Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Are Conservatives Fresh Out of Ideas for Cities?

 

In the conservative state of Texas, the largest city that regularly elects a conservative mayor is Fort Worth. Across the nation, it is uncommon for midsize and large cities to elect right-of-center mayors. The notable exception would be New York City, which has elected Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg in recent memory.

Why do conservatives struggle to win elections in big cities? Do conservatives have any policy solutions that appeal to urban dwellers? Do city residents reluctantly turn to conservative candidates to address hard issues like rampant crime or budget crises, or after preferred candidates face personal corruption scandals?

Kevin D. Williamson, roving correspondent of National Review sat down with The Urbane Cowboys Podcast to talk about cities and urban policy. The Urbane Cowboys asked Williamson why conservatives and libertarians struggle to get elected in cities, and if conservative policy is ill-suited for densely-populated cities.

According to Williamson, conservative candidates fail to show enough interest in issues that are important to city residents. For instance, city residents depend on public services like mass transit, to commute to and from work. If conservatives are to appeal to city residents, they must take a pragmatic approach as opposed to a purely ideological one. To be more relevant to city dwellers, conservatives need policy approaches that recognize the reality that taxpayer dollars will be spent on public services like mass transit, infrastructure, and other public goods. Conservatives shouldn’t allow an inclination to privatize public services stymie innovation if privatization is not politically feasible.

Williamson also indicated that residents reinforce the differences between mid-to-large size cities and rural communities by where they choose to live. Free people select cities or towns based on their lifestyle choices and career opportunities. Essentially, conservatives tend to prefer smaller, close-knit, communities with more freedom; whereas, liberals tend to favor urban areas with big city amenities. Mobility, while a good thing, enables self-selection of neighbors and surroundings.

The nation is becoming more urban, and cities are becoming the new laboratories of democracy. Conservatives must offer policy solutions that improve public services, empower economic opportunity, and expand personal freedom if they wish to govern outside of rural America. As times change so must policy.

Doug McCullough, Director of Lone Star Policy Institute

Photo credit: Jon Bilous

There are 50 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Arahant Member

    How about big city mayors who are called Democrats, but govern more like conservatives?

    • #1
    • October 29, 2018, at 6:36 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  2. I Walton Member

    Cities are where most governance should take place. Much of it can be privatized or eliminated to the benefit of all other than folks who live off much of it, but that is a lot of people who vote. Reducing housing costs not by affordable housing rip off but by zoning and building code changes we always complain about, but who will take that on? Folks who already own homes don’t want prices to fall. School choice can be done locally can it not? But folks who bought expensive homes to gain access to the best public schools don’t want to open their school to outsiders. Local issues cut across so many interests it’s not easy, but the question is crucial because, as I said that is where most governance should take place. Conservatives like decentralization and bottom up government, but it’s tough. Really a great important question. Once we’ve stopped complaining about Washington and state houses, what do we do?

    • #2
    • October 29, 2018, at 7:02 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  3. The Reticulator Member

    Excellent post and excellent questions.

    If Giuliani and Bloomberg are the best examples of “right of center” urban leadership, then I would say the cause is hopeless and we may as well give up. But I hope there are others.

    Conservatives usually favor local self-government to the greatest extent possible. But that usually depends on geographically defined boundaries, and while there are such boundaries in urban areas they are very porous. Everything is interconnected. It’s hard to say that one jurisdiction begins here and ends there. But even in rural areas you don’t have such distinct jurisdictions any more. A movie that shows the bad guys barely escaping across the county line to another county where the sheriff can’t chase them doesn’t make much sense any more even in rural America.

    I’ve sometimes wondered how the concept of local self-governance could be re-introduced with school governance. A lot of people value their neighborhood schools, even in urban areas, and protest when the local schools are closed. But how could we get back to a system in which parents and local communities control their schools and have primary influence on curriculum and the hiring and firing of staff? That’s a very conservative idea, but I’m not sure that modern conservatives, given their opposition to multiculturalism, would support it. 

    I have a vague recollection that @marci once may have given an example in a discussion, and that I never followed up on it.

