Celebrating 51 consecutive years of one party governance


In the War of 1812, when Detroit was taken by a remarkably small number of British troops without a shot being fired, Michigan’s Governor Hull was said to have been panicked into surrender after drinking heavily. Two centuries later, after an almighty 50-year bender, the city surrendered to itself. The tunnel from Windsor, Ontario, to Detroit, Michigan, is now a border between the First World and the Third World — or, if you prefer, the developed world and the post-developed world.

To any American time-transported from the mid 20th century, the city’s implosion would be literally incredible: Were he to compare photographs of today’s Hiroshima with today’s Detroit, he would assume Japan won the Second World War after nuking Michigan. Detroit was the industrial powerhouse of America, the “arsenal of democracy,” and in 1960 the city with the highest per capita income in the land. Half a century on, Detroit’s population has fallen by two-thirds…

210 of its 317 public parks have been permanently closed; it takes an hour for police to respond to a 9-1-1 call; only a third of its ambulances are driveable; one-third of the city has been abandoned; the local realtor offers houses on sale for a buck and still finds no takers…

late on Friday, some genius jurist struck down the bankruptcy filing. Judge Rosemarie Aquilina declared Detroit’s bankruptcy “unconstitutional” because, according to the Detroit Free Press, “the Michigan Constitution prohibits actions that will lessen the pension benefits of public employees.” Which means that, in Michigan, reality is unconstitutional.

Here are a few more depressing statistics on the city, and one that stands out. Does it surprise you that during the half century of decline, the city has exclusively elected mayors from one political party?

2 Responses to “Celebrating 51 consecutive years of one party governance”

  1. gs Says:

    Which means that, in Michigan, reality is unconstitutional.

    What first crossed my mind is a smart-alecky concurrence like And pi is 3, but that doesn’t hold up under a second thought. No, we’re more in Pi is 17 territory.

  2. Everyman Says:

    I’ve seen no commentary of any kind from my alma mater, the University of Michigan, just a few miles west of Detroit, in Ann Arbor, a proud progressive enclave. Has there been any? Or are the academics, so accustomed to a lofty place in our society, now hiding from the realities of what Detroit has become, and will inevitably be?

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