The one time I might vote Republican
One-party states don't work, and American cities prove it.
There are a handful of exceptions here and there, where the GOP candidate is kind of normal and/or the Democrat is too far left and/or really, really stupid, but by and large, #NeverTrump to me effectively means #NeverRepublican.
For President, I would vote Democrat.
For Senator, I would vote Democrat.
Congressperson? Democrat. Governor? Democrat. State representative? Democrat.
Big-city mayor or city councillor? Um...yeah, about that...
Big-city Democrats just seem to have the worst luck.
The unhappy metropolis of Louisville, Kentucky, is getting run through it good and hard just now, and not without good reason. The U.S. Department of Justice has just released a report that it began compiling after the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor, and the findings are pretty ugly: The municipal government and the police department “engage in a pattern or practice of conduct that deprives people of their rights under the Constitution and federal law,” the DOJ finds. The catalog will not surprise you: racial discrimination targeting black residents, excessive force, the violation of the free speech rights of anti-police protesters, and, among the most worrying items from a strictly procedural point of view, conducting searches based on invalid warrants.
Louisville is a city run by progressive Democrats. Since its legal reorganization as Louisville Metro in a 2003 city-county merger, Louisville has never had a Republican mayor. In the years before that, you won’t find a Republican mayor in the city’s recent history: There were a brace of Republican mayors in the middle-late 1960s, and, before that, you’ll have to go back to William B. Harrison, elected in 1927, to find a Republican in the top spot. The metro council has long been Democrat-dominated, with the current party split being 19 Democrats to seven Republicans. These aren’t fringe, backwater Democrats, either: Democratic mayors of Louisville have gone on to Congress and senior roles in state government.
There isn’t a lot of Republican power at the state level in Kentucky, either: Since the end of World War II, Kentucky has had only three Republican governors and 14 Democrats. When Republicans won a majority in the statehouse in the 2016 election, it was their first time to achieve control of that chamber in 95 years. The Kentucky Democratic Party surely has had its share of Robert Byrd-type bigots over the years, but they weren’t running things in 2016—or in the 1990s, when Kentucky gave its presidential electoral votes to Bill Clinton twice. The share of African Americans on the metro council is higher than the African American share of the metro population. Louisville had a black police chief from 2003 until 2011, when he got a better offer from Denver. Interim chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel is black. Deputy chief Paul Humphrey is black. They have a diversity boss who boasts of “several certifications from Cornell University in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.”
And Louisville isn’t a city that suffered some kind of economic or social catastrophe, like Detroit. Louisville has a slightly higher median household income than does Houston or Jacksonville, a slightly higher population share with bachelors’ degrees than Miami or Phoenix, a lower murder rate than Columbus or Nashville, a lower unemployment rate than Dallas. Without excusing it, one could understand that police and other municipal agencies would be under more stress in a city such as St. Louis, where the murder rate is four times what it is in Louisville, or Camden, N.J., which has a poverty rate more than twice that of Louisville. Louisville isn’t an especially well-off place on most measures, but on most metrics it is closer to Austin than it is to Detroit.
It’s just an ordinary, badly governed place—one where the civil rights of residents are systematically abused, according to the DOJ.
I sure wish I could write like Kevin Williamson (and the good sense to steer clear from, well, that issue).
Also, I don’t know if so many American big cities are so poorly run because they’re run by Democrats, or simply because the same people have been in charge for so long and seem to be able to run unopposed. Even if they’re from the “good” team, being in power for so long inevitably corrupts. I wouldn’t call deep-red states run by the GOP for decades examples of good governance, either.
When that train derailed in Ohio a few weeks ago, I saw several people - most of them with some variation of “be kind” in their Twitter bio - sneering that these Trump-supporting rednecks had it coming because of how they voted. Fair enough, I guess. But by that logic, the people of Baltimore, who haven’t elected a Republican mayor since before the moon landing, have no one to blame but themselves for schools with entire graduating classes who can’t do math.
One-party states do not work. That applies whether they’re one-party states by law, or by custom.
Mind you, Tim Miller shows how the Colorado GOP is doing a bang-up job confirming my #NeverRepublican priors at pretty much every other level:
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