When Will All the States Look Like Michigan? Not Soon Enough.
I’m often stopped on the street and asked, “Mike, what’s it like, living in a state where there’s not a single white man in charge?”
In 2018, after 181 years of white men holding the power in this former “Michigan Territory” that was once forced to “bribe” President Andrew Jackson in 1836 by naming eight of its counties after him and seven of his slave-owning cronies in order to convince him to grant Michigan statehood, the citizens of my home state in the 21st century had seen enough.
So, yes, they went to the polls in 2018 (and again in 2020 and 2022) and removed all the white men from the top seven statewide offices: Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Speaker of the House, the Senate Majority Leader, and the President of the State Board of Education.
Not one white man was left standing. (“You will not replace us!” Yeah. We did. And it only took about 3 minutes in the voting booth. ) And just to add insult to injury, the voters of Michigan tossed scores of men out of the Michigan Senate and House. Now women make up the majority of both houses in the Legislature and both houses are majority Democratic.
So now my state is entirely run by women and people of color. They’re all Democrats, and to sweeten the pot, the voters also made the majority of the Supreme Court Democratic — with the majority of the justices being women (including one moderate Republican woman who was also the chief legal counsel to the Flint water-poisoning former governor). Also, the majority of the State Board of Education are Democrats and the majority of them are women. The State Treasurer is a Democrat and a woman. And for the first time in years, the majority of our Members of Congress that Michigan sends to D.C. are Democrats — and 71% of them are women. And on and on. I think you’re getting the picture.
Yes pictures! I work in the visual medium! Look at all the Democratic women and people of color in leadership positions in Lansing, our State Capitol:
How did we do this?
First, we had a proposal on the ballot to make gerrymandering illegal and voting easy and accessible, especially in poor and Black neighborhoods. This passed in a landslide and it resulted in a massive turnout in the Black community.
Then we had another constitutional amendment on the ballot to make marijuana completely legal. That brought out a record number of youth voters. I don’t have to tell you that young people hate Trump, Republicans, the patriarchy, bigots, misogynists, voter suppression, guns, the current U.S. Supreme Court, dad jeans, grandpa humor, a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, having to pay $15 to see just one movie at a theater when they can watch hundreds for the same price on Netflix — and finally, they really hate and resent that we’ve handed them a planet in ecological collapse.
So if you want a record turnout of young, women and Black voters in your state to elect progressives, women, people of color, LGBTQ+, etc., then you must gather the signatures and put one or all of these five proposals on your next ballot:
1. Legalize marijuana;
2. Raise the minimum wage to $20 an hour;
3. Prohibit your State National Guard from being sent to foreign wars;
4. Make all state colleges and trade schools tuition free;
5. Create a State bank to make low or no interest loans to first-time home buyers.
Then watch what happens. If you need a reminder, just scroll back through those photos again and see the people we elected to run the state of Michigan. Your state could look like this, too. Please share this with friends and families in other states. Thanks.
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