    • #3
    • October 29, 2018, at 7:34 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  4. Chuck Thatcher

    DougMcCullough: In the conservative state of Texas, the largest city that regularly elects a conservative mayor is Fort Worth. Across the nation, it is uncommon for midsize and large cities to elect right-of-center mayors. The notable exception would be New York City, which has elected Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg in recent memory.

    I struggle with the concept that these two, and particularly Bloomberg, are conservatives.

    The mayor of Ft. Worth may be conservative, I know less than nothing about him. But Ft. Worth is an anomalous city in many ways.

    How can a Conservative get elected in Metropolis? Simple: Give up your principles and become a Democrat. Given that your school systems have been training up good little socialists for a generation and that a third your population is on the dole, that’s just the way it is.

    I would also observe that the small towns with which I am familiar do not function as conservative enclaves although in state and federal elections they may well go conservative – or at any rate Republican.

    • #4
    • October 29, 2018, at 7:51 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  5. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk andJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Hypothesis: Constitutionally, cities are not co-equal levels of government but rather subordinate to the states. Therefore, the most “successful” municipal politicians will be those who can best get along with the bureaucrats at the state capital. Republican politicians tend to be more independently-minded, which means their platforms and programs are more likely to be stymied by bureaucrats at the state capital.

    • #5
    • October 29, 2018, at 8:30 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  6. Full Size Tabby Member

    I think it is inherent for people in urban areas to favor big government. Living in a population dense area requires you to depend on others to get basic tasks accomplished. Once you are dependent on others for those basic tasks, having government do them makes it easy – you don’t have to think about those specifics anymore. So, you start defaulting to having government take care of more of the things in your life.

    So, conservatives (advocates of smaller government) are always going to have an uphill climb.

    Some inroads might come from repeatedly pointing out how badly government does these basic tasks, and that the marketplace might do – and in some cases already does – the job better. Google, Apple, and various other techie companies in Silicon Valley and San Francisco (with their luxury buses) do a much better job of getting employees to work than does the (government) San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency or the (government) Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

    • #6
    • October 29, 2018, at 8:44 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  7. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk andJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    I think it is inherent for people in urban areas to favor big government. Living in a population dense area requires you to depend on others to get basic tasks accomplished. Once you are dependent on others for those basic tasks, having government do them makes it easy – you don’t have to think about those specifics anymore. So, you start defaulting to having government take care of more of the things in your life.

    So, conservatives (advocates of smaller government) are always going to have an uphill climb.

    Some inroads might come from repeatedly pointing out how badly government does these basic tasks, and that the marketplace might do – and in some cases already does – the job better. Google, Apple, and various other techie companies in Silicon Valley and San Francisco (with their luxury buses) do a much better job of getting employees to work than does the (government) San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency or the (government) Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

    This strikes me as a bit of “begging the question”, since it presumes that “conservative” = “smaller government”. This does not necessarily have to be the case. “Conservative” and “progressive” can also mean a different preference for where municipal resources should be invested.

    e.g. Should municipal taxes go towards roads, bridges, water, power, sewers, snow removal, etc. or should municipal taxes go towards arts funding, “public health” advocacy, diversity advocacy, parades, festivals, etc.?

    • #7
    • October 29, 2018, at 9:10 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  8. Valiuth Member
    ValiuthJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Arahant (View Comment):

    How about big city mayors who are called Democrats, but govern more like conservatives?

    Well that’s interesting. Do you have an example? 

    • #8
    • October 29, 2018, at 9:50 AM PDT
    • Like
  9. Valiuth Member
    ValiuthJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    think it is inherent for people in urban areas to favor big government. Living in a population dense area requires you to depend on others to get basic tasks accomplished. Once you are dependent on others for those basic tasks, having government do them makes it easy – you don’t have to think about those specifics anymore. So, you start defaulting to having government take care of more of the things in your life.

    What are these tasks? And don’t rural voters depend on the government for these serivces too? The one difference I can think of is that cities make more tasks economically viable to perform. You could never cost effectively run a public transportation system for rural areas. 

    But police, schools, fire departments, all are run by the government rural or urban. Hospitals, electricity, water, garbage, are all basically various forms of government/private monopoly systems. What is left? for rural people to do for themselves that urban people don’t do likewise? 

