Three Big Questions
I'll be on the radio from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time this afternoon with Joe Thomas on The Daily Constitutional. The flagship station is WCHV, 107.5 FM, in Charlottesville, but the show is syndicated throughout Central Virginia, from Richmond to Roanoke, and you can find a local station or listen live online at TheAfternoonConstitutional.com.
I had a topic in mind to discuss on the radio today which I thought I would use to draw readers' attention to a feature on my new website: the comments section, where readers can offer their own reactions on the topics discussed in The Tracinski Letter. I'll be moderating these comments and replying to them, and today I wanted to open up a discussion for readers to offer their answers to three big questions.
In this year's election, as in the previous three presidential elections, the countryside and to a certain extent the suburbs have gone for Republicans, but the coasts and the big cities have consistently gone for Democrats. This was not always the case. (Reagan won New York City in 1984, for example.) Which raises the question: how can advocates of free markets and limited government recapture some of the constituencies we have lost?
President Obama won re-election on the strength of the youth vote, the racial/ethnic vote, and the urban vote. If we want to change these voting patterns, we have to ask how these became electoral monopolies for the Democrats in the first place. And I think we have to begin by recognizing that all three bastions of support are, at least in some sense, unnatural. So let me pose this question in the form of three paradoxes of American politics.
Paradox #1: Why do the young vote for dependency—when the essence of youth is a quest for independence?
Paradox #2: Why do racial and ethnic minorities, who ought to be seeking equality before the law, vote against the party that offers a universal ideology and in favor of the party that appeals to racial and ethnic divisions?
Paradox #3: Why do the great centers of wealth and commerce, the cities, vote for the party that is hostile to wealth, commerce, and money-making?
Before some wisenheimer chimes in, let me point out that these are paradoxes, that is, apparent contradictions. I think there is a resolution to all of these paradoxes, though I am not yet settled on the best answer to all of them. (The answer to #2 is easiest, in my opinion, while the answer to #3 still has me somewhat stumped.) So to help me out, please post your suggestions in the comments field below. Post them before or during this afternoon's show and I may use them on-air. Or keep posting afterward—I hope there will be a vigorous discussion in the comments—and I will draw on them for an upcoming article on "The Three Paradoxes of American Politics."—RWT
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