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Republican Attacks Shifting Focus Toward Cities

By focusing their criticism on the federal government, argues Jonathan Chait, Republicans fail to address the real problem: over-regulation on the state and local level.
October 26, 2015, 6am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Cities, and urban policy in general, have long been the site of criticism from the right. "The specifics of the critique run the gamut from the rational and technocratic to amorphous racialized suburban terror, and they invoke a reactionary distrust of cities that runs deep in conservative thought,"writes Jonathan Chait.

Jonathan Chait argues that while Republicans associate urban failure with leftist politics, that belief is not borne out in their recent policy choices. By sticking to broad rhetoric against the Obama administration, Republicans refuse to push for the changes that might actually benefit cities. Chait writes, "Rather than reorient their platform to attack big government where big government is most deserving of attack, [Republicans] are instead using those forms of government as rhetorical cover for a traditional agenda."

Chait's conclusion: "A world where the Republican Party focused its attacks on government on the state and local government level is a world where the party would be playing a constructive role in the domestic-policy debate."

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Published on Friday, October 16, 2015 in New York Magazine
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