    • #9
    • October 29, 2018, at 9:54 AM PDT
    • Like
  10. Hang On Member
    Hang OnJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Much of what city governments do is look for state and federal funds with lots of strings attached. So there is not that much freedom of action.

    The politicians in city governments also tend to build patronage by handing out grants/tax breaks to those who are developing key project areas that are highly visible and get publicity. The developers then kick in campaign contributions. Potholes aren’t as sexy as the new hotel on the waterfront. Yet filled in potholes are arguably more useful to citizens than new hotels. 

    • #10
    • October 29, 2018, at 10:48 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  11. Jack Shepherd Coolidge

    It would be a lot easier to elect conservatives if cities themselves were smaller. When you have to find one candidate to appeal to a city like, say, Los Angeles, the one who promises to give away more free stuff is always going to win. No matter if, as is the case in, say, Los Angeles, decades of governing this way has resulted in the city in question being basically bankrupt.

    • #11
    • October 29, 2018, at 1:11 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  12. The Reticulator Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    I have a vague recollection that @marci once may have given an example in a discussion, and that I never followed up on it.

    Oops. I should have said @marcin

    • #12
    • October 29, 2018, at 1:30 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  13. Full Size Tabby Member

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    think it is inherent for people in urban areas to favor big government. Living in a population dense area requires you to depend on others to get basic tasks accomplished. Once you are dependent on others for those basic tasks, having government do them makes it easy – you don’t have to think about those specifics anymore. So, you start defaulting to having government take care of more of the things in your life.

    What are these tasks? And don’t rural voters depend on the government for these serivces too? The one difference I can think of is that cities make more tasks economically viable to perform. You could never cost effectively run a public transportation system for rural areas.

    But police, schools, fire departments, all are run by the government rural or urban. Hospitals, electricity, water, garbage, are all basically various forms of government/private monopoly systems. What is left? for rural people to do for themselves that urban people don’t do likewise?

    Before we get to whether government does a task, I’m thinking of whether you or someone else does a task. In non-urban areas, people mow their own lawn, paint their own house, drive themselves to work. They may repair their own cars (and have space to do so). In dense urban areas people depend on someone else (the apartment or condo manager) to run the elevators so they can even get out the front door of the building. They have no maintenance responsibility beyond the interior walls of their unit. They may not drive a car to work. They have not even the opportunity to do for themselves. So, they’re immediately dependent on others. That’s not a bad thing, but dependent on others for every task makes it easy to consider “government” as the others. 

    Although people in less urban areas depend on government services, they can imagine ways other than government services to accomplish the task. In the town I recently moved out of, multiple private contractors handled trash pick-up. In both my former town and new town the hospitals are run by private organizations. If something needs doing, even if they’re not going to do it themselves, they are more likely to know personally or through a personal connection someone who could and would do it. 

    • #13
    • October 29, 2018, at 1:36 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  14. Randy Webster Member

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    But police, schools, fire departments, all are run by the government rural or urban.

    We have a volunteer fire department. The government has nothing to do with it. It’s by subscription.

    • #14
    • October 29, 2018, at 4:12 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  15. TBA Coolidge

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    think it is inherent for people in urban areas to favor big government. Living in a population dense area requires you to depend on others to get basic tasks accomplished. Once you are dependent on others for those basic tasks, having government do them makes it easy – you don’t have to think about those specifics anymore. So, you start defaulting to having government take care of more of the things in your life.

    What are these tasks? And don’t rural voters depend on the government for these serivces too? The one difference I can think of is that cities make more tasks economically viable to perform. You could never cost effectively run a public transportation system for rural areas.

    But police, schools, fire departments, all are run by the government rural or urban. Hospitals, electricity, water, garbage, are all basically various forms of government/private monopoly systems. What is left? for rural people to do for themselves that urban people don’t do likewise?

