Days of Change

Voting Bloc | May 3, 2015

Baltimore, MD highlighted a major problem. It is not that cops are racist. It is not that schools don’t get enough money. It is not that these cities have been abandoned and allowed to fall into disrepair. Cities and districts and states are all legal constructs. The Federal and state government define their borders. Ultimately, the only thing that differentiates them is their political leadership. In Baltimore, it is all Democrats.

Here’s a little history. Republicans decided that ending slavery by amending the Constitution was a process they could expand on during the 20th century. Democrats became the party of conservative moderation. When less progressive Republicans took office in the 1920’s, Democrats decided to try to out-government the GOP. We ended up with decades of FDR and Truman, dictating everything to America and the world. That ended with a backlash. Republicans gained control of Congress and Eisenhower was elected. Industry returned, unions flourished, the deficit was being paid down. Even taxes were over 90% in the top bracket. You would think a liberal would be happy.

Democrats needed to change the game. They got some first term Senator elected who is most famous for being cool, not getting the world blown up and getting shot. The worst was yet to come. Lyndon Johnson was the worst kind of Texas cowboy. He threw Americans at a badly-run Vietnam War, strong-armed the Congress into voting his way with threats and bribes and came up with ways to pay off voters with “free” government programs.

What happened next is something of a chicken and egg argument. Government tax rates went down (a little) after the 1950’s but state taxes went up. Programs like Medicaid required some contribution from the states. Expanded Social Security led to higher income taxes. Union wages and an increasingly competitive global market coincided with moving manufacturing out of the United States. Thus began the death of the big city unskilled job.

Joblessness led to poverty which led to crime. The simple argument is that people who have no money need to steal. Of course, necessities are rarely stolen. When someone has no good job and a lousy home life, there is no compelling reason not to steal or commit any other crime. Increased policing led to more confrontations. Those led to riots. People with something to lose soon saw the need to leave the most crime ridden neighborhoods. This was referred to as “White flight.”

An interesting phenomenon emerged. Generational poverty created districts where the economy was heavily based on government assistance. As the population became more heavily African-American, those neighborhoods became strongholds and power bases for Democrats. A densely populated blue city could turn a state “purple” and with a little effort, to the Democrats in a national election.

The formula is simple, but carefully controlled. People in those cities must have enough to survive, but not to have any chance to make it out of their situation. If they think it’s not enough, blame the Republicans. If there’s crime, blame lack of jobs because Republicans are against unions. If there’s a confrontation, blame racism. During election season, make sure you have early voting so you can target each voter until they relent so you can win the presidency.

That’s how you use a city. It’s just not the way to save a city.

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1 Comment

  1. As usual, your history capsule is brilliant!

    “Save the city” and lose the black vote? Improve the plantation? Hardly the Dem agenda.

    Comment by Mary — May 4, 2015 @ 2:07 am


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