The Urban Archhipelago and the future of the two parties

In the McCain Forked thread I had posted a link to a bit about newspaper endorsements and expressed admiration for the observation made there about how

(Linked to in my post #566)

Cervaise then (in post #567) referred me to past thinking about “The Urban Archipelago.” That article makes the following case (abridged) following 2004’s loss by Kerry.

Yes, it was presented way over the top.

And to some degree Obama’s apparent success disproves the premise. But only to some degree. His success is still driven by high urban popularity more than anything else. This particular election even rural areas are unhappy with the GOP and the pathetic campaign put up by their standard bearer. But the urban-rural divide still exists and the Democrats only have this one time to play off of such an awful sitting GOP President.

Can the Democrat Party play (well enough) to rural America in a lasting way or longer term does the linked proscriptive make sense? Should the GOP try to reinvent themselves in ways that appeal to Archipelago inhabitants?

Thank you for your thoughts.

I thought the Red States/Blue States divide was overstated. There’s that oft linked to breakdown of the US using purple.

And here is a map graphically representing population density. Not an exact overlay of density to intensity Bluish but not a bad fit either.

Democratic Party.

So the observation is that liberals, progressives, and Democrats live where the people live? I’m sure I agree with that, but other than that I’m not sure what point is being made. Hey, news flash, the water is mostly where the ocean is, pass it on.

The division between urban and rural is nowhere more evident that in Sarah Palin.

Consider: in urban centers, where hospitals and health care clinics are overcrowded, and where there are huge numbers of uninsured, medical care is an issue. In rural areas, where the local doctors and hospitals are not overcrowded, where everyone knows everyone, if a patient doesn’t have health insurance, it’s not such a big deal.

Consider: in urban centers, where crime and drugs are rampant, guns are a tool of the underworld, used for murder and violence. In rural areas, guns are used for hunting. Little surprise that there would be different attitudes towards gun control.

Consider: in urban areas, there is significant need for government services: police, fire departments, welfare, street and road repair, traffic control, etc. Thus, a trend towards support of government programs, even if that means more taxes. In rural areas, there is less crime, less need for road repair (our pickup trucks don’t mind potholes), etc. Thus, a tendency towards opposition to government programs and taxes.

Oversimplification and stereotyping, sure, to some extent. But as a person raised in a small town (population under 30,000) who has moved to the Chicago area, I gotta tell you, those are two different worlds.

You’re misreading the OP. The observation is that voters in high population density areas are more likely to vote for a Democrat than other voters, not just that there are a lot of Democrats in the cities. In 2004, most counties were almost exactly evenly split down the middle. The exceptions were the most rural areas, which leaned strongly towards Bush, and the most urban areas, which leaned strongly towards Kerry.

As gas prices continue to rise, we’re going to see a lot of people moving away from the suburbs and back into the cities. That probably mean that we’re going to see the Democratic party rising in popularity.

Pochacco my apologies … I was forgetting which way I was corrected last time! :slight_smile:

Bill, the observation is that areas of greater population density tend to be where it tends to the Blue side and areas of less population density (but roughly the same absolute number) tend to Red. Conservatives and Republicans live where people live too, just not as close together.

The link seems to argue that maximizing the Democratic turnout in the urban population centers, pandering to them even, is the way to go. It argues for a form of politics of division as a method of choice for the Democratic Party. My bias is against that but there are some truths to the basic that it is an usual election that the Democratic candidate can appeal outside of the urban centers - traditionally by being a Southern White male - Obama is doing it some in a context of a failed GOP Presidency - others? So is satisfying your base, not as liberal issues but as urban issues (which may not always overlap) is not a crazy strategic thought.

C K Dexter Haven I’d take some issue with the healthcare example. Uninsured status is a big deal in rural America too. The wedge issue on healthcare there may be more that those in rural areas see the effect of no doctor availability - especially in high malpractice risk specialties. Tort reform finds some sympathy there but less so in urban centers.

Check out these cartograms from the 2004 election. They rescale so that area and population are proportional to each other, and then color accordingly. Most of the country is in urban areas, and those urban areas are purple. The red bits are big on space but small on people.

If the Pubs can count on the countryside and the Dems can count on the cities, the future battleground will be the exurbs, or Edge Cities – which expand in both area and population every year, though I expect oil shortages might put a stop to that.

This phenomenon is apparent in Canada as well. If our conservatives (who won the last election short around 20 seats for a majority) managed to get half the seats in the major cities, they’d have a comfortable majority. My gut feeling is that most of the people outside the big cities would rather not pay taxes then pay for new social programs. And if you can’t fit in, then you move to the city, where the existing services are readily available.

But we’ve noticed a similar division between Obama support and Clinton support when we followed the primary elections thanks to the other King on CNN. Hillary very strong in the countryside and Obama strong in the cities. I can’t rationalize that one.

I totally agree with this article. I live near Washington DC which has proudly never elected a Republican mayor. In fact there is only one token Republican on the city council. Whenever I drive in I am amazed at how great it is. The streets are paved and never have any potholes. The police are so competent and friendly. I drive by block after block of crime free neighborhoods with happy, gainfully employed people living in them. The public school system is a model for the rest of the area with great test scores, low drop out rate, and immaculate buildings. This despite spending less money per pupil than the surronding suburbs.
It reminds me of when I lived in NYC in the late 70’s before Giuliani ruined it. It was a virtual paradise, no crime, great schools, thriving downtown, beautiful artwork on all the subway cars. You could walk anywhere at anytime and feel safe no matter what color you were. I was shocked when the people up there elected a Republican, they must be taking crazy pills.
I am saving all my money to buy a place in the city so I can leave the horrors of the suburbs behind. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results. These people around here keep electing Republicans and things are spiraling out of control. Thank Mother Earth for the Democrat party.

So what do you think the rural, mostly Republican voters are ? Orcs ?

That would explain the Republican leadership’s resemblance to Sauron . . .


Epic whoosh.

Eh. If that’s the dumbest thing I say today, today will have been a good day.

S’okay. puddlegum’s post didn’t really address the thread’s subject anyway.

sorry, replied to wrong thread

Pertinent to this comment, and a model for turning places like Texas Blue, is Nate’s post about Illiniois on 538 today.

Keeping Texas as a potential case study - look at where the population is. Total is 87% in “metropolitan areas”. Dallas, Houston, and Austin have been moving Democratic. If they move more solidly so and bring their metropolitan areas marginally along with them, then as in Illinois the Democrats would have “an insurmountable advantage” … the Urban Acheipelago strategy would be to work on winning Texas not by trying to reach the rural Texas voter, but by encouraging a metropolitian issues identity and claiming those issues as yours. Win the cities big, break even in the metroplitian areas, and accept the losses in the rural districts, the theory goes.