I find it silly that Dingell has any district at all to run in after all this time. He’s gone from an era where Detriot had multiple districts within the city and could elect white Democrats* to now when Detriot no longer has *one* district wholly in its boundaries and both have mostly black populations. Do his current constituents at all resemble the constituents he represented when he was first elected in 1955?
* Actually, the election of Gary Peters shows a white Democrat could still be elected from a Detriot-based district, but lately I was doubting even the possibility that it could happen.
No, I don’t believe one square inch of Dingell’s original 1955 district remains in the one he’s in now. The old one was essentially created in 1932 and was a diagonal/rectangular strip that ran north/northwest from the Detroit River at the downtown. There were a few similar adjacent ones at the time (all created in 1932 since there hadn’t been redistricting in some time and Detroit’s booming growth had occurred over the prior 20-30 years).
The city had something like 6 districts at the time (post-1932). For the most part, those districts remained essentially intact until the 1960s when Detroit entered its severe decline that has continued unabated. The White ethnics that held those districts that had to either run against each other or retire.
In 1964, they had to redistrict the seats to create a second Black district (for John Conyers) and after that time, Dingell’s seat gradually moved to the south and west. Now it goes (post 2013) from western Wayne County all the way past Ann Arbor and west of there (the latter of which was Republican suburbia decades ago before the Academic Democrat moonbats transformed it).
Curiously, Ann Arbor Democrats don’t like Dingell. They consider him a relic of the old Labor/Blue-Collar Detroit (and pro-NRA, viscerally anathema to them). Their preference was for former Congresswoman Lynn-Nancy Rivers, who was forced to run against him in 2002 and lost (when by all accounts, he should’ve retired).
What was left of Dingell’s original district eventually was absorbed into one or both of the two Black districts by the ‘70s and ‘80s. Of course, with the rapidly deteriorating population of Detroit, even Conyers’ district had to move towards more of suburbia. Following the 2002 redistricting, the districts had to enlarge even more (the size of the districts now resemble the pre-1932 dimensions, albeit with different demographics).
The other Black district (non-Conyers) has had troubled members representing it since it first elected a Black in 1954 (preceding Conyers by a decade, and had been Republican as recently as 1949). As we well know, the mother of the corrupt Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick held the seat concurrently with her son (Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick). She almost lost the primary in 2008, and finally fell in 2010 to Hansen Clarke. Clarke’s problem from the get-go was that he won an election just prior to redistricting and simply didn’t have a good hold on the district.
The district Gary Peters held was Republican until 2006 (and had been for decades prior). Since MI was going to have to shed another seat, it was logical to target Peters as the GOP failed to regain the seat in 2010 (though coming with 2%, but Peters won with 49%) and move the GOP areas of the district to the adjacent seats. Again, with Detroit’s continual loss of population going into 2012, (which was now only enough to have 1 seat, although it was divided between two in order to maintain 2 Black members, but with a substantially lower % of Black population) meant that it would have to take in even more of the suburbs.
Clarke’s district would now have to take in a large swath of Oakland County, which included parts of Peters’ district. Ordinarily, I’d have thought that Clarke would’ve had an edge, if only on race, but he faced a problem in 2012, and that was divided Black opposition (where a Black suburban Mayor decided to run). Because there’s no runoff, it turned out that Peters had the edge (and I have no doubt that Democrat primary voters broke on racial lines). He took Oakland County and won with a plurality of 47%. Clarke took Wayne County, but only mustered 35%. Two other Black candidates (Mayor Lawrence and a State Rep.) took the critical 15% from Clarke. So, for the first time since 1952, a White won Michigan’s premier Black district (greatly augmented from its original lines, of course... under the current lines in 1952, a Republican would’ve won).
Presuming Peters doesn’t take a run for Governor in 2014, it will be curious to see if he draws a major Black primary opponent or faces a divided field of Black opponents. It’s not entirely out of the question that a Black could win it back in an open primary, but it depends upon if one racial group gets behind a single opponent. Whichever one has a divided field will likely be the one that loses.
Here in TN, we have White Democrat Steve Cohen representing Memphis’s 9th district, despite the fact that Blacks make up the overwhelming majority of primary voters. Cohen lucked out initially in 2006 due to a divided Black field in the primary (and no runoff). He should’ve been toast in 2008, but in that and the successive primaries, he has benefitted from astonishingly poor challengers whom have run solely on the race card, which have all blown up in their faces, as Black primary voters choose Cohen. If in 2006 you’d have told me he’d have been in office this long, I’d have thought you were nuts.