Making a better future for the next generation in Michigan.

Michigan vs. North Carolina — Experiments in Partisan Control

Jan 4, 2023 | Elections, Future, Government, Michigan, North Carolina, Political Parties, Politics | 0 comments

It’s Michigan vs. North Carolina again — but this time it’s not basketball. These two states are embarking on partisan experiments in governing for the next generation. In the 2022 election, Michigan voters gave control of all branches of their government to Democrats. North Carolina gave near-control of their government to Republicans. What happens next?

The 2022 election results should be a test of which party’s program – in states with similar demographics and economies — can deliver the best policy for their next generation to thrive as children in the near term and to live a good life as adults in the 2040s.

From 2018 to 2022, Michigan and North Carolina voters split control of their state governments between Democratic governors and Republican-majority legislatures. It took the agreement of both parties to change laws. After the 2022 election, things are changing…

What Happened In the Elections?

Led by the successful election campaign of Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer facing a weak opponent – and with voter enthusiasm for ballot initiatives and citizen-led redistricting – Democrats won control of both chambers of the Michigan Legislature for the first time since 1984, and solidified their control of the state’s Supreme Court.

In contrast, North Carolina Republicans preserved their control of a U.S. Senate seat in the year’s top race, flipped control of the state’s Supreme Court to a Republican majority, and almost achieved a “supermajority” in the state’s General Assembly (legislature). Their supermajority victory was complete when a Democratic representative flipped her party allegiance to the Republicans. The Republican Majority in the legislature can now override the Democratic governor’s veto on any partisan issue.

How Will the Parties Use Their Newfound Power?

Will Michigan Democrats go on a spending spree, building up debts for the next generation? Will they take away everyone’s guns and defund the police so families have to fear for their safety? Will they impose a twisted version of American history on schools so the next generation grows up despising their country? Or impose job-killing regulations on business, throwing parents into unemployment and despair?

Will North Carolina Republicans gerrymander their way to permanent majorities leading to cynicism and apathy in the next generation? Will they give tax breaks to business and the rich while starving social services and worsening child poverty?  Will they ease up on environmental regulation leaving a legacy of pollution for the next generation to clean up?

These are caricatures (I hope) of how the parties would act if they had their druthers. Time will tell how responsibly the parties use their new powers. Interviews with political leaders in both states generally include statements about working with the other party where they can find common ground, but holding firm on some key issues where they disagree. North Carolina Governor Cooper’s year-end interview is a good example.

Michigan and North Carolina are not alone in giving control to one party. Only 10 states have shared power between the parties, the lowest number since 1952. I will be watching and reporting on how this natural experiment unfolds right here on MI2040.org and NC2040.org. In the meantime, party leaders have given us clues about their intentions….

The Democratic Agenda for Michigan

The Republican Agenda for North Carolina

Your turn

Let me know how you see your state changing under one party control. How will it affect the next generation?

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