An Attack on Cities

It is not news that demographic data poses long-term problems for the GOP–at least unless the party returns to its more responsible roots. For a decade or more, pundits have pointed to the disaffection of Latinos and other immigrant populations, the continuing Democratic self-identification of African-Americans, and the reduced religiosity and increasing social liberalism of younger Americans–characteristics that correlate with voting Democratic.

What has been less remarked-upon is the widening urban/rural political divide. In our familiar red/blue political map, cities are dots of blue in even the reddest states. And in America, as elsewhere, people are increasingly moving to the cities.

The political dilemma this poses for Republicans is obvious. Thus far, the party has responded with efforts to make it more difficult for poor people and minorities to cast their ballots, and (in states they control) with aggressive gerrymandering  aimed at diluting urban political power. (And yes, Democrats, in states they control, gerrymander too.)

Now, Ed Blum–who brought Shelby County v. Holder, the case that resulted in the gutting of the Voting Rights Act– is asking the Court to redefine “one person, one vote.”

Is Congress’s job to represent people, or just voters? Currently, all states are required to redraw their political boundaries based on the Census’s official count of total population every 10 years, which includes minors and noncitizen immigrants. But the Texas plaintiffs argue that states should be allowed to apportion seats based on where only U.S. citizens over 18 years of age live…..

A move toward counting only eligible voters, as logistically difficult as it may be, would drastically shift political power away from the urban environs with minorities and noncitizens, and toward whiter areas with larger native-born populations. That’s bad news for Democrats: Of the 50 congressional districts with the lowest shares of eligible voters, 41 are occupied by Democrats (nearly all are Latino-majority seats). Meanwhile, of the 50 districts with the highest shares of eligible voters, 38 are represented by the GOP.

Those “logistic difficulties” would be substantial, with opportunities for all sorts of mischief; the blog FiveThirtyEight notes that calculating the number of eligible voters would “require statistics that no one has.” (In a rational world,  Evenwel v. Abbott would never have made it to the Supreme Court for that reason alone.)

What this lawsuit really  highlights is that the partisan division between today’s Republicans and Democrats is also geographic, with Republicans primarily rural and Democrats, urban. (Of course there are Republicans in cities and Democrats on farms, but they are the outliers.) The problem for the GOP is that the U.S. population is increasingly urban–city dwellers vastly outnumber rural folks, and movement into metropolitan areas continues to accelerate. The problem for Democrats (and city dwellers) is that state governments are still largely controlled by rural interests, thanks to legal structures originally created for an agrarian nation.

There are plenty of flaws in the arguments advanced in Evenwel–practical, democratic and legal–and election law experts are quite properly focusing on those flaws. But at its root–and at the root of the increasingly hysterical attacks on “elitists” and “intellectuals” and “progressives”–is rejection of the values and diversity and complexity that characterize modern urban life.

That hysteria may attract insecure folks for a while, but over the long haul, resentment isn’t a viable political strategy.


  1. Resentment might not be good over the long haul, the Germans can understand that well. At least the majority of them.

    However, resentment does work. And CORNERING the “elitists” and ” intellectuals,” and “progressives” otherwise know (coded) as the Jews have always been the central plan of those financially supported by the Koch Brothers.

    I’m sorry to say all of this mess was germinated and unfortunately re-engineered from a series of economic lectures that I gave at the McLendon Corporation in 1969. That’s why I haven’t had a good nights sleep since then.

  2. My definition of the “long haul” is about 30 days.

    The Republicans need to take another road than the anti-Semitic/Racist one. That road is a dead end. It was closed in 1992 during a secret session of the US Civil Rights Commission which was convened in Jacksonville that year.

    Suicide is not a viable option.

  3. The argument that voting districts must respect only legal residents will win.

    The argument that voting districts must respect only registered voters will lose, as most citizens and legal residents affected by government action do not vote but are nonetheless entitled to representation.

    The Supreme Court cannot and will not sanction illegal immigration by requiring voting districts to respect the representational desires of illegal immigrants.

