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Political Segregation


When I first looked at this data set about political segregation in cities from 538, I rolled my eyes. When you note that Jackson and Birmingham and Memphis are among the most politically segregated cities–where Democrats live next to Democrats and Republicans live next to Republicans, even in the same city–all you are saying is that all the black people are Democrats and all the white people are Republicans and this tells us precisely nothing, a frequent problem with this supposedly amazing data-driven analysis that 538 and others now track in. But it turns out it is basically the same in highly white cities such as Fort Collins, Boise, and Knoxville. I guess that’s not surprising. It really is two nations in some ways and the values are diametrically different in nearly all parts of life. Of all the white-heavy cities listed, I know Spokane the best, and I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live out with the crazies in the Spokane Valley unless I wanted Mark Fuhrman as my neighbor, which I very much do not. In any case, Democrats clustering themselves into the same states, the same cities, and even the same neighborhoods makes a lot of sense in terms of actually living but it’s pretty disastrous in a political system that prioritizes sprawl and small states.

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