Urban Areas

The Division Of The Suburbs Politically: Inner Vs. Outer

Indications are that suburbia, traditionally Republican for decades, is changing.

Political observers see two areas of suburbia–the inner suburbs near major urban areas, and the outer suburbs, much further away and closer to rural areas.

The inner suburbs have become more racially and ethnically diverse, and are tending toward the Democratic Party, as in California’s Orange County as just one example in the Midterm Congressional Elections of 2018.

Meanwhile, the outer suburbs are seemingly very loyal to the Republican Party, since there is far less diversity further away from the cities, and reflect the conservative values common to rural America.

The fact that the inner suburbs are tending Democratic should be a good sign for the party in the Presidential Election of 2020, but whether what happened in 2018 is a trend, or an exception, is hard to assess at this point.

Democrats Won Much Bigger Victory Than Thought On Election Night, Could Be Transformative For Long Term

As more seats are flipping in California, at least four of the 14 previously Republican held seats in the House of Representatives, it looks as if the “Blue Wave” is larger than what occurred for the Republicans in 2010 and 1994, and already is the most for Democrats since 1974 after the Richard Nixon resignation, and the highest percentage voting since 1966, when the Republicans gained seats under Lyndon B. Johnson, in the midst of the Vietnam War escalation.

It is now likely that the Democrats will have gained about 40 seats in the House of Representatives, but also significant are the gains of Democrats in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia; Dallas, Texas; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and the gaining of a majority of House seats in Arizona.

It is now possible to say that Suburbia has become more likely to leave the Republicans behind long term, and join urban areas against the constant support of the rural areas of many states for the Republicans.

White rural America is fighting the tide toward urban and suburban educated people, women, racial and ethic minorities, young people, and independents who are abandoning the Republican Party.

It is clear that the Trump Republican Party is losing out in the long run, just as occurred in California in the 1990s when Republican Governor Pete Wilson worked to pass discriminatory legislation against Hispanics in the state, with the result being overwhelming Democratic control in the state legislature, in state executive offices, and in Congress, where the monopoly of Democrats has become a flood.

We can now imagine a turn in the next decade of Arizona, Texas, and Georgia toward support of the Democrats in Presidential elections by 2024 and 2028 for sure, and once Texas goes that direction, the Presidency is safe in the hands of Democrats.

Already, the Northeast and New England are Democratic strongholds, and the Midwest now has Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota controlled by Democratic Governors in time for reapportionment of seats after the Census of 2020. And in the Mountain West, we see Democrats doing very well in New Mexico, Colorado, and Nevada, and having the first Democratic Senator in Arizona in more than thirty years. The Pacific Coast of California, Washington, Oregon and Hawaii are also solid.

So even though Ohio and Florida were not bright spots for the Democrats, the old adage that Ohio matters may not matter, and realize that the Buckeye State had a split personality on Election Day, as Democrat Sherrod Brown won an overwhelming victory, even though Republican Mike Dewine defeated Richard Cordray.

Florida is not yet settled at this writing, as a recount is going on, but it could be that Florida will be seen as an outlier, and despite their being the third largest state in population and electoral votes, if and when Texas goes “blue”, and joins California and New York, it might not matter what happens in Florida.

State Politics Much More Complicated Than Often Realized: The Cases Of New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Texas, California

Anyone who follows American politics historically and contemporarily often seems unaware of the complexity of state politics around the nation.

We hear discussion of “Blue” states and “Red” states, but state politics is much more complicated that that.

Gerrymandering often distorts the reality of political loyalties in many states, and also the reality of about one third of voters being “Independent”, rather than loyal to Democrats or Republicans.

There are many examples of this across the nation, particularly noticeable in larger, more populated states.

Just a few examples:

New York State is often thought to be strongly Democratic, but not true in the state legislature, and New York City is vastly different in political culture from upstate New York areas, such as Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany. Even Long Island, Nassau and Suffolk Counties, often reflect different views than the five boroughs of New York City, and within New York City, Staten Island, is vastly different from Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn, with Queens County more balanced than the other boroughs in the city.