  4. Marv,


    If you’re in Jacksonville, just relax. It’s a great spot. There’s a Chick-fil-A at Marsh landing and A1A. Get yourself a nice lunch, and enjoy the beach.

    Jacksonville is probably the most “American-feeling” part of Florida.

  5. “increasingly hysterical attacks on “elitists” and “intellectuals” and “progressives”

    Politics is politics and a necessary evil but people more concerned with having a country in which politics can be played certainly see the stupidity in having one in which “elitists” and “intellectuals” and “progressives” have no influence. Apparently that’s a problem for future Republicans to solve.

    I think at the very root of this stupidity is the Reagan intellectual crumb of “government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem”. Of course what that implies is that business and religion are the solutions. They are all that’s needed. If we can just organize this things with the God of our choosing and those that He blessed with great wealth at the top (like the Reagans as an example) and everyone else in a supporting role than surely goodness will follow. You know, like the Dark Ages. (Interestingly enough that of course was rule by elitists who are not intellectual or progressive).

    BTW, if you have a minute glance through this.

    You will find not a hint of intellect. President Reagan was, not surprisingly, the best actor to ever have served as President. Just what we needed.

    Democracy was seen as a solution to the Dark Ages. Power shared by all those affected by government. No privileged groups. No elite. Not freedom from government but freedom to govern invested in all citizens.

    It sounds as trite as a Reaganism but democracy is, has been, and will be the solution to effectively governing a country. Let’s return to it.

  6. I have a first cousin once removed (by generation) that left Jacksonville recently because she said it was getting “too ghetto.” That was her words and she’s from the south, so that’s her code word for African American.

    We need a complete overhaul on our voting rights. Why do we even need to register? Every one over 18 should vote wherever they live.

    Have you ever heard of Voter Crosscheck? Google it. It keeps many voters from voting because states are ‘cross-checking’ names for duplicates or common ‘foreign’ names to eliminate possible democratic voters from the rolls.

  7. Poor Pete. That explains so much of what is wrong with your viewpoints.

    Shouldn’t you leave discussion of American affairs to those with a better grasp on what it means to be an American?

  8. I am an American. Always have been. I’ve also been fortunate enough to have seen alot of the rest of the world.

    The question that apparently neither one of us can answer is what “American-feeling” is.

  9. Speaking of an to intellectualism, here’s a little ditty that I wrote on Facebook today.

    “Some of us prefer to believe, despite the total lack of evidence to support it, that we are above or outside of the story of life here, the only place where we have evidence that life exists. Most of us have humored that arrogant ignorance too long. Now it risks destroying all sentient life that exists. Such is the power of ignorance.”

  10. Sid, nice racist slur, but I guess it’s fine, since the Left has no problem demonizing certain races and cultures.

  11. Runaway patriarchs? Okay, so cut away the per capita funds for public school minors (to 21 each for handlers, not 18 professionally) and have representatives only for adults, 21 on. Then adults can teach what they want to each other about capitalizing local schools in perpetuity, same as courthouses and jails. Immature parents do not wish to legitimately pay for child labor or labor for their children with handicaps, congenital anomalies, immature technological brain skills. . .of their own. They have left out the subordinates and superiors who complement one country per world, no matter how many nations with armies and governors within the mutually exclusive annexation lines. Back to back and bully to bully.

  12. @agingLgirl and Pete

    I hope YOU ALL are starting to get a real good picture of Jacksonville from the political “free space” provided by Sheila:

    Like the words “American-feeling” and”too ghetto” Um! I wonder what those phrases mean?

  13. The GOP is well aware of this demographic change and is rapidly moving to counteract it. Note the proliferation of massive apartments currently under construction in the center city. The plan, of course, is to return Center Township to the GOP. Shows just how shallow their thinking goes.
    Can’t they see that those who move to cities shortly become Democrats?

    But that is above their IQ pay grade.

Comments are closed.