Cities Are Forgotten In Presidential Race

<p>Urban issues and metropolitan policy are noticeably absent from the platforms of the three main presidential candidates.</p>
April 4, 2008, 12pm PDT | Christian Madera | @cpmadera
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"There are three times as many urbanites in America as country folk, yet you wouldn't know it listening to the three main presidential candidates, or perusing their Web sites. Instead, you might come away thinking the United States is a collection of Norman Rockwell small towns surrounded by picture-book farms.

For Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, the plight of rural farm families ranks among the urgent crises facing America. Republican John McCain frets about veterans, the unborn, outer space. But you won't hear much about aging cities on Earth fighting to keep their downtowns alive and their overcrowded commuter buses on the road. Cities just don't figure in the political imagination anymore."

"Supposedly, the reason that candidates are loath to mention the C-word is that the Suburban Nation of grill-obsessed dads and van-driving moms dominates the electorate. Since it's assumed that cities will vote Democratic no matter how badly they're treated, there's no percentage for either party to talk up things like pocket parks, waterfront development, or - can you imagine? - wasteful sprawl. Besides, the discussion will only alienate voters who still associate an urban platform with cities in flames."

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Published on Friday, April 4, 2008 in The Philadelphia Inquirer
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