Today, four-fifths of the population lives in an urban area — the highest percentage in our history. Although the country remains largely suburban, one in 12 Americans lives in a city of over a million people. More than ever, they are stakeholders, owning where previous generations rented, creating their own jobs and opportunities. Traditional liberal bastions like the Upper West Side of Manhattan are now filled with the owners of co-ops and condominiums worth hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars. Over 140,000 New Yorkers in all — or nearly 4 percent of the labor force — work out of their homes. The percentages are even higher in Los Angeles and Chicago. Most of these individuals are skilled, highly educated “job creators” for themselves and others — the very demographic that Republicans claim to want to attract…

The dynasty of Republican mayors begun by Richard G. Lugar in Indianapolis had a prophetic champion in the Buffalo congressman Jack F. Kemp, who tried hard to provide Republicans with a potential urban agenda when he was secretary of housing and urban development under the first President Bush. Mr. Kemp insisted that the party denounce racism and pioneered urban “enterprise zones” — there are over 800 of them today — and even tried to extend the idea of the urban stakeholder movement to the residents of public housing projects by allowing them to buy their own homes…

THE potential for change, should Republicans start shouting from the rooftops about cities, is enormous. Constituencies change parties — and in America, parties change constituents, opening them up to the concerns of others, because of the need to form broad, national coalitions. A Republican Party seeking to actively win cities, not just vilify them or suppress their vote, could open the party up to all sorts of new immigrant voters, like Asian and Latino Americans — and maybe even bring back part of an old voting bloc: black people.