The headline question could have been: Can Democrats run cities? But we have more than enough evidence that they cannot.
We know that from the statistics – crime, segregation, race riots, education, political graft, homelessness, drug deaths, public financing, taxation, etc. etc. etc. Upbeat songs such as “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” “My Kind of Town, Chicago” and “New York, New York.” Have been replaced at the top of the music charts with “Rich Men North of Richmond” and with “Try That in a Small Town.”
To be fair, cities have always had a grittier and more hostile reputation than the more gentile and neighborly qualities of small-town country life. In the past, cities compensated with an aura of glamour, sophistication and opportunity. Unfortunately, many of today’s cities are devolving into a real-life American version of a Mad Max movie. (Perhaps a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point.)
Many American cities have declined into such inhospitable environments that people are leaving and businesses closing. Migration out of cities has become so dramatic that new sociological terms have been coined – “exodus cities” and “exodus states.” It is largely the departure from the cities that creates the exodus states.
The decline of urban America has been a long process. Arguably the canary in the coal mine was Detroit. The once vibrant “Motor City” of the 1940s and 1950s. It had become a bankrupt, crime-ridden decaying shell of itself by the 1990s. The Hollywood glamour of Los Angeles is now compromised by a slovenly encampment for homeless individuals with serious drug and mental issues.
San Francisco has become an open toilet that actually produces a “poop map” to warn against human waste. Chicago once dubbed itself as “The City That Works.” Today the workers are abandoning the Windy City along with the businesses that employed them. New York is reeling under the flow of aliens who have crossed the southern border illegally to take advantage of the Big Apple’s sanctuary policy. Cities like Portland and Seattle are floundering under a version of urban anarchy.
Across the broader spectrum, American cities are being undermined by several overarching major social phenomena. Among the common threads are unprecedented crime, unprecedent numbers of illegal immigrants, unprecedent taxation, unprecedented public finance crises, unprecedented poverty, unprecedent numbers of racially segregated blacks. Oh yeah! There is another common thread. Virtually all the cities in decline are governed over by the officials and policies of the Democratic Party – and have been for generations.
To get a sense of how long Democrats have been running these failing cities, here is a list of a few. The year represents that last year of a Republican mayor.
Atlanta (1879), Baltimore (1967), Boston, (1930), Chicago (1931), Detroit (1962), Houston (1939), Los Angeles (2001), Newark (1953), New York (2011), * Philadelphia (1952), Pittsburgh (1934), Portland (1956),** San Francisco (1964), Seattle (1969), St. Louis (1953) and the list goes on.
New York and Portland have asterisks. New York had two mayors (John Lindsay and Michael Bloomberg) who were elected as Republicans but later switched to the Democratic Party. Portland had a one-year interim Republican mayor from 1979 to 1980. Even when Republicans won mayor’s offices in the major cities, it was usually short lived, and the other officials and the city councils remained overwhelmingly Democrat.
There can be no dispute that the Democratic Party has essentially had one-party rule over America’s cities – and has for generations. The decline of the cities happened on their watch … period. More importantly, the decline of the cities is due to their governance – their policies. The notable deterioration of urban life was not a “force majeure” or “act of God” as some like to claim.
The decline of the cities was not something that happened despite the best efforts of those in charge. No. No. No. It was the effort to consolidate and maintain power and control that produced destructive policies – including reckless spending, exorbitant taxes, institutional racial segregation and oppression, sanctuary for illegal aliens, unfair and ineffective law enforcement, excessive regulation, political corruption and an array of left-wing policies based on political correctness, identity politics and woke issues.
Ironically, it does not make a difference whether the Democrats in charge are white or black. If the political machine system benefits those running it, the same policies will continue because it provides power and prestige to those in charge regardless of skin color. If you doubt that, just try to find specific improvements in black ghetto life under a black mayor – educational quality, crime, unemployment, inferior housing. I will save you the research. Nothing changes.
I understand that a lot of folks love their city despite the problems. Usually, they come from the upper income groups that can use money to insulate them from the growing hardships that afflict the average joe. We tend to be fans of our hometowns like we are fans of sports teams – even when they are losing. I was born and raised in Chicago. There is a lot that I love about the Windy City. But that is why it pains me to see it become a city I no longer recognize.
Where my youngest son safely walked to school was the recent scene of a drug-related mass shooting. The park where he played was ravaged by a flash gang of vandals. Michigan Avenue, where we shopped, has been hit by gang looting.
If we want to make America’s cities great again, we must ask ourselves three simple questions. Is there a problem in our cities? Who is in charge? Are they responsible for the problems? The answer to the first question is as obvious as the evening news. Who is in charge is a matter of hard fact – not opinion or speculation. It is the urban branch of the Democratic Party. And I give the third question a strong “yes” based on compelling logic.
It will not change unless the Democrats leading the cities change their policies (fat chance) or the voters change the Democrat leaders.