The latest manifestation of this is what Bill Bishop calls "the Big Sort." By that, he means that Americans have increasingly "clustered in communities of sameness, among people with similar ways of life, beliefs, and, in the end, politics." Republican fundamentalists congregate with other Republican fundamentalists. Liberal Democrats herd with other liberal Democrats. Environmentalists decamp to Portland, Ore. Child-centered Republican families move to the exurbs of Dallas and Minneapolis.Is this a surprise to anybody? The fact is, republicans have been leaving the cities in droves because they're not big fans of inept government, high taxes, high unemployment, horrible schools and lots of crime.
The increasing segregation of America by social and cultural values -- not just by income -- helps explain America's growing political polarization, Bishop argues in his new book (naturally: "The Big Sort"). Because prosperity enables more Americans to live where they please, they gravitate to lifestyle ghettos -- and that has significant political implications. Citing studies of social psychology, Bishop says that group consciousness actually amplifies likes and dislikes. Views become more extreme. People become more self-righteous and more suspicious of outsiders.
It's not red and blue states so much as red and blue counties. Bishop -- a recovering newspaper columnist -- collaborated with Robert Cushing, a retired professor of sociology from the University of Texas, to examine voting patterns in presidential elections. They classified counties as politically lopsided if one candidate won by 20 percentage points or more. Their findings are stunning. In the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon election, a virtual dead heat, 33 percent of counties qualified. By 2000, also a dead heat, that was 45 percent. In 2004, it was 48 percent. In 1976, it had been as low as 27 percent.
Of course, for the most part, it's not democrats who are relocating to "progressive" enclaves, they're the ones left over... living in a cesspool called a city.
Cleveland is probably more democratic than it was in the year 2000. But it's not because droves of democrats moved in, it's because 115,000 people moved out and I'm guessing that those people were predominately republican.
See, republicans are smart enough to see the Titanic going down the drain so they pack up their families and get a life raft while they still can. Democrats stay behind thinking their great governance will somehow turn things around which, of course, just makes it worse.
America's great because if you are a democrat, you're free to live in your cities with all its crime, bad schools, homeless population, horrible government, high taxes, decaying real estate while me and my republican friends can live in a nice place.
What's so "progressive" about dying cities?