… the possibility that America’s third largest city might elect a union leader over an establishment Democrat marks a broader national shift towards progressive city politics. Across the country, from New York to Seattle and Boston to Pittsburgh, municipal authorities are swinging left.
Hurrah! Onwards, comrades, to our glorious victory!
But what could be the reason for this dropping of scales from eyes, so all can see the Glorious Shining Future?
The organisational and electoral bases of these campaigns are virtually the same as those that propelled Obama to victory – trade unions, minorities, young people (particularly young women) and liberals.
Ah. Well, of course.
In other words, all the people who believe that society owes them a free ride, that they can vote themselves into power with the promise of ‘some other dude will pay!’…
And they are promising what Obama has been unwilling or unable to deliver. They are trying to raise the minimum wage, introduce green technology, create affordable housing, levy money from the wealthy to fund universal childcare and rein in their police departments from racist excess.
Are they going to plant a Magic Money Tree too, to pay for it all?
Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York, has described the city as a “laboratory” for New Deal-style reforms.
Oh, yes. I fancy being an experiment for the socialist’s mad scientists. Doesn’t everyone?
In reality these initiatives are more like local triage against the wounds of over a generation of stagnant wages, neoliberal reform and the class and racial polarisation that comes with them – all of which were further aggravated by the most recent economic crisis. It looks like the New Deal only because so many Americans have been getting such a bad deal for so long. Local, populist and redistributive, they owe more to the Occupy movement of 2011 of which they are the most logical, likely corollary.
And they’ll have about as much longevity, I suspect. Especially when every big US city starts looking like it’s becoming Detroit…
People think in terms of red and blue states, but the real distinction is between town and country. With just a handful of exceptions, every city of more than 500,000 inhabitants votes Democrat; in all of the 10 largest cities in America white people are a minority.
It’s not difficult to see why. People come to cities to escape isolation and find opportunity. So cities become home to a disproportionately large number of gay and lesbian people, immigrants and religious minorities. To function they demand social tolerance and public investment for everything from transport to parks.
And…what do they give in return for these demands?
Oh, right. Nothing. Except arson, looting and tantrums whenever you feel you’ve (or someone else you identify with not as a fellow American, but as a member of your ‘special’ identity group) been dealt an injustice.
All while not even raising an eyebrow when your fellows murder each other with a frequency that would shame a viral outbreak.
Congratulations on making the cities places to avoid in the future.