By Alan Bean
Like they say, you can prove anything with statistics. I got an email this morning pointing out the ten American cities with the highest rates of poverty all have Democratic mayors.
Here’s the list:
1. Detroit , MI 32.5%
2. Buffalo , NY 29.9% poverty rate
3. Cincinnati , OH 27.8%
4. Cleveland , OH 27.0%
5. Miami , FL 26.9%
6. St. Louis , MO 26.8%
7. El Paso , TX 26.4%
8. Milwaukee , WI 26.2%
9. Philadelphia , PA 25.1%
10. Newark , NJ 24.2%
And the moral of that is:
It is the poor who habitually elect Democrats yet they are still POOR!
You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away people’s initiative and independence.
You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.”
I have seen similar lists of American cities on racist websites. There, the moral is that many poor cities have black mayors which shows that black people are incompetent.
Now let’s consider the opposite indicator: the ten American cities with the largest concentration of high net worth individuals. These happen to be:
- New York (currently the mayor is independent, but NY historically favors Democrats)
- Los Angeles (Democratic mayor)
- Chicago (Democrat)
- Washington, D.C. (Democrat)
- San Francisco (Democrat)
- Philadelphia (Democrat)
- Boston (Democrat)
- Houston (Democrat)
- Detroit (Democrat)
- San Jose (Democrat)
How do we account for the fact that the American cities with the highest rates of poverty and the highest net worth individuals tend to have Democratic mayors? (Detroit, by the way, makes both lists because it’s economy, after several years of free fall, recovered remarkably last year with the rebirth of the auto industry.)
There are two reasons. The first (as the racist websites triumphantly announce) is race. Most of the cities with the highest poverty rates have been impacted by white flight coupled with the tragic decline of the steel industry and the manufacturing sector. Black southerners gravitated to industrial centers in the North and Midwest in search of work. When the work disappeared many of these people found themselves stranded in job-free neighborhoods. The good jobs that survived the process of deindustrialization decamped to the suburbs which quickly evolved into incorporated communities so they could cut ties with the urban mother ship (“why should we support welfare recipients with our taxes?”) and elect their own mayors. Those who couldn’t leave were overwhelmingly poor and African American, a demographic that favors Democrats because Republicans rarely think about the urban inner core unless the discussion turns to crime or welfare dependency. By default, cities with vast inner city neighborhoods elect Democrats. No big surprise there.
But there is a second reason why large urban centers tend to elect Democrats or moderate Republicans. Most of these cities are highly diverse demographically and that prompts the “how can we call get along” question. Conservative Republicans typically migrate to homogeneous exurbs and satellite communities so they don’t have to worry about making room for diverse constituencies.
Here’s the formula: Demographic diversity = moderately liberal and pragmatic government; demographic homogeneity (of the white variety) = Conservative Republican government.
Rich people who live in cities tend to be liberal; rich people who live in segregated white enclaves are almost always conservative.
None of this has anything to do with the relative merits of Keynesian and Austrian School economics. It’s about rainbow diversity v. white bread homogeneity.