In historic shift, Democrats won the Grosse Pointes

November 29, 2020, 10:29 AM


As goes southeast Michigan, so goes the nation. If it's not a phrase used by political prognosticators, it ought to be. 

Metro Detroit's voting patterns are shifting in concert with a larger pattern that has residents in affluent suburbs across the country voting Democratic, at least when Trump is on the ballot. And that trend extends to the Grosse Pointes, where Biden reportedly won or nearly tied in four of five of the historically Republican enclaves. 

According to a report by the Free Press, the Pointes were growing purple in the lead up to the election with more young and Black people moving in. Whether the area turns solid blue will likely depend on who's on future ballots, but some are optimistic the change will stick:

(Greg Bowens, founder and first president of the Grosse Pointes-Harper Woods NAACP Branch, who has lived in the Grosse Pointes for more than a decade and once had the N-word written on his home,) cited a few reasons for the change ... including the formation of the NAACP branch as well as marches, such as the women’s march, the LGTBQ march and Black Lives Matter marches across the Grosse Pointes.

... "People are getting used to the idea of real diversity here.” He said Black and brown people now work in the front offices at the schools and are seen in leadership roles.

Four black residents reportedly serve on city councils and a school board in the Pointes. The first Black councilmember was appointed in 2018.

But as the Pointes, and Oakland County, lean more Democratic, blue-collar Macomb is turning red, creating a conundrum for Democrats who were once universally viewed as party of the working class.

Biden's gains — and the rejection of Trump — in traditionally Republican suburbs was perhaps summed up best by New York Times election and demographics reporter Nate Cohn, who recently spoke on the Times' podcast, The Daily:

"I think there are a lot of rich white people ... who have been voting for their tax cuts for a very long time but Donald Trump crossed a line with them in terms of his personal conduct and they (can afford to) vote on what they feel and think about him as a person in a way that other people are not inclined to do."

Read more:  Detroit Free Press

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