Republicans Must Not Abandon the Coasts

Republicans can’t give up on the cities of the East and West Coast — and the cities could use Republican ideas.

View of Madison Square Park in Manhattan, New York
View of Madison Square Park in Manhattan, New York (Unsplash/Daryan Shamkhali)

Kevin D. Williamson urges America’s Republicans not to abandon the coasts.

It’s all good and fine to point to the troubles of Democratic-controled cities and states, he writes in National Review, but in their rhetorical frenzy to abominate the blue parts of the country Republicans have put themselves at odds with many of its most successful communities, industries and institutions.

Republicans sneer at Silicon Valley and at the elite universities that educate the people who work there. In favor of what? A resentment-driven cultural milieu that insists that the “real America” is to be found elsewhere and that the “real America” looks like Hee-Haw without the music or self-deprecating humor. They insist that San Francisco is Hell on Earth but never ask why it is that so many people want to live there — or they just write off those who do as degenerates and hopelessly un-American.

That’s bad politics.

Republicans need the cities

Republicans have so far managed to remain competitive nationally, helped by gerrymandering and an Electoral College and Senate that give disproportionate power to sparsely populated parts of the country.

But urbanization could ultimately doom them as a national party. Even in deep-red Texas, all the major cities have Democratic mayors. Donald Trump got “only” 52 percent support in the Lone Star State last year.

Cities need Republicans

One-party rule in urban America is bad for the people living there.

Williamson argues that cities could use a dose of conservative thinking when it comes to improving their public schools, reducing crime, sorting out their pension problems and improving the standard of living for non-billionaires in high-priced coastal states.

The cities need Republicans and Republicans need the cities — assuming that they do not want to be a political party that dominates only those parts of the country where the people aren’t.