Cities Still Absent From Presidential Campaign Politics

Last night's Democratic candidate debate was held in the nation's second largest city, but like previous debates, it left urban issues largely unaddressed.

1 minute read

December 20, 2019, 12:00 PM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

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12x / Flickr

Alan Greenblat writes about the fundamental lack of urban representation in presidential campaigns:

With less than two months remaining before the Iowa presidential caucuses, a number of Democrats have been complaining that the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire are too white to be representative of the country as a whole.

They could just as easily complain that the states are too rural to reflect either the country or the party's own geographic base.

The largest city in either of the two states is Des Moines. At 215,000 residents, it doesn't make the top 100 most populous cities in the country, notes Greenblat.

There are several ongoing efforts to fill the urban gap during the presidential primary—the National League of Cities "established a 2020 presidential election task force, and last month it released its list of top local issues it wants candidates to address," and the U.S. Conference of Mayors "co-sponsored a presidential forum in Waterloo, Iowa, with mayors interviewing five of the Democratic contenders about local issues"—but there's still a lack of attention paid to cities, according to Greenblat.

What's more, according to Greenblat, an anti-urban partisanship plays out in state legislatures too. Numerous mayors and former mayors, including one running for president, are cited in the article trying to coalesce an urban agenda for presidential campaign politics.

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