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  Talk Elections
  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion
  U.S. Presidential Election Results (Moderators: Torie, ON Progressive)
  A Michigan Question
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Author Topic: A Michigan Question  (Read 878 times)
Oldiesfreak1854
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« on: September 24, 2012, 06:12:43 pm »

Looking at some of the Michigan county maps here on the Atlas, I've noticed that Nixon beat Kennedy in Genesee County in 1960.  I also accessed the Michigan Manual 1961-62 from one of my local academic libraries, and it shows that the Republican candidate for Governor that year, Paul Bagwell, also carried Genesee County.  Since Nixon lost both Michigan and the election (even though the latter was one of the closest in our history), because Bagwell lost, and especially because of Democratic strength in Macomb County at that time due to unions, I wonder why that is.  Flint is one of the birthplaces of union labor, and if unions were as strong in Genesee County then as they were now, this strikes me as odd, given Macomb County voted heavily for JFK and John B. Swainson (the Democratic candidate for Governor).  Did the rural areas of Genesee County simply overpower Flint???  Some theories on this would be nice.
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mileslunn
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« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2012, 01:22:59 am »

Looking at some of the Michigan county maps here on the Atlas, I've noticed that Nixon beat Kennedy in Genesee County in 1960.  I also accessed the Michigan Manual 1961-62 from one of my local academic libraries, and it shows that the Republican candidate for Governor that year, Paul Bagwell, also carried Genesee County.  Since Nixon lost both Michigan and the election (even though the latter was one of the closest in our history), because Bagwell lost, and especially because of Democratic strength in Macomb County at that time due to unions, I wonder why that is.  Flint is one of the birthplaces of union labor, and if unions were as strong in Genesee County then as they were now, this strikes me as odd, given Macomb County voted heavily for JFK and John B. Swainson (the Democratic candidate for Governor).  Did the rural areas of Genesee County simply overpower Flint???  Some theories on this would be nice.

I am guessing rural de-population probably as well as perhaps white flight.  Genessee County has a large African-American population and like many manufacturing areas it seems a large chunk of the white population moved elsewhere thus reducing their influence.  As for Macomb County, I believe it has a large Catholic community so the fact JFK was Catholic may have had a reason.  Also many of those of Southern and Eastern European ancestry voted heavily Democrat until Reagan whereas not so anymore.  In many ways the Polish, Italians, French-Canadians, and Irish were like the Latinos today in terms of voting patterns.
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Oldiesfreak1854
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« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2012, 06:57:15 pm »

Looking at some of the Michigan county maps here on the Atlas, I've noticed that Nixon beat Kennedy in Genesee County in 1960.  I also accessed the Michigan Manual 1961-62 from one of my local academic libraries, and it shows that the Republican candidate for Governor that year, Paul Bagwell, also carried Genesee County.  Since Nixon lost both Michigan and the election (even though the latter was one of the closest in our history), because Bagwell lost, and especially because of Democratic strength in Macomb County at that time due to unions, I wonder why that is.  Flint is one of the birthplaces of union labor, and if unions were as strong in Genesee County then as they were now, this strikes me as odd, given Macomb County voted heavily for JFK and John B. Swainson (the Democratic candidate for Governor).  Did the rural areas of Genesee County simply overpower Flint???  Some theories on this would be nice.

I am guessing rural de-population probably as well as perhaps white flight.  Genessee County has a large African-American population and like many manufacturing areas it seems a large chunk of the white population moved elsewhere thus reducing their influence.  As for Macomb County, I believe it has a large Catholic community so the fact JFK was Catholic may have had a reason.  Also many of those of Southern and Eastern European ancestry voted heavily Democrat until Reagan whereas not so anymore.  In many ways the Polish, Italians, French-Canadians, and Irish were like the Latinos today in terms of voting patterns.
So you think it's because Genesee County isn't as Catholic?
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Benj
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« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2012, 08:23:56 pm »

Flint was hit relatively late by the economic decline that began in Michigan in the 1950s and 60s. While Detroit's population peaked in 1950 and had declined dramatically by 1960, Flint's population peaked in 1960 (and at the time it was the second-largest city in Michigan). In 1960, Macomb County was already suffering from "peak employment" in the Detroit auto industry, but Flint's economy was booming.

Flint was also almost entirely white prior to the 1960s (when some middle class blacks fleeing Detroit's decline settled in Flint, triggering white flight).

Michigan was Republican when the economy was doing well, mainly because the workers used to believe that they had shared interests with their employers. The end of boom ended that perception.
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mathstatman
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« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2015, 04:30:06 pm »

Wayne, Macomb and Oakland Counties were nearly half of MI's population in 1960 (compared to less than 40% today). Kennedy won these 3 counties combined, 62/38 while losing the rest of the state 40/60. Genesee, which was probably less Catholic and less urban, was actually one of Kennedy's best counties in MI in 1960 outside the tri-county area.
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