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Republicans need an Urban wing

by Phantom Ace ( 4 Comments › )
Filed under Headlines, Republican Party at January 24th, 2013 - 11:12 pm

Just 2 generations ago, the Republican Party was competitive in Urban and Suburban areas. Now the GOP is almost extinct in Cities and surrounding suburbs. This is one of the factors why they have lost the popular vote in 5 out of the last 6 elections and have won only 2 out of 6. This situation has enabled the Democrats to get an iron grip on certain states and have an advantage in the electoral college. The GOP has abandoned Urban areas and is suffering politically because of it.

Republicans took an all around shellacking in the 2012 elections. Part of the reason is that Democrats dominated the cities. President Obama won 69% of the big city vote, according to a New York Times exit poll analysis. Some of this is perhaps on account of the racial makeup of the cities, as blacks overwhelmingly vote Democratic. Yet it’s clear that, even among the upscale white urbanist crowd, Republican policies and candidates are finding few takers.

This bodes ill for the Republicans, but also for the future of cities. Most places suffer when under single-party rule, whether liberal or conservative. This has plagued big cities. Chicago, for example, doesn’t have a single Republican member of its city council. For a long time Republicans dominated large tracts of the suburbs.


Cities can benefit from Republican ideas on a variety of fronts. As Harvard Economist Ed Glaeser points out in City Journal, Republicans have been leaders in ideas around urban crime reduction, education reform, and privatization and rationalization of city services.

Unfortunately, Republicans have largely abandoned the urban playing field, preferring to condemn the cities as cesspools of Democratic corruption, high taxes, and decay. The Republican party today is largely driven by exurban and rural leaders, as well as populist movements like the Tea Party, with values that are not widely shared by urban dwellers. This has not only cost the party votes, but, critically, it has left it on the outside looking in on many debates, as culture is shaped in large urban centers where Republicans have little voice.

It’s well past time for Republicans to take cities seriously again. This starts with valuing urban environments, and respecting (or at least taking time to understand) the values of the people who live there. For example, urban dwellers expect and indeed require a higher level of public services than many suburban residents.

The GOP definitely needs an Urban strategy. But I highly doubt this will occur in the near term. Meanwhile Democrats can continue to enjoy their electoral dominance.

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4 Responses to “Republicans need an Urban wing”
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  1. randian
    1 | January 25, 2013 12:27 am

    Most places suffer when under single-party rule, whether liberal or conservative

    Then it should be easy for the author to name a city “suffering” under Republican rule.

  2. unclassifiable
    2 | January 25, 2013 8:02 am


    First lets dispense with prior discussions.

    I am leaning towards abandonment.

    You obviously are not.

    Understandable. You I would guess are probably in or have been in a left leaning urban environment. I am in a GOP/Right suburban stronghold.

    OK. Now the stuff we did not discuss.

    I am a peripheral member of the county Tea Party. Like you, I don’t have all of the time I would like to have to get involved but I do contribute financially. And I do talk to the ones who are involved.

    A while back during the Obamacare debacle, we invited a prominent emeritus member of the state and local NAACP organization. We as an organization were upset that we were portrayed as racists and wanted to discuss the allegations. In turn things moved on from there towards the fact that we (the Tea Party) had to reach out into the community. The hat was passed around and an outreach initiative was launched.

    In getting back the more active leaders of the county Tea Party we had a rather painful after election discussion. Within that several faults were discussed but prominent among them was the fact that the outreach program was initiated and executed in earnest. As it turned out it was an utter failure.

    Initially they would distribute flyers (I think the usual technique was to go through the churches — ask permission, explain your purpose, hand out flyers after service outside of the church). The initial meetings would get 10 or so folks. Next meeting a little more or a little less (it varied). And then nothing. I mean zilch. Keep in mind there is always a standard set of inducements for political meetings: recognized local speaker, food, non-alcoholic drinks, some goodies to auction/give away (this was not electioneering since it was for getting a local Tea Party started).

    Through back-channeling it was learned that the local Democratic organization had put out the word that these attendees would be “identified”. The actual language that was used was “someone got to them”.

    This is what you/us are fighting.

    Now we could discuss a change in strategy or approach or message but I want to point out one thing.

    As had been discussed in a different context, you cannot win unless the will and the capability to resist is shattered.

    Now this is not war but it is similar.

    So while we are not talking about leveling a city, we are talking about the consequences of Progressive policies doing about the same thing.

    Below is a link to a video that illustrates my point:

    I have no idea if Paul McKinley just woke up one day and saw the light but it certainly seems so.

  3. 3 | January 25, 2013 10:41 am

    @ unclassifiable:

    Even the Suburbs are now falling to Democrats. The GOP is rapidly becoming a rural Party. yes the Democrats strong arm people, but the GOP did abandon Urban areas in the 90’s. It’s a combination.

  4. darkwords
    4 | January 26, 2013 3:59 pm

    The low info urban voter response to the national enquirer. no taxes on alcohol. Collect welfare but get the govt out of my life.

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