In today's post at America magazine, I look at Richard Florida's theory that "distress 'burbs," or older white suburbs with increasing poverty rates, are the new political swing areas (between Democratic central cities and Republican affluent suburbs). An excerpt:
It makes intuitive sense that economically volatile areas will be unpredictable in their politics, though some individual communities may just be groping their way toward their assigned side of the density division. (See previous post on 800 people per square mile as the “tipping point” at which a city or town turns Democratic.) Florida says that the Democratic Party indeed may benefit from the increasing urbanization of what we’ve long thought of as suburbia.
But there are counterexamples. In an accompanying piece at Politico, Florida reminds us that Toronto’s annexation of its distressed suburbs gave it Mayor Rob Ford, who would hardly be at home in the Democratic Party of the U.S.: “A Canadian version of a Tea Party populist, Ford campaigned on putting the downtown elites in their place: ripping out bike lanes, cutting taxes and declaring war on waste and the ’gravy train’ of public spending.”
Read the entire post here.