Pennsylvania is a state where gerrymandering has given the Republicans until now a great advantage, but new court ordered mandates may change that balance in Congress and the state legislature. Philadelphia has a very different political orientation than western Pennsylvania, often called “Alabama” outside of the city of Pittsburgh.

Virginia is well known to have a very liberal Democratic northern section (often called NoVa), reflecting the influence of being the Washington DC suburbs, while much of the rest of the state is reliably conservative and Republican.

Florida is strongly Democratic in the southern counties, particularly Broward and Palm Beach Counties, with somewhat less so in Miami Dade County due to the influence of Cuban Americans, but even that is diminishing, since it is now 60 years since the rise of Fidel Castro, and those directly affected negatively by Castro, are mostly no longer part of the population in Miami. At the same time, Central Florida is the real battleground in the state, the area that decides most elections. North Florida is much like Alabama or Georgia, its neighbors.

Ohio is strongly Democratic in the northern and central sections, particularly in Cleveland and Toledo, and the capital of Columbus, but in the more rural parts and in southern Ohio, near Kentucky, including Cincinnati, it is strongly Republican.

Illinois is dominated by Chicago in the northern part, but down state Illinois is much more Republican in orientation.

Michigan has Detroit as strongly Democratic but in western and northern Michigan, it is much more rural and Republican.

Texas has Democratic strongholds in the state capitol, Austin, and in Houston, while other portions of this very large state, including the rural areas, are strongly Republican.

California has Democratic strongholds in San Francisco and Los Angeles, but the Central Valley, San Diego, and cities like Bakersfield, where House Majority Leader and possible next Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy resides, are strongly Republican.

The next race for the Speaker of the House could be between two Californians of totally different mentalities–Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco and Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield.

A basic reality is that urban areas are always much more likely to be Democratic while rural areas are certain to be more Republican.

Suburban areas are what often decides the politics of a state and in Congress and the Presidential election, as they are the balancing force that determines a state vote, and recently it seems clear the suburban areas, often Republican, are starting to move away from that long time loyalty.

Millennials Surpass Baby Boomers In Numbers, And Are Solidly Anti Trump In Various Polls

Millennials (those born from around 1978 to the early 2000s) have become the largest number of people in the population, surpassing Baby Boomers (those born from 1946 to 1964) in numbers, and indications are clear that they are solidly anti Trump in various polls.

The Baby Boomers were considered liberals and anti Vietnam War in the 1960s and 1970s, and yet now, many of them are among the most conservative in the nation, particularly in rural areas, where they tend to be heavily non college educated and alienated from racial and ethnic minorities.

But even the college educated Baby Boomers tend to be, as a group, much more oriented toward preservation of their Social Security and Medicare benefits, and less concerned about what happens to the younger generations, other their own families and friends.

This is a disconcerting situation, but adds to the general statement that when young, one tends to be more liberal and progressive, and when older, one becomes more conservative and right wing, and “territorial” in their views.

In the urban areas, Baby Boomers, much more diverse in religion, race, and ethnicity, are more likely to remain liberal and progressive.

It is time for the Millennials to speak up and get involved in the political system, as they will inherit the tragic circumstances of Donald Trump, and it will be up to them to return America to the social commitments and values of the younger Baby Boomers of the 1960s and 1970s.

Rural America Under Attack By Republicans And Donald Trump, Undermining Their Future

It is ironic that Donald Trump has declared war on Rural America, the part of the nation which put him over the top in the Electoral College.

Rural America is dying, as its portion of the national population is rapidly declining, but they still have enough impact that they could help to put Donald Trump over the top, with the hope that his pledges to revive dying industries would occur, such as the coal industry in Appalachia.

Now these rural citizens are discovering that the so called Trump Health Care plan will cut their medical benefits dramatically, and close down rural hospitals, and therefore, insure many more deaths over time, all due to the obsession with destroying ObamaCare, rather than work to improve it.

