THE MICHIGAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jason Moon 517-371-5410
April 14, 2006
MDP Applies to be a New Pre-Window State in 2008 Presidential Nominating Process
LANSING-Today Michigan Democratic Party (MDP) Chair Mark Brewer submitted an application for Michigan to be a new pre-window state in the 2008 presidential nominating process. Last month, the Democratic National Committee's (DNC) Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC) voted to have Iowa hold the first caucus, followed by 1 or 2 new caucuses, the New Hampshire primary, 1 or 2 new primaries and then the national "window" for all other caucuses and primaries would open. The RBC established an application process to determine which new states will be included. The MDP's application seeks to have Michigan to be one of the new pre-window states.
"No state fits all the criteria to be a new pre-window state better than Michigan. A racially and ethnically diverse state, Michigan will also bring much-needed regional, geographic and economic diversity, including union density, to the pre-window period. Michigan's loyal Democratic voters, who have carried this state 4 times in a row for the Democratic Presidential candidate, deserve an early voice in the nominating process," said Brewer. "Michigan has been devastated by President Bush's economic policies and there is no place better than Michigan for Democratic Presidential candidates to demonstrate their alternative policies."
No state fits all the criteria to be a new pre-window state better than Michigan. A racially and ethnically diverse state, Michigan will also bring much-needed regional, geographic and economic diversity, including union density, to the pre-window period. Finally, the Michigan Democratic Party has demonstrated its ability to successfully implement presidential preference contests of varying types with innovative features.
I. Racial and Ethnic Diversity
African-Americans comprise 14% of Michiganís population, above the national average of 12.2% Michiganís African-American voters are among the most loyal, if not the most loyal, Democratic voters in the United States Ė in 2004 John Kerry took 94% of the vote in Detroit, a city more than 80% African-American. Such results have occurred election after election.
The loyalty of Michiganís African-American voters to the Democratic Party should be recognized and rewarded by giving them a role in the pre-window period.
Michiganís population is diverse in several other ways. The Hispanic population is 3.3% of the total state population and Michigan has the 13th largest Mexican/Mexican-American population among the states, and the second largest in the Midwest. Asian-Americans represent nearly 2% of Michiganís population, close to their 4% share of the national population, and Michiganís Asian population is the 2nd largest in the Midwest. Michigan also has the largest Arab-American population in the country, in raw numbers and percentage.
In total, nearly 22% of Michiganís population is minority.
Finally, Michiganís ethnic diversity also means that Roman Catholics, a battleground population between the parties, comprise 20% of the Michigan population. Michigan Democrats won this battleground group for Kerry in 2004, one of the few states in which that occurred.
II. Economic Diversity, Including Union Density
As the prototype Midwestern industrial state, Michigan will add significantly to the economic diversity of the pre-window period. Indeed, no state has been hurt more by Bushís economic policies and because of that no state would better serve as the place to hold the economic policy debate among Democratic presidential candidates in 2007-08 than Michigan.
Michigan is not only a significant industrial state Ė it is also an economically diverse state with the agricultural, services, and wholesale/retail trade sectors, for example, providing levels of economic activity similar to the U.S. economy as a whole.
Michigan also easily meets the union density criteria. With 21% of its workforce unionized, only New York, Alaska and Hawaii have a higher percentage of their workforce unionized. Michiganís union membership has been very loyal to the Democratic Party. According to an AFL-CIO post-election survey in 2004, over 70% of Michigan union members voted for Kerry, making up over 20% of the Michigan electorate. Those loyal Democratic union members deserve a voice in the pre-window period.
III. Regional and Geographic Diversity
Because Midwestern industrial states such as Michigan have been and will remain pivotal swing states in Presidential elections, they deserve representation in the pre-window period. Michigan would add representation, currently missing, of the industrial Midwest to the pre-window period.
Michigan will be able to implement a pre-window contest.
With the exception of 1992 when the state held a closed presidential primary, the Michigan Democratic Party has been holding party caucuses of various types since 1980. For example, Michigan held an Iowa-style caucus in 2000 and a so-called ďstate partyĒ or ďfirehouse primaryĒ in 2004. Both were financed by the Michigan Democratic Party, which has leadership and staff experienced in holding such contests. The current Party Chair, for example, has been involved in every contest since 1984 in many capacities ranging from managing a caucus site to defending delegate selection plans in court to drafting the plan for and overseeing the last three (3) contests. We are thus capable of holding whatever type of contest the Rules and Bylaws Committee directs.
In addition to having the financial and administrative capabilities to handle the demands of an early contest, the MDP has also been innovative. For example the 2004 contest featured successful vote by mail and Internet voting components which made voting more convenient, substantially increased turnout and participation, and attracted favorable state and national media attention.
Concerns about frontloading do not overcome all of the merits of the application for at least three (3) reasons.
First, based on 2004 delegate allocations, Michigan represents only 3.6% of the pledged delegates. Such a small fraction of the delegates does not significantly add to the frontloading which already exists.
Second, if the bonus delegate system for later contests is adopted, Michiganís percentage of pledged delegates will shrink to about 3% in 2008. That further reduces any frontloading concerns.
Finally, the much-needed racial, ethnic, geographic and economic diversity and union density that Michigan will bring to the pre-window period far outweighs any small increase in frontloading.
The Democratic Partyís 2008
Presidential nominating process would be significantly improved by adding
Michiganís racial, ethnic, geographic and economic, including union density,
diversity to the pre-window period.
U.S. Census Bureau, 2004 American Community Survey.
U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000.
Id. The Arab-American communityís own research indicates that the Census Bureau undercounts Arab-Americans, perhaps by as much as a factor of 3.
North American Religion Atlas.
U.S. Census Bureau, 2002 Economic Census.
Monthly Labor Review, July, 2001 at 52.
Two small townships in Michigan
are subject to pre-clearance under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
Pre-clearance has been obtained in the past and we anticipate no problem
obtaining it for a pre-window contest.