    Before we get to whether government does a task, I’m thinking of whether you or someone else does a task. In non-urban areas, people mow their own lawn, paint their own house, drive themselves to work. They may repair their own cars (and have space to do so). In dense urban areas people depend on someone else (the apartment or condo manager) to run the elevators so they can even get out the front door of the building. They have no maintenance responsibility beyond the interior walls of their unit. They may not drive a car to work. They have not even the opportunity to do for themselves. So, they’re immediately dependent on others. That’s not a bad thing, but dependent on others for every task makes it easy to consider “government” as the others.

    Although people in less urban areas depend on government services, they can imagine ways other than government services to accomplish the task. In the town I recently moved out of, multiple private contractors handled trash pick-up. In both my former town and new town the hospitals are run by private organizations. If something needs doing, even if they’re not going to do it themselves, they are more likely to know personally or through a personal connection someone who could and would do it.

    This seems right to me. Julia lives in the city. 

    • #15
    • October 29, 2018, at 11:00 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. Full Size Tabby Member

    TBA (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    think it is inherent for people in urban areas to favor big government. Living in a population dense area requires you to depend on others to get basic tasks accomplished. Once you are dependent on others for those basic tasks, having government do them makes it easy – you don’t have to think about those specifics anymore. So, you start defaulting to having government take care of more of the things in your life.

    What are these tasks? And don’t rural voters depend on the government for these serivces too? The one difference I can think of is that cities make more tasks economically viable to perform. You could never cost effectively run a public transportation system for rural areas.

    But police, schools, fire departments, all are run by the government rural or urban. Hospitals, electricity, water, garbage, are all basically various forms of government/private monopoly systems. What is left? for rural people to do for themselves that urban people don’t do likewise?

    Before we get to whether government does a task, I’m thinking of whether you or someone else does a task. In non-urban areas, people mow their own lawn, paint their own house, drive themselves to work. They may repair their own cars (and have space to do so). In dense urban areas people depend on someone else (the apartment or condo manager) to run the elevators so they can even get out the front door of the building. They have no maintenance responsibility beyond the interior walls of their unit. They may not drive a car to work. They have not even the opportunity to do for themselves. So, they’re immediately dependent on others. That’s not a bad thing, but dependent on others for every task makes it easy to consider “government” as the others.

    Although people in less urban areas depend on government services, they can imagine ways other than government services to accomplish the task. In the town I recently moved out of, multiple private contractors handled trash pick-up. In both my former town and new town the hospitals are run by private organizations. If something needs doing, even if they’re not going to do it themselves, they are more likely to know personally or through a personal connection someone who could and would do it.

    This seems right to me. Julia lives in the city.

    Though even for a city dweller, Julia seemed remarkably devoid of family and friends. :-)

    • #16
    • October 30, 2018, at 5:30 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. TBA Coolidge

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    think it is inherent for people in urban areas to favor big government. Living in a population dense area requires you to depend on others to get basic tasks accomplished. Once you are dependent on others for those basic tasks, having government do them makes it easy – you don’t have to think about those specifics anymore. So, you start defaulting to having government take care of more of the things in your life.

    What are these tasks? And don’t rural voters depend on the government for these serivces too? The one difference I can think of is that cities make more tasks economically viable to perform. You could never cost effectively run a public transportation system for rural areas.

    But police, schools, fire departments, all are run by the government rural or urban. Hospitals, electricity, water, garbage, are all basically various forms of government/private monopoly systems. What is left? for rural people to do for themselves that urban people don’t do likewise?

    Before we get to whether government does a task, I’m thinking of whether you or someone else does a task. In non-urban areas, people mow their own lawn, paint their own house, drive themselves to work. They may repair their own cars (and have space to do so). In dense urban areas people depend on someone else (the apartment or condo manager) to run the elevators so they can even get out the front door of the building. They have no maintenance responsibility beyond the interior walls of their unit. They may not drive a car to work. They have not even the opportunity to do for themselves. So, they’re immediately dependent on others. That’s not a bad thing, but dependent on others for every task makes it easy to consider “government” as the others.

    Although people in less urban areas depend on government services, they can imagine ways other than government services to accomplish the task. In the town I recently moved out of, multiple private contractors handled trash pick-up. In both my former town and new town the hospitals are run by private organizations. If something needs doing, even if they’re not going to do it themselves, they are more likely to know personally or through a personal connection someone who could and would do it.

