Anybody who glances at the electoral map for recent presidential elections will notice that the Democrat candidate racks up their votes in urban America. In comparison, there are some portions of middle America where one would have to literally drive for hours to find a precinct that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. The last Republican presidential candidate to win New York City (America’s most populous city) was Calvin Coolidge in 1924. There is little doubt that streak will easily surpass 100 years. I’ve previously written more extensively about the urban-rural divide here and here.
Two stories from Raleigh perhaps highlight the problem of one-party rule, which is especially prominent in American cities. There is an opening for conservatives to make aggressive policy appeals on issues like taxes and property rights. Can they capitalize? After all, it’s hard to garner the support of urban voters if you aren’t going after them.
Probably the biggest opportunity in Raleigh is the proposed near 10 percent property tax increase on Wake County residents. California once had an infamous tax revolt that was launched in the heavily urbanized Southern part of the state. The revolt led to the infamous Proposition 13 that placed restrictions on property tax hikes and helped fuel a statewide and national conservative resurgence in the late 1970s. As has been said by many before, if you think you truly own your home, try not paying property taxes for a few years.
The other story has to do with the Raleigh City Council passed a measure to regulate and essentially criminalize many Airbnb rentals by homeowners. Seems like bad timing given that some people may need to start renting out their homes at times to pay all of the new property taxes.
Transportation congestion, education, crime, taxes, the cost of housing, property rights, sin taxes on sugary products, and deregulation, are just some of the issues that conservatives can effectively speak to with urban residents. The door will remain open as long as the ill-effects and unintended consequences inevitably grow because of one-party rule and collective group-think.