American Decline

America’s Asymmetric Civil War

Michael  Lind, Tablet

It’s within metro areas, not between the states.

America’s states seem increasingly disunited. Divisions over controversies related to COVID— lockdowns, vaccine mandates, school closures—have accentuated existing splits among blue Democratic and red Republican states with respect to partisanship and attitudes toward crime and public policy.

Some fear that these trends foretell a new civil war. Others welcome them as evidence of the saving genius of the founding design of a republic based on federalism. But before you choose sides in a new conflict between the states, you need to know that the basic assumption is wrong: There is no actual divide by states, which are merely battlegrounds in a proxy war. The real civil war is between neighborhoods in the same metro areas, backed by asymmetrical allies.

Ignore maps that show electoral results by state and look at county maps or maps of U.S. House districts. At this level of granularity, state borders disappear. There are no red states or blue states. Instead, there are blue urban cores floating in a sea of red. Even the exurbs and rural areas in blue states like California and New York tend to be overwhelmingly red and Republican.

This is not a difference between “city” and “country.” Hardly any Americans live or work on farms or ranches anymore. The big divide is within metro areas, between the blue downtowns and their inner-ring suburbs that are home to the American oligarchy and its children and retainers, and the red exurbs; outer-ring suburbs tend to be battlegrounds between the Democratic and Republican coalitions. This geographic concentration hurts the Democrats in the Senate and the Electoral College. At the same time, Democratic blue core cities in majority red states can often circumvent state governments by appealing directly to Congress and to the enforcement layers of the federal bureaucracy and judiciary, as well as to the media and corporate elites controlled by the national party.

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2 replies »

  1. What is this crap???? Is the list on the right of the screen the editors? If so, there is one Michael that is obviously a Ku Kux Klan member. I had no idea that anarchists view the KKK in a positive light.

    • About a third of our supporters and contributors are left-wing anarchists, another third are right-wing anarchists, and the other third are drawn from all points on the political spectrum, from far-left to far-right and everything in between. Read the Statement of Purpose if you want to know what this site is about.

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