Trump’s promotion of the race and religion cards skillfully manipulates the rural citizens of the South, Midwest and the Great Plains, and Mountain West to vote Republican, while their state legislatures continue to favor the elite wealthy, and cut back on education, health care, and protection of the elderly, sick, and disabled.

Donald Trump and his party are the most right wing they have ever been, and they are further undermining the future of Rural America, but only when the citizens finally understand what is happening, will there be any chance of bringing Rural America forward into the 21st century, while Trump and the Republicans are preventing any progress toward a more unified America.

Is it any wonder why more and more young people are fleeing the rural areas of the nation toward the urban areas, which have rejected the right wing philosophy of the GOP?

The hope is that over time the Republican Party will finally pay for its sins against Americans who are too naive and ill informed to recognize it in the present.

Old Urban-Rural Battle Among States Now Battles Between Cities And Rural Areas Within The States!

The story of much of American history is the struggle and battles between the growing urbanization in America, and the desire of small town, rural America to keep “traditional values”.

So the South, heavily rural historically, has always held back against reform and change, and switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party in the half century since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 under President Lyndon B. Johnson.

But now, in 2016, we are seeing a revolt, an uprising of growing urban areas and university towns in the South against “traditional values”!

So we see urban areas in many Southern states promoting becoming “sanctuary cities” for illegal immigrants; supporting gay and transgender rights; calling for minimum wage laws to be reinforced and to promote raises; and working to undermine the Confederate flag as an appropriate symbol in 21st century America!

These growing urban areas include such locations as Raleigh-Durham, Charlotte and Greensboro, North Carolina; Charleston, South Carolina; Atlanta, Athens and Savannah, Georgia; Gainesville and Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Jackson, Hattiesburg, and Oxford, Mississippi; Birmingham, Alabama; New Orleans, Louisiana; Little Rock and Fayetteville, Arkansas; Nashville and Knoxville, Tennessee; San Antonio, Dallas and Houston, Texas; and Louisville, Kentucky. The Democratic Party is growing in these areas, and African Americans and Latinos are a good percentage of that growth, and university towns are also part of the massive changes that are occurring toward progressive change.

But the rural dominated Republican legislatures are passing state pre-emption laws that deny these localities the ability to set up their own regulations and laws. Ironically, it means these Republican states are fighting to take away local controls, while fighting on the national level against centralized authority of the federal government!

The Growing Democratic Party Suburbs: The Death Knell Of The Republican Party!

Traditional views of American politics tell us that the cities, the urban areas, are overwhelmingly Democratic in loyalty; that the suburbs, which blossomed after World War II, are Republican, as people escape the city and urban problems, and are heavily white; and that the exurbs, those areas much further away from the cities, are Republican, along with the widespread land we consider rural areas.

So as long as the Republican Party wins the suburbs, the exurbs, and the rural areas,a they can be competitive and win national elections.

But it is now apparent by statistics that the suburbs are rapidly turning Democratic, as they have become no longer white “flight” havens, but instead have become a mix of Americans of all races and religions and cultures, and sadly, poverty has come to the suburbs, in some ways almost as badly as in the cities, due to the Great Recession.

The Republican refusal to accept that poverty is not the fault of citizens, but of circumstance, and rejection of the concept that everyone should be entitled to health care, is having a long range effect on Americans living in the suburbs.

It is not just economic factors, but also social factors, such as the issues of gay marriage, abortion rights, labor rights, concern about the environment, education, and the recognition of the need to adjust to a changing American society, which is also helping the Democrats, as the Republicans come across as mean spirited, biased, prejudiced, uncaring about anyone except the wealthy, and refusing to recognize the demographic changes that have developed in suburbs, as well as the cities.

So a political party that thinks it can survive and prosper on the basis of winning the exurbs and the rural areas is a party in total denial, as while there are massive land areas where these people live, the percentages of population living in those areas is miniscule, compared to the larger population numbers in the suburbs, as well as the cities.

