Time for a new Michigan Democratic party chair
It is time for Mark Brewer to go. That’s the sentiment of most the party’s politicos.
The Michigan Citizen talked to many people for the story on the upcoming election of a new state Democratic Party chair. Most wouldn’t go on the record but agreed it’s time for change. Many stated they didn’t want to make this an anti-Brewer campaign. Others said, simply, “It’s time for new energy.”
All, however, want results from the Michigan Democratic Party, which they don’t believe they have been seeing. Some framed the issue in terms of big losses; others cite lack of organization, no fundraising ability, no technological innovation and overall ineffectiveness.
Either way, Brewer, who has been chair since 1995, is no longer producing results for the party. During his tenure, he has had a particularly contentious relationship with Detroit. Brewer did not loudly oppose the Emergency Manager (EM) law nor actively participate in the campaign for its defeat. The EM law is particularly important to Detroit, Benton Harbor and other majority-Black cities either under financial management or threatened with it. Those who opposed the EM law understood it effectively disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of Black and Democratic voters. There are several theories that speak to the destruction imposed under EM laws. One is that they disenfranchise communities not just by removing elected officials from office but also, by extension, weaken local democratic party machines.
The MDP has also notoriously blocked new talent, especially Black talent that has emerged from Detroit. Ever wondered why voter participation has dwindled or Detroit doesn’t get candidates who enthuse? Consider the MDP’s role in discouraging organic leadership by blocking anyone who doesn’t share the same political ideology of a party that helped make the career of Andy Dillon, former Democratic House Leader turned Democratic candidate for governor to Republican governor’s administration executive.
Brewer has relied on Detroit’s turnout to deliver results for Michigan but has done very little, if anything, to take up policy concerns that would help Detroit.
Party leadership, organization and machines have been destroyed in Southeastern Michigan — a strong Democratic region. With the removal of Kwame Kilpatrick and the scandal of Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, the political organizations of the region have been all but obliterated. Brewer has put no effort into rebuilding or building new groups that would take their place. We will undoubtedly see the results of this lack of effort for years to come unless strong political candidates emerge.
Finally, it was Brewer’s political maneuver, along with then Gov. Jennifer Granholm, Debbie Dingell and others in 2008, to move up the primary that caused a great upset to democrats statewide. In addition to losing half of Michigan’s delegates during the year the first Black president would be elected, Michiganders were also denied the chance to vote for Barack Obama for president in the primary. The move was self-important and political gamesmanship at a time when the party’s base, Black Detroiters, should have been respected. Some of that gamesmanship could have been better utilized through the years to build a strong party that could support policy and people that will make a better Michigan.