May 23, 2019

The Democrats and the Suburbs

“We don’t spend much time thinking about the suburbs. That’s sort of the point — they’re purposely and pleasantly boring, a cul-de-sac monolith of culture. But the suburbs also form the worldviews of 175 million Americans. Whom you live next to, where your parents went to school, what store opens down the street — all these small things shape the politics of Americans before they even know what politics are.

In the past few years, the suburbs have also shown themselves to be the heart of the shifting politics of the nation. According to exit polls, Hillary Clinton lost the suburbs to Donald Trump in 2016, continuing a slump for Democrats — Obama lost the suburban vote in 2012 after nabbing it in 2008. But in the 2018 midterm elections, Democrats took back the House on the strength of their showing in suburban districts.

Lots of theories for the changing political proclivities of suburban Americans have been floated, and white Americans are front and center. (White people are the majority in 90 percent of America’s suburban counties.) Class has something to do with it. Over the past few years, college-educated white people have been increasingly more apt to vote for Democrats, while those without a college education skew Republican.”

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