Economics/Class Relations

The ZIP Codes That Rule America

By Michael Lind, Tablet

The real divide isn’t between red states and blue states or cities and rural areas. It’s between mega-rich political donors and everyone else.

Before the recent election gave President-elect Joe Biden a solid majority of the Electoral College, some fretful Democrats worried that it would forever prevent Democratic victories. They called for the admission of new states, which could be expected to be reliably Democratic, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Later, after the Supreme Court threw out a lawsuit by Trump’s lawyers that contested the election results, Allen West, the former tea party member of Congress from Florida who is now the chair of the Texas Republican Party, on Dec. 11 speculated: “Perhaps law-abiding states should bond together and form a Union of states that will abide by the constitution.”

Would any of these changes make much difference in American politics, all other things remaining equal? Probably not. If you look at a county map of national election results, it is clear that for the most part there are only blue big cities and college towns in a sea of red that includes working-class outer suburbs and many small towns. This is not a “rural-urban” divide, since the red-blue Republican-Democrat divide increasingly occurs within metropolitan areas, with the Democrats getting the well-to-do neighborhoods and the Republicans the less affluent ones.


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