    This seems right to me. Julia lives in the city.

    Though even for a city dweller, Julia seemed remarkably devoid of family and friends. :-)

    It’s cool though, because she has one really big friend. 

    • #17
    • October 30, 2018, at 8:31 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  18. Jack Shepherd Coolidge

    TBA (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    think it is inherent for people in urban areas to favor big government. Living in a population dense area requires you to depend on others to get basic tasks accomplished. Once you are dependent on others for those basic tasks, having government do them makes it easy – you don’t have to think about those specifics anymore. So, you start defaulting to having government take care of more of the things in your life.

    What are these tasks? And don’t rural voters depend on the government for these serivces too? The one difference I can think of is that cities make more tasks economically viable to perform. You could never cost effectively run a public transportation system for rural areas.

    But police, schools, fire departments, all are run by the government rural or urban. Hospitals, electricity, water, garbage, are all basically various forms of government/private monopoly systems. What is left? for rural people to do for themselves that urban people don’t do likewise?

    Before we get to whether government does a task, I’m thinking of whether you or someone else does a task. In non-urban areas, people mow their own lawn, paint their own house, drive themselves to work. They may repair their own cars (and have space to do so). In dense urban areas people depend on someone else (the apartment or condo manager) to run the elevators so they can even get out the front door of the building. They have no maintenance responsibility beyond the interior walls of their unit. They may not drive a car to work. They have not even the opportunity to do for themselves. So, they’re immediately dependent on others. That’s not a bad thing, but dependent on others for every task makes it easy to consider “government” as the others.

    Although people in less urban areas depend on government services, they can imagine ways other than government services to accomplish the task. In the town I recently moved out of, multiple private contractors handled trash pick-up. In both my former town and new town the hospitals are run by private organizations. If something needs doing, even if they’re not going to do it themselves, they are more likely to know personally or through a personal connection someone who could and would do it.

    This seems right to me. Julia lives in the city.

    Though even for a city dweller, Julia seemed remarkably devoid of family and friends. :-)

    It’s cool though, because she has one really big friend.

    Who loves her like a brother.

    • #18
    • October 30, 2018, at 6:07 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  19. TBA Coolidge

    dnewlander (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    TBA (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    think it is inherent for people in urban areas to favor big government. Living in a population dense area requires you to depend on others to get basic tasks accomplished. Once you are dependent on others for those basic tasks, having government do them makes it easy – you don’t have to think about those specifics anymore. So, you start defaulting to having government take care of more of the things in your life.

    What are these tasks? And don’t rural voters depend on the government for these serivces too? The one difference I can think of is that cities make more tasks economically viable to perform. You could never cost effectively run a public transportation system for rural areas.

    But police, schools, fire departments, all are run by the government rural or urban. Hospitals, electricity, water, garbage, are all basically various forms of government/private monopoly systems. What is left? for rural people to do for themselves that urban people don’t do likewise?

    Before we get to whether government does a task, I’m thinking of whether you or someone else does a task. In non-urban areas, people mow their own lawn, paint their own house, drive themselves to work. They may repair their own cars (and have space to do so). In dense urban areas people depend on someone else (the apartment or condo manager) to run the elevators so they can even get out the front door of the building. They have no maintenance responsibility beyond the interior walls of their unit. They may not drive a car to work. They have not even the opportunity to do for themselves. So, they’re immediately dependent on others. That’s not a bad thing, but dependent on others for every task makes it easy to consider “government” as the others.

    Although people in less urban areas depend on government services, they can imagine ways other than government services to accomplish the task. In the town I recently moved out of, multiple private contractors handled trash pick-up. In both my former town and new town the hospitals are run by private organizations. If something needs doing, even if they’re not going to do it themselves, they are more likely to know personally or through a personal connection someone who could and would do it.

    This seems right to me. Julia lives in the city.

    Though even for a city dweller, Julia seemed remarkably devoid of family and friends. :-)

    It’s cool though, because she has one really big friend.

    Who loves her like a brother.

    Nice. 