While many Congressional districts can be gerrymandered and give the Republicans greater influence than they should rightfully have in the House of Representatives, their agenda and public persona of their leadership insures that the cities and the suburbs will be majority Democratic for a long time, giving the Presidency and the Senate to the Democrats. In the long run, this guarantees that the future Supreme Court , and even the lower courts, will be heavily influenced by Democratic Presidential appointments, which are considered and approved by the Senate, where Democrats need to fight to keep control so that they can promote the agenda of Democratic Presidents, and resist a Republican House majority based on artificial conditions, that can eventually be turned over to a Democratic Party majority over time.

A Long Range Vision For The Future Of American Transportation: Bullet Trains

As America continues to grow in population and become more congested on the coastlines, in Texas, and in the Midwest around Chicago, there needs to be a long range vision for the future of American transportation.

In the past, we had the transcontinental railroad system, promoted by Abraham Lincoln and others in the 1860s.

We also had the interstate highway system, originally promoted by Dwight D. Eisenhower in the 1950s.

Now we need other Republicans, which Lincoln and Eisenhower were, to join hands with Democrats, and people of good will, to recognize the need to commit funding to the long range vision of bullet trains in key areas of the nation, highly congested areas, which are already being strangled by traffic jams, no matter how fast road building and expansion go on.

It is also an issue of the automobile never going down in cost, and the gasoline utilized going sky high in price, and unlikely to go down very much in the long term future.

More and more young people are seeing the cost of automobiles, and fewer are buying cars and using cars, preferring to use modern technology and live closer to urban areas, as the great suburban expansion is winding down.

Therefore, for the reason of costs of automobiles and oil, plus the desire to live closer to metropolitan areas, and the traffic congestion which is exasperating to millions, the future is in bullet trains that will travel between major cities all over America.

Florida Governor Rick Scott made a mistake in rejecting the idea of a bullet train between Tampa and Orlando, with connections down to Miami, and Florida will suffer for it in the long term future.

But there are other areas that really need to plan ahead for bullet trains, including:

The Northeast Corridor between Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC.

The Midwest Corridor, centered around Chicago, but including Detroit, Milwaukee, Cleveland and St Louis at a minimum.

The Texas Corridor, connecting major cities in this gigantic state, including El Paso, Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, and Houston.

The California Corridor, connecting the state capital of Sacramento with San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

If we do not recognize the value of these bullet train projects, and the environmental and transportation advantages, we will pay for it in the long run. We cannot afford to be ostriches with our heads in the sand, but instead need a long range vision, as Lincoln and Eisenhower had!

IntraState Discontent: Suggestions To Break Up States Growing, But Unlikely To Occur!

A movement to break up states, and therefore create more Senate seats and overcome the influence of urban areas on rural and suburban populations, is starting to grow.

The suggestion has been made to create a new state of Southern California, consisting of 13 million people and 13 counties, but not including Los Angeles.

California is not the only state which has experienced this kind of movement. It is actually very common, at least in people’s imaginations.

Florida has seen the debate over creating a separate Southern Florida state. Upstate New York and downstate Illinois have long wished for separation from New York City and Chicago.

Northern Virginia has thought of itself as separate from the rest of Virginia, with the influence of Washington, DC over the area. And western Pennsylvania has wished to be separate from Philadelphia influences over state affairs.

Northern Ohio with Cleveland has long seen itself as different from Southern Ohio and Cincinnati, and Michigan is often seen as Detroit and a separate western Michigan.

And of course, the giant state of Texas has often been seen as multiple states, with the rivalry of Houston vs. Dallas-Forth Worth; the influence of Austin and San Antonio as the most liberal part of the state; and the Panhandle of Lubbock and other communities as totally different from the others.

So in theory, if all the wishes expressed for separation were to occur, we would not have 50 states, but more likely, at least SIXTY-ONE states!

But is this going to happen at any point in the future? Don’t put betting money on it!