Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the recent increase in looting and violence in cities across the country, many people are fleeing the nation’s largest cities in droves. From Los Angeles to New York, those who once considered the cities the best place for business and entertainment are leaving for the safety of the suburbs, potentially impacting the 2020 election in the process.
Robert Herjavec, one of the hosts of the reality television series Shark Tank, recently relocated from Los Angeles to the suburbs. He said, “This is one of the greatest moves to the suburbs from urban areas since the 1950s or the ‘60s. I recently move out of Los Angeles into a suburban area, and I can tell you on a very personal level, my area is on fire.”
Madeline Wiebicke, a realtor in a suburb outside of Manhattan, explained that there has been an explosion of interest in property outside the city. In an interview with The Guardian, she said, “First off, it’s the virus, and people are just feeling done with small apartments. Then came the protests. (People are saying) they just can’t handle the city right now. They’re saying they want a quiet yard and most of all a home office.”
Millennials are also moving out of the big cities and buying historic, fixer-upper homes.
When historians look back on the time, it may represent a fundamental shift not only in American life, but in the election results as well.
Generally, most of those people who live in America’s largest cities tend to lean towards the left side of the political divide, while suburban and rural areas tend to lean more towards the right. As American liberals move out of major cities for the safety and security of the suburbs, it could have a profound impact on whether a district is red or blue this coming election season. This could especially impact the presidential election.
An article in The Atlantic explains, “All over the world, liberal, college-educated voters pack into cities, where they dilute their own voting power through excessive concentration. ‘Underrepresentation of the urban left in national legislatures and governments has been a basic feature of all industrialized countries that use winner takes all elections,’ author Jonathan Rodden said.”
The United States decides the presidential election based on the Electoral College, which gives every state a specific number of electoral votes based upon its population size. The bigger the state by population, the more the votes. Due to the fact that most of America’s largest cities are on the East and West coast respectively, that means the coastal states, California and New York specifically, usually vote Democrat and the interior states usually Republican.
The great thing about the Electoral College is that it prevents the coastal states from determining the elections by sheer population. If people move out of the bigger cities to the suburbs in the same state or to other states, this could easily shift.
The Electoral College is, perhaps, one of the sole reasons why the Democrats have been prevented from holding the presidency over the last couple of decades.
For example, the Electoral College is the only reason why Al Gore and Hillary Clinton didn’t win the presidency, even if they won the popular vote. In 2016, The Atlantic explains, “Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election despite her 2.4-million-vote margin. Clinton carried Manhattan and Brooklyn by approximately 1 million ballots—more than Donald Trump’s margins of victory in the states of Florida, Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania combined.”
As many New Yorkers have left the Big Apple for states like Florida and Texas, this could change. Florida could become blue and Texas, which is the only state with a large population to consistently go Republican in the presidential race, could become a swing state.
If that happens, it could seriously impact the ability of Republicans to ever take the White House in 2020 or in the future.
According to an article in Washington Monthly, “Without [Texas’ 38 Electoral College votes], there is no realistic scenario where they could win the presidency.”
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