    • #19
    • October 30, 2018, at 6:24 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  20. DougMcCullough Inactive
    DougMcCullough

    I Walton (View Comment):

    Cities are where most governance should take place. Much of it can be privatized or eliminated to the benefit of all other than folks who live off much of it, but that is a lot of people who vote. Reducing housing costs not by affordable housing rip off but by zoning and building code changes we always complain about, but who will take that on? Folks who already own homes don’t want prices to fall. School choice can be done locally can it not? But folks who bought expensive homes to gain access to the best public schools don’t want to open their school to outsiders. Local issues cut across so many interests it’s not easy, but the question is crucial because, as I said that is where most governance should take place. Conservatives like decentralization and bottom up government, but it’s tough. Really a great important question. Once we’ve stopped complaining about Washington and state houses, what do we do?

    I agree with this. I believe Jonah Goldberg suggested this in both of his episodes of the Remnant this week, with Reihan Salaam and Ben Sasse. As he said, he would like to invert governance and spending so that most spending is done locally.

    • #20
    • November 2, 2018, at 6:42 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  21. DougMcCullough Inactive
    DougMcCullough

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Excellent post and excellent questions.

    If Giuliani and Bloomberg are the best examples of “right of center” urban leadership, then I would say the cause is hopeless and we may as well give up. But I hope there are others.

    Conservatives usually favor local self-government to the greatest extent possible. But that usually depends on geographically defined boundaries, and while there are such boundaries in urban areas they are very porous. Everything is interconnected. It’s hard to say that one jurisdiction begins here and ends there. But even in rural areas you don’t have such distinct jurisdictions any more. A movie that shows the bad guys barely escaping across the county line to another county where the sheriff can’t chase them doesn’t make much sense any more even in rural America.

    I’ve sometimes wondered how the concept of local self-governance could be re-introduced with school governance. A lot of people value their neighborhood schools, even in urban areas, and protest when the local schools are closed. But how could we get back to a system in which parents and local communities control their schools and have primary influence on curriculum and the hiring and firing of staff? That’s a very conservative idea, but I’m not sure that modern conservatives, given their opposition to multiculturalism, would support it.

    I have a vague recollection that @marci once may have given an example in a discussion, and that I never followed up on it.

    I would contend that if Giuliani and Bloomberg are the best examples of “right of center” leadership, conservatives need to rethink their approach to urban policy, rather than giving up.

    • #21
    • November 2, 2018, at 6:44 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  22. DougMcCullough Inactive
    DougMcCullough

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    I think it is inherent for people in urban areas to favor big government. Living in a population dense area requires you to depend on others to get basic tasks accomplished. Once you are dependent on others for those basic tasks, having government do them makes it easy – you don’t have to think about those specifics anymore. So, you start defaulting to having government take care of more of the things in your life.

    So, conservatives (advocates of smaller government) are always going to have an uphill climb.

    Some inroads might come from repeatedly pointing out how badly government does these basic tasks, and that the marketplace might do – and in some cases already does – the job better. Google, Apple, and various other techie companies in Silicon Valley and San Francisco (with their luxury buses) do a much better job of getting employees to work than does the (government) San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency or the (government) Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.

    It’s an uphill battle, but surely not a lost cause. Some friends and I started the Lone Star Policy Institute earlier this year primarily to advance conservative urban policy and promote free market economics and personal liberty to young people. Conservatives have focused on national and international politics, leaving urban policy relatively neglected. (You could say that conservatives treat cities the way Hillary Clinton treated Wisconsin). We hope to do more than merely point out the need for conservative/classical-liberal policies in cities. We want to be part of the solution for developing those ideas and strategies.

    • #22
    • November 2, 2018, at 6:52 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  23. Joseph Eagar Member
    Joseph EagarJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    American cities are the combat zones of the culture war, and as such I’m not sure their problems can be solved. The old urban centers are ground zero for the post-60s class war between upper-middle-class white professionals and middle-to-working-class whites. In the 60s liberal urban professionals insisted that working-class whites aggressively (and recklessly) integrate their schools via forced busing (while sending their own children to private or suburban schools), leading to the first wave of “white flight” (and, let’s not forget, three generations of deep black poverty in the inner cities as the very policies that ejected working-class whites did not, in fact, benefit poor blacks, they destroyed them).

