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GOP Sees Error of its Ways in Approach to Cities

In his first substantive statements regarding his ticket's failings during the recent Presidential election, GOP leader Paul Ryan "is looking to the nation’s big cities" as the cause.
November 14, 2012, 12pm PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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In the run-up to the Presidential election much was made about the Republican Party's seeming indifference to urban issues and urban voters, and the reluctance of either candidate to address topics effecting the nation's cities in any of the Presidential debates. Well it turns out such assessments are being echoed by GOP leaders such as Representative Paul D. Ryan, the vice presidential nominee, as they try to explain their recent defeat, report Michael D. Shear and Jennifer Steinhauer.

"'The surprise was some of the turnout, some of the turnout especially in urban areas, which gave President Obama the big margin to win this race,' Mr. Ryan said in an interview with WISC-TV back home in Wisconsin on Monday before returning Tuesday to Capitol Hill for the start of the lame-duck session."

"Mr. Ryan's concerns follow on the heels of other Republicans who argue that the party's lack of appeal to minority voters - many of whom live in the nation's largest urban centers - has made it more difficult to win the presidency," say Michael D. Shear and Jennifer Steinhauer. While Obama did win the urban vote overwhelmingly, the writers throw water on the theory that the urban vote made the difference in this election: "there is little proof from the results of the election that urban turnout over all played the decisive role in swing states like Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia or Wisconsin, where Mitt Romney lost in Mr. Ryan's suburban home district."

Perhaps Ryan is conflating the GOP's failure to capture much of the country's non-white vote with a misplaced belief that minority voters only reside in cities. At least that's the opinion of Representative Michael M. Honda, Democrat of California, who commented "that 'urban' is 'just another code word for people of color.'"

"But a lot of people of color live in the countryside, too," he added. "He is just grabbing at straws to justify his loss."


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Published on Tuesday, November 13, 2012 in The New York Times
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