Biden’s journey to Saginaw County: A key indicator in Michigan’s pivotal electoral landscape

Yesterday, President Joe Biden made a trip to a key county in Michigan. 

During his visit in Saginaw County, the incumbent Democrat worked to strengthen his support in this key swing state ahead of the elections in November.

Bishop Hurley Coleman Jr., a longtime Saginaw minister, expressed anticipation for Biden’s visit prior to the event.

“There’s a lot of good stuff that this administration has done. And he knows that people need to hear it,” Coleman said. “President Joe Biden knows that if there is a place in America that he can tell his story to a people that need to hear it, Saginaw is that typical place.”

The allure of middle-class employment opportunities in the thriving auto industry attracted Coleman’s parents to Michigan from the South. This migration narrative is common among numerous Black families in the Saginaw community.

The late 20th century saw the onset of widespread layoffs, leading to a significant drop in Saginaw’s population and economic strength. This was coupled with an intense surge in political unrest, both within the city and the wider region. The height of this turbulence was reached in 2016, reflecting the pattern of economic strain experienced by numerous cities in the Rust Belt. This was the year the region cast their votes for the Republican party for the first time in many years, contributing to Donald Trump’s victory in the state. The shift of areas like Saginaw back to the Democratic side in 2020 played a part in Biden’s victory.

“People see it as a bellwether, I think to some degree,” said Tim Kelly, a former Republican legislator from the area. “And also, historically where Saginaw has been kind of pinpoint accurate on presidential elections.”

Saginaw, a Democratic stronghold, is surrounded by areas within the broader county that lean heavily towards a Republican vote. Saginaw County, often seen as a miniature representation of the state, has a track record of voting for the successful presidential candidate in the past four elections.