Michigan Democrats Look to Avoid the Joe Manchin Experience in State Legislature

Michigan Democrats Look to Avoid the Joe Manchin Experience in State Legislature
AP Photo/David Goldman, File
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Oh, Michigan, my Michigan. You never are boring, like Iowa or some other state that the kids in public schools can not find on a map if their lives depended on it.

Now I’m going to fully disclose here that this is an inside baseball post about how the Michigan Democrats have taken control of the Michigan House and Senate by one seat in each chamber and what they are doing. If this is not your cup of tea, you most likely only watch C-SPAN when a marathon vote for Speaker of the House is occurring and you think the founder of that channel, Brian Lamb, is not a national treasure. However, this information is critical to how the sausage that we all complain about is made and I find it interesting, thus here we are.

The Michigan GOP was not unique in losing seats back in November 2022 as the national GOP underperformed and the “red wave” that had been predicted turned into a mere red puddle for the whole country. Here in the Great Lake State, the Grand Ole Party lost control of the House of Representatives and the Senate (which, in the latter case, they had held control of for almost 40 years).

Just a brief reminder for those that may have forgotten former President Barrack Obama’s declaration after his 2008 election that, “elections have consequences” we here in Michigan are about to experience the result of the failed midterms for the GOP.

The beginning of those consequences has started to be felt in both chambers in Lansing where the Democrats are packing the committees with their own members to make sure that all the bad stuff gets through with little to no opposition from the Republicans.

Now, this might seem like it is not a big deal but you always need to dig a little to get a sense of what our elected officials are doing in the name of the people for our benefit.

From Michigan Information & Research Service (MIRS):

This term, the number of panels an average majority Senator is sitting on is nearly double what it was in 1987, another year in which the partisan breakdown was 20-18.

Democratic senators this year, on average, will be serving on 7.75 legislative committees and appropriations subcommittees each, a historically high number among Michigan’s previous majority caucuses. The average Republican will serve on 4.22.

On the House side, it is pretty similar.

The same dynamic is playing out in the House, but the numbers are not as dramatic due to the larger membership.

This year for the House, the average Democratic representative – part of the party’s latest 56-54 seat majority – was calculated to have had 4.25 assignments for the 2023-24 term. Meanwhile, Republicans were assigned to an average of 2.59.

During the 2021-22 term, when Republicans held a 58-52 majority in the state House, conservative lawmakers served on 3.9 panels each, on average. Democrats at the time had a calculated committee-assignment average of 2.85.

When Republicans held a 56-54 majority in the House during the 1995-96 term, similar to the one held by Democrats today, the average conservative lawmaker was on 3.75 committees and the average Democrat 2.76.

The Democrats now control the Governor’s office, the Attorney General’s office, and the Secretary of State’s office. Also, now that they have control of both chambers of the legislature and “technically” the Michigan State Supreme Court, we are now in line for a biblical reckoning that will be just short of locusts swarming.

We can’t just rule that part out yet, either.

So why are the donkeys here worried about an effect from some United States Senator from West Virginia that seems to be a thorn in the side of his party leaders in Washington D.C.?

Well, it seems that Michigan Speaker of the House Joe Tate and Senate Majority Leader Winnie Brinks want to stack the deck however they can to make sure that bills fly out of committee with no worries of defections from fellow Democrats that might actually be paying attention to the will of the people who sent them there. Furthermore, there has been talk of possibly getting a Democrat to flip in either chamber to give a tie which would slow down the high-speed rail legislation to destruction we are in for.

Of course, these are just rumors, but actions always speak louder than words and the leadership in both chambers may have tipped their hand just a bit of what they are thinking with these actions. Wouldn’t it be great if one Democrat would flip to the GOP?  Yet first, the party leadership of the state needs to show it is ready to put the past behind it and that will not be decided until the state party meeting next month.

As I mentioned above the behind scenes stuff can be pretty dry but will help you better understand what the talking heads will eventually report and hopefully you will be a bit wiser about all this.

Now if we could just get the leaders of this state to stop saying “MICHIGANDER” we could all rest easier as Michigainians.

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