    Ever since, cities have passed more and more de facto class-segregationist policies meant to keep (or drive out) middle and working class whites out, while wreaking havoc on urban black populations (who are alternatively used to justify said policies or scapegoated for them).

    This isn’t something that can be solved with “good governance” policy initiatives.

    • #23
    • November 3, 2018, at 6:56 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  24. The Cloaked Gaijin Member

    “In multiracial societies, you … vote in accordance with (two things) race and religion.” — Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister of Singapore, 1959-1990

    Non-Hispanic White populations as of 8 years ago in the largest cities:

    New York City, 33%

    Los Angeles, 29%

    Chicago, 32%

    Houston, 26%

    Phoenix, 47%

    Philadelphia, 37%

    San Antonio, 27%, nonpartisan mayor with limited power

    San Diego, 45%, Republican mayor

    Dallas, 29%, used to have Republican mayors, before 2011

    San Jose, 29%

    Austin, 49%

    Jacksonville, 55%, Republican mayor

    San Francisco, 42%

    Columbus, 59%, used to have Republican mayors, before 2000

    Fort Worth, 42%, Republican mayor

    Indianapolis, 57%, used to have Republican mayors, before 2016

    Charlotte, 45%, used to have Republican mayors, before 2009

    Seattle, 66%

    Denver, 52%

    Washington, 35%

    Boston, 62%

    El Paso, 14%, Republican mayor

    Detroit, 8%

    Nashville, 56%

    Memphis, 28%

    Portland, 72%

    Oklahoma City, 57%, Republican mayor

    Las Vegas, 48%

    And when you consider that Leftism seems to be THE religion in white-type cities like Portland, Seattle, Boston, Austin, and San Francisco, that’s the way things just seem to be…

    • #24
    • November 3, 2018, at 7:31 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  25. The Cloaked Gaijin Member

    Although I think Kevin D. Williamson generally really dislikes Donald Trump, I think he said that he wished that Trump had run for mayor of New York City instead.

    I look at it in the other direction, I think it’s Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio who are the ones who should have run for mayor.

    A Republican is almost going to have to speak Spanish to get elected in a some big cities. The only Florida county that Rubio won in the presidential primary was Miami-Dade County.

    • #25
    • November 3, 2018, at 7:50 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  26. The Reticulator Member

    The Cloaked Gaijin (View Comment):

    “In multiracial societies, you … vote in accordance with (two things) race and religion.” — Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister of Singapore, 1959-1990

    Non-Hispanic White populations as of 8 years ago in the largest cities:

    New York City, 33%

    Los Angeles, 29%

    Chicago, 32%

    Houston, 26%

    Phoenix, 47%

    Philadelphia, 37%

    San Antonio, 27%, nonpartisan mayor with limited power

    San Diego, 45%, Republican mayor

    Dallas, 29%, used to have Republican mayors, before 2011

    San Jose, 29%

    Austin, 49%

    Jacksonville, 55%, Republican mayor

    San Francisco, 42%

    Columbus, 59%, used to have Republican mayors, before 2000

    Fort Worth, 42%, Republican mayor

    Indianapolis, 57%, used to have Republican mayors, before 2016

    Charlotte, 45%, used to have Republican mayors, before 2009

    Seattle, 66%

    Denver, 52%

    Washington, 35%

    Boston, 62%

    El Paso, 14%, Republican mayor

    Detroit, 8%

    Nashville, 56%

    Memphis, 28%

    Portland, 72%

    Oklahoma City, 57%, Republican mayor

    Las Vegas, 48%

    And when you consider that Leftism seems to be THE religion in white-type cities like Portland, Seattle, Boston, Austin, and San Francisco, that’s the way things just seem to be…

    Forgetting about race for a few minutes (if it is possible for Republicans ever not to think about race) note that some of those cities are government towns. The ruling class and its groupies tend to congregate in those places, regardless of race. It creates a whole different atmosphere, and those places vote Democrat.

