Why Are Cities Liberal and Suburbs Conservative?

Author: Vale

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until a majority of voters discover that they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury.

Often attributed to Alexander Tyler.

With the election completed a month ago, many people I spoke to did election resultsnot understand why it is that large cities vote for liberal Democrats while suburban and rural areas vote for conservative Republicans.

Start with the Curley Effect to understand how a politician can turn a city to Democrats by getting successful opponents to emigrate to the suburbs by redistributing wealth.

And then dive in further with additional reasons: ideology, allies and economic circumstances. For starters, cities generally contain a large number of low income earners, which Democrats pander to with their message of 'equality' and support for welfare, negative federal income tax rates, food stamp benefits, public housing, medicaid, and other low income programs. Cities also contain far more minorities, which correlates strongly with the previous point, but also because Democrats have been able to project the image of progressiveness and support for minority causes. During the 2008 election Obama touted that he didn't look like one of the old white guys on the dollar bill which gave him credence that he would be different with his message of 'change.' Democrats also have overwhelming support for legislation that benefits minorities, such as the Dream Act, which gives illegal immigrants a free pass of amnesty to become citizens (and increase the number of Democratic voters instantly). Other types of minorities such as homosexuals generally flock to cities and Democrats lend support to gay marriage and their causes. While the average LGBT population in the United States may be around 3.8%, in cities it can be as high as 15%.

Cities are also bastions for unions, which yield a lot of power and make up a significant part of the population where they still exist. Democrats repeatedly express support for union causes and liberals generally view large business negatively. Probably most Democrats feel businesses exploit workers and think that unions are necessary to provide their members with "fair" wages. Of course, they don't consider the many negatives that unions have, such as reduced employment or define what fair means.

Furthermore, Democrats support large government while Republicans support smaller government. Inside cities, there are large numbers of people who work for the government (15-20% of workers in cities are government workers). The livelihood of these workers depends on having a large government for not only their jobs, but also people that they know which may include their friends and family. Government efficiency it not a priority for this mindset. These jobs also pay higher than private sector wages for jobs of the same industry and education level and need high taxes to support their salaries and benefits. To top it off, there are no free market forces in government jobs, since one cannot be fired from them and this does little to improve the incentive of efficiency. The evidence shows that these workers are overpaid even while they are retired.

Cities also provide many amenities that only require a small outlay per individual, but yield large benefits for the masses (parks, subways, and other amenities). It can appear as if the government provided it for free, especially if one is a government dependent and does not pay taxes or is a beneficiary of all the low income programs. In that case, those people would want the largest government possible to provide even more services.

Crime is usually higher in cities due to population density and low income minorities, so more government intrusion such as gun control is encouraged, a liberal ideology. 

Cities attract a large number of unmarried, young singles who have overwhelmingly supported Democrats over the last two election cycles. Democrats pander to topics important to them such as student loans, reducing the cost of college and apparently all it takes is talk to lock up the vote. Consider also that young people are not at the height of their earning careers, and therefore are not affected by taxes as much as they might be later in their careers. Furthermore, youth receive an overwhelming indoctrination to liberal ideals espoused by their teachers and professors throughout the beginning of their lives.

Conservatives espouse individualism, personal responsibility and merit whereas urban crowd thinking leads to collectivism and group-think.

In many cities, the share of conservatives is less than 20% of the voting populous. It seems the only way for Republicans to make gains in cities would be to open the borders, expand social programs, and demonize business which would be against their core values.


# Becky 2013-04-10 03:44
In many cities, the share of conservatives is less than 20% of the voting populous. Do Republicans have to open the borders, expand social programs, and demonize business to attract more supporters in cities?
Well that wouldn't make them much of a conservative expanding the debt and Government. Otherwise that's a pretty good breakdown of the matter. Should the conservatives give up their stance at all? If they did wouldn't that go against what they stand for and then lose their base...
Reply | Reply with quote | Quote

Add comment

Public discussion of buy and sell arguments

Security code

Investment Gurus

Rank Name Points