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Paint The Town: Republicans Need Urban Voters and Cities Need the GOP

January 27, 2013

By Edward L. Glaeser

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Republicans need urban voters, and cities like NY need the GOP

After the presidential election in November, New York Times exit polls found that Republican candidate Mitt Romney had received only 29% of the big-city vote to President Obama’s 69%. That gap prompted Paul Ryan, Romney’s running mate, to conclude that it was "the turnout especially in urban areas" that "gave President Obama the big margin to win this race."

Ryan was right: the GOP has an urban problem. And it’s partly a self-created one. The party, nationally and even locally, has focused on winning suburban and rural votes and has stopped reaching out to city dwellers.

The cities-as-foreign-territory approach is bad politics for the Republicans: after all, successful cities like New York and Houston surge with ambitious strivers and entrepreneurs, who should instinctively sympathize with the GOP’s faith in private industry. The Republican move away from the cities is also bad for the cities themselves, which have hugely benefited and could benefit a lot more from right-of-center ideas.

Some of our greatest cities, including New York and Los Angeles, are much safer today than they were 20 years ago, thanks to Republican leaders, such as former Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Forty years ago, conservatives and liberals disagreed about how to fight crime. Conservatives looked to more effective policing; liberals, believing that poverty caused crime, bet on redistributive social policies. The past decades have overwhelmingly vindicated the conservatives. The expansive government programs of the liberals’ Great Society coincided with rapidly rising urban crime rates. Cities became safe again only when they embraced tougher and smarter policing.

Yet not all cities have gotten on the bandwagon, and safety remains a grave concern in many. The Republican Party should point to the success of the crime-fighting revolution and push for its adoption across urban America. Among the innovations that it could promote is New York’s justly renowned Compstat system, which makes a police force more accountable by mapping crime, identifying hot spots, and demanding that the precinct commanders responsible for those areas make them safer. Simply hiring more cops also helps. And Boston and Los Angeles have achieved results by building connections with leaders in local minority communities, who came to see the police as friends rather than outsiders.

Flourishing urban life depends on keeping the peace, and every American deserves to be able to walk down the street without looking over his shoulder. The GOP, historically the party of law and order, can convincingly make the case for urban crime reduction.

Original Source: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/paint_the_town_aAh76FUm4cf5u2hv4RVJxO/0

 

 
 
 

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