 election: 60.2% Obama, 38.3% McCain, 1.6% other
2008 PVI: D+8
Avg: 50.0% Dem, 50.0% GOP
Avg PVI: D+3
Incumbent: Tim Walberg (R–Tipton)
Rating: Safe Democratic

Ann Arbor now dominates its congressional district and can send Walberg packing.

Breakdown

7 safe Dem
2 likely Dem
1 lean Dem
1 tossup
3 safe GOP

The tossup is still MI-06 (Upton), while the lean Dem district is still MI-03. MI-11 becomes safe Dem, MI-01 becomes likely Dem, and MI-04 becomes safe GOP. Compared to Map 1, Democrats will have a firmer grip on their districts, allowing them to accrue seniority and (hopefully) thin the GOP bench.

Poll

Which map do you like better?

31%10 votes
68%22 votes

| 32 votes | Vote | Results

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.