Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad City?
An intriguing new video series from the Population Research Institute discusses the phenomenon of urbanization, in a fast-paced and entertaining way. This should be a topic of interest to every conservative, because urbanization has a dramatic effect upon national politics – just look at a 2012 county-by-county electoral map if you doubt it.
Big cities change the political outlook of their residents in many ways. For obvious reasons, they become more comfortable with the notions of central planning and large-scale “infrastructure” spending. A friend of mine who lived in a big city and voted for President Obama once confided that his outlook on national politics was largely shaped by his perception of public sector efficiency in his urban area. A lot of road work was getting done, and the public transportation systems worked well. Life in the city would be unbearable without such public works. Why not extrapolate that model into trillion-dollar “infrastructure” spending across the country? This friend was introspective enough to cheerfully concede that he might view things quite differently if he lived in a rural area.
Urbanization also leads to efficient political organization. Most of our big cities have very old, well-established, highly efficient Democratic political machines. Their ability to turn out votes was literally astonishing to Mitt Romney’s campaign team on Election Day. We famously ended up with some urban districts that voted one hundred percent for Barack Obama.
There is much talk about the urgency of Republicans making inroads with various demographic groups before the next election, including minorities, young people, and single women. It is equally important to make progress with urban populations as well, not least because all of those other key demographics tend to be strongly represented, and highly accessible to get-out-the-vote efforts, in big cities. The Population Research Institute approaches the question of urbanization from the perspective of overpopulation mythology, but there is plenty of information of interest to the student of politics as well. The sixth video in their series is below; the rest can be viewed at their “Overpopulation is a myth” website.