It’s a given in American politics that urban centers are essentially Democrat strongholds. There is no point in Republicans or conservatives competing there because you’re simply not going to gain any votes or find any agreement on key policy points. This can be attributed to both economic and demographic factors. The low income urban communities are predominantly composed of minority voters and they stand with the Democrats in numbers which are too daunting to contemplate. The majority of the wealthy tend toward the limousine liberal crowd who can afford destructive taxes and have the leisure time available to dictate proper life choices to others no matter how they live their own lives. (Be sure to take a limo or a private jet to your next climate change conference.)
But is this changing? Joel Kotkin at Real Clear Politics looks at the numbers and finds that while urban population centers are still large, they are not growing in relation to the exurbs and rural areas, and they’re also not turning out to vote in the same numbers as they did in the heyday of the Democrats.
This urban economy has created many of the most unequal places in the country. At the top are the rich and super-affluent who have rediscovered the blessings of urbanity, followed by a large cadre of young and middle-aged professionals, many of them childless. Often ignored, except after sensationalized police shootings, is a vast impoverished class that has become ever-more concentrated in particular neighborhoods. During the first decade of the current millennium, neighborhoods with entrenched urban poverty actually grew, increasing in numbers from 1,100 to 3,100. In population, they grew from 2 million to 4 million.Some 80 percent of all population growth in American cities, since 2000, notes demographer Wendell Cox, came from these poorer people, many of them recent immigrants.
Such social imbalances are not, as is the favored term among the trendy, sustainable. We appear to be creating the conditions for a new wave of violent crime on a scale not seen since the early 1990s. Along with poverty, public disorderliness, gang activity, homelessness and homicides are on the rise in many American core cities, including Baltimore, Milwaukee, Los Angeles and New York. Racial tensions, particularly with the police, have worsened. So even as left-leaning politicians try to rein in police, recent IRS data in Chicago reveals, the middle class appears to once again be leaving for suburban and other locales.
When Democrats begin looking at these types of numbers in a serious fashion they must be asking a question which conservatives have been pondering for some time. Who has been running things in the cities for decades now? The Democrats. And how’s that working out for you? Crime rates in the cities have been – and remain – epic. You can try to blame vast social conflict on the police if you like, but the fact is that the police go where the crime is. The social infrastructure in so many large cities has simply collapsed and it’s all taken place on the watch of the liberal Democrats who rule the roost. They whip up their voters into a frenzy every election cycle, warning of the dangers of the Republicans who hold no power over their lives, but it is under their leadership that you saw the current mess develop.
On the upper end of the scale, particularly in places like New York City, there is a jarring contrast which is hard for the Democrat base to ignore. How do you talk about income inequality and the evils of the fat cats when it’s those same fat cats financing the election of the same Democrats over and over again? Isn’t there a bit of a disconnect there?
Looking at the numbers in that article I have have to wonder if Barack Obama – by virtue of being able to generate racial empathy – might be the last Democrat who will turn out large numbers of voters in the cities. What does Hillary have to offer them which is any different than the policies which have seen New York’s murder rate skyrocket once again and Baltimore going up in flames?