    • #26
    • November 3, 2018, at 7:50 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  27. Jack Shepherd Coolidge

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    The Cloaked Gaijin (View Comment):

    “In multiracial societies, you … vote in accordance with (two things) race and religion.” — Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister of Singapore, 1959-1990

    Non-Hispanic White populations as of 8 years ago in the largest cities:

    New York City, 33%

    Los Angeles, 29%

    Chicago, 32%

    Houston, 26%

    Phoenix, 47%

    Philadelphia, 37%

    San Antonio, 27%, nonpartisan mayor with limited power

    San Diego, 45%, Republican mayor

    Dallas, 29%, used to have Republican mayors, before 2011

    San Jose, 29%

    Austin, 49%

    Jacksonville, 55%, Republican mayor

    San Francisco, 42%

    Columbus, 59%, used to have Republican mayors, before 2000

    Fort Worth, 42%, Republican mayor

    Indianapolis, 57%, used to have Republican mayors, before 2016

    Charlotte, 45%, used to have Republican mayors, before 2009

    Seattle, 66%

    Denver, 52%

    Washington, 35%

    Boston, 62%

    El Paso, 14%, Republican mayor

    Detroit, 8%

    Nashville, 56%

    Memphis, 28%

    Portland, 72%

    Oklahoma City, 57%, Republican mayor

    Las Vegas, 48%

    And when you consider that Leftism seems to be THE religion in white-type cities like Portland, Seattle, Boston, Austin, and San Francisco, that’s the way things just seem to be…

    Forgetting about race for a few minutes (if it is possible for Republicans ever not to think about race) note that some of those cities are government towns. The ruling class and its groupies tend to congregate in those places, regardless of race. It creates a whole different atmosphere, and those places vote Democrat.

    Yet another reason to break them up. Smaller cities would be a lot healthier, in my opinion.

    • #27
    • November 3, 2018, at 9:22 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  28. DonG (Biden is compromised) Coolidge

    I think we are stuck. Cities attract people that like big government and politicians that like big government. Cities exist, because they are efficient with lots of stuff nearby. In the future “stuff” will be more virtual and nearness won’t matter much. Thus at some point we should disperse more. Eventually, we’ll all just live in pods on “farms” like in the Matrix. When? Self-driving cars solve transportation and logistics within 20 years. 3D printing solves a bunch of supply chain problems withing 25 years. Entertainment is shrinking to handheld already. Medicine 20 years…. In a generation there will not be a need for cities, except to support government workers, since government will not evolve at all.

    • #28
    • November 3, 2018, at 9:31 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  29. The Reticulator Member

    dnewlander (View Comment):

    Forgetting about race for a few minutes (if it is possible for Republicans ever not to think about race) note that some of those cities are government towns. The ruling class and its groupies tend to congregate in those places, regardless of race. It creates a whole different atmosphere, and those places vote Democrat.

    Yet another reason to break them up. Smaller cities would be a lot healthier, in my opinion.

    Do you have an example where that has ever been done? Usually they merge into bigger units rather than break apart. The forces of centralization and consolidation are strong, and are rooted in human nature.

    • #29
    • November 3, 2018, at 9:58 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  30. Jack Shepherd Coolidge

    DonG (View Comment):

    I think we are stuck. Cities attract people that like big government and politicians that like big government. Cities exist, because they are efficient with lots of stuff nearby. In the future “stuff” will be more virtual and nearness won’t matter much. Thus at some point we should disperse more. Eventually, we’ll all just live in pods on “farms” like in the Matrix. When? Self-driving cars solve transportation and logistics within 20 years. 3D printing solves a bunch of supply chain problems withing 25 years. Entertainment is shrinking to handheld already. Medicine 20 years…. In a generation there will not be a need for cities, except to support government workers, since government will not evolve at all.

    I agree with lots of this (except self-driving cars… that’s not happening in cities in any of our lifetimes without significant infrastructure investment).

    But the issue is so many people have a herd mentality and for whatever reason want to be around crap-tons of other people. The millennials I know want to live in a city, take public transit, and have “government” provide for them, which is an education issue.

    If we cannot break the Progressive stranglehold on education we will all end up living in pods like in The Matrix.

    • #30
    • November 3, 2018, at 10:02 PM PDT
    • 1 like

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.