Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

GOP Support in Oakland County Has Crumbled, Showing Nationwide Weakness in Wealthy Suburbs

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Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

Zack Stanton of Politico says Oakland County’s shift is due to demographic changes, Democratic strategy and the decline of the Republican Party in affluent, longtime GOP suburban communities.

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Oakland County has historically been a reliable supporter of the Republican Party, partly due to its majority white and wealthy population. However, in the past 20 years the county has been voting for more and more Democrats in elections. Writer Zack Stanton says there are many reasons for the Democratic transition of this former Republican stronghold, like an increase in the educated population and rejection of Trump-affiliated Republicans. 

When you look at a place like Oakland County, it doesn’t take a lot of examination to find out what’s happening. It’s pretty evident to anyone who’s involved in politics there.” —Zack Stanton, Politico 

Listen: Zack Stanton on what turned Oakland County from red to blue.


Zack Stanton is a writer for Politico. He recently wrote a piece titled “As Long as the Party Embraces Trump, It’s Going to Have Trouble.” He says there are a combination of factors all happening at the same time contributing to the county’s decline in GOP support. “What happened basically over the last 20 years are sort of small, seat-for-seat gains by the Democratic Party while at the same time we see demographic changes.” Stanton says Oakland County’s shift didn’t happen overnight; it’s slowly been showing signals of these trends over the past few decades. “When you look at a place like Oakland County, it doesn’t take a lot of examination to find out what’s happening. It’s pretty evident to anyone who’s involved in politics there.” 

Stanton says while the Republican Party being associated with Trump has garnered support in some areas, this association is what’s harming GOP support in Oakland County. “What’s happening in Macomb County is essentially the mirror image of what’s happening in Oakland County.” He says the Republican Party has lost track of the type of politics that win in Oakland County, “The Democratic party did put forward moderates … that is what both parties need to do in order to be successful … You need to find people who are good fits for the districts.”

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