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The big picture

February 3, 2020

I think Will Wilkinson well explains the social changes that are driving current American politics:

Over generations, the escalating incentive to seek education and move to the city has filtered those most responsive to these inducements, and least wary of urban diversity, out of lower-density America. This has left the places they’ve fled poorer and less educated, and has left the people who remain in them almost uniformly white, averse to dynamic, multicultural cities, alarmed by the prospect of a majority-minority America, and receptive to pandering, demagogic explanations of their relative decline. This sorting process has progressed to the point that there is now no such thing as a Republican city.

The whole paper (pdf) is worth reading. I think he is quite correct that minority rule of a growing urban majority cannot continue indefinitely. It is one of those social instabilities where a sudden correction seems inevitable, though there is no way to forecast the timing and direction.

Wilkinson has the advantage of writing with the last two decades as hindsight. Edward Luttvak gets credit for predicting, back in the 1994, the rise of the Tea Party, that now are the Trumpistas.

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