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The Problem

October 2013 – GOP big-city mayors vanish – Alexander Burns in Politico
  • Key takeaway: Republicans are faring increasingly worse in urban areas. This will hurt them long and short term. In 2000, half of the 20 biggest cities had GOP mayors. GOP mayors must focus their efforts on local issues. Republicans have the problem of putting politics above everything.
August 2013 – GOP Needs to Find Its Inner Jack Kemp, Rebuild Urban Base – Jennifer Hickey in Newsmax
  • Key takeaway: Republicans hurt themselves by ignoring cities. National, local, and state leaders need to focus on cities and stop ignoring them. Republicans need to offer real policy and alternatives to the status quo.
February 2013 – GOP Struggles To Sell Message In Big Cities – Alan Greenblatt in NPR
  • Key takeaway: 9 of America’s largest 100 cities have Republican mayors. In the past, the GOP did not have this problem. Other points about specific dynamics in specific cities. Those who choose to reside in cities tend to be younger, more single, have higher education rates – people who do all these things tend to lean Democratic.
  • “It’s not just that certain types of people are attracted to denser areas. Once there, they have a greater demand for infrastructure, including public transportation. That makes them more responsive to pro-government positions — and the party that embraces them.”
  • “The more densely packed you are, government has a more obvious role to play.”
  • Richard Lugar was mayor of Indianapolis in the 1960’s. He was Nixon’s “favorite mayor,” “Lugar’s priorities were in line with Nixon’s domestic policy approach, committed to improving housing and education, while combating poverty.” “It’s an approach that could help the GOP rebuild its bench in the cities, suggests Rick Baker, who served much of the past decade as the Republican mayor of St. Petersburg, Fla.”
  • “Who’s going to make sure infrastructure is working and who’s going to run redevelopment well — people don’t think those issues are partisan,” Baker says. “I do think we can succeed in the urban areas and we should compete in the urban areas.”
  • You can only maximize base turnout so much. GOP needs to start winning city vote.
January 2013 – The GOP and the City – Edward L Glaeser in City Journal
  • Key takeaway: Cities have suffered from a lack of Republican influence. Republicans need to return and show what they can do.
November 2012 – Maryland: A lonely state for Republicans – David Hill in Washington Times
  • Key takeaway: Democrats win in Maryland because they dominate cities. Republicans need to put more effort into cities, show they care, and show that they are part of the community.
November 2012 – The GOP’s Big City Problem – David Mahtesian in Politico
  • Key takeaway: Republicans urgently need to focus on cities. Democrats were similarly situated in the mid-1900s, with regard to suburban areas. in 1952, GOP Sen. Robert Taft predicted that “The Democratic Party will never win another national election until it solves the problem of the suburbs.”
November 2012 – What Republicans Are Really Up Against: Population Density – Richard Florida and Sara Johnson in The Atlantic
  • Key takeaway: GOP must accept that urbanization is inevitable, and must start handling it. If a party requires America to be stagnant and inefficient, then the party itself is stagnant and inefficient.
  • Population density corresponds with voting patterns.
  • “Red states are just underdeveloped blue states”

Geography and Population

October 2014 – There really are two Americas. An urban one and a rural one – Philip Bump in Washington Post
  • Key Takeaway: Since the 1980’s, rural areas are voting increasingly Republican and urban areas are voting increasingly Democrat.
August 2014 – These are America’s most conservative cities – Mark Olalde in USA Today
  • Interactive map of America’s 51 largest cities and their respective political leanings.
March 2014 – City vs. Country: How Where We Live Deepens the Nation’s Political Divide – Laura Meckler and Dante Chinni in WSJ
  • Gives deep insight into the nature of America’s political divide, which, it proves, is not red v. blue, but urban v. rural.
November 2013 – What the Local Elections Revealed – John Hood in Carolina Journal Online
  • Key takeaway: Republicans may be struggling in cities, but are stronger in North Carolina suburbs and statewide than ever before. They should be more competitive in cities though.
September 2013 – ‘If You Live Near Other People, You’re Probably a Democrat. If Your Neighbors Are Distant, Republican’ – Emily Badger in The Atlantic Cities
  • Key takeaway: Population density and political leanings correlate. “At about 800 people per square mile, people switch from voting primarily Republican to voting primarily Democratic.”
July 2013 – The Hazards of Gloating Over Detroit – Chris Ladd in Hip Hop Republican
  • Key takeaway: People in rural areas are more dependent on the government than people in cities.
July 2013 – 6 Charts That Show How Republican And Democratic Congressmen Live In Completely Different Countries – Josh Barro in Business Insider
  • Key takeaway: Republicans are prominent in both urban and rural areas, Democrats are only prominent in urban areas. Democrats and Republicans dominate different types of people.
June 2013 – Rural US shrinks as young flee for the cities – Norma Cohen
  • Key takeaway: rural areas are shrinking, cities are growing, and it’s helping Democrats.​​
June 2013 – Which Cities Are Growing Faster Than Their Suburbs? – Conor Dougherty in WSJ
  • Key takeaway: Cities are growing faster than suburbs for the first time in decades. Includes chart.
April 2013 – Republicans Can’t Win America if They Lose the Cities – Chris Ladd in Hip Hop Republican
  • Key takeaway: Republicans are losing cities, but that wasn’t always the case. We need to apply liberty differently in cities, as cities function differently than suburbs and rural areas. One-size-fits-all does not work. People living in close quarters means that many things have direct effects on others, unlike in urban areas. Republicans can succeed by loosening their national message to allow for a bigger tent and more diversity.
January 2013 – The GOP and the City – Edward L Glaeser in City Journal 
  • Key takeaway: The Republican Party has created its own “urban problem,” and cities have suffered from a lack of Republican influence. Republicans need to return and show what they can do for cities.
November 2012 – Red State, Blue City: How the Urban-Rural Divide Is Splitting America – Josh Kron in The Atlantic
  • Key takeaway: The political divide in America is clearly related to population density. “[V]irtually every major city (100,000-plus population) in the United States of America has a different outlook from the less populous areas that are closest to it. The difference is no longer about where people live, it’s about how people live: in spread-out, open, low-density privacy — or amid rough-and-tumble, in-your-face population density and diverse communities that enforce a lower-common denominator of tolerance among inhabitants.”
  • “Because winning a state’s electoral votes requires only a simple majority, a single city can change the entire game. Blue cities in swing states that ended up going for Obama last Tuesday include Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Denver, the cities of Florida, and the cities of Ohio.”
  • Since 1984, cities have been voting increasingly Democratic.
  • “America’s bluest cities are located in its reddest states.”
  • “The voting data suggest that people don’t make cities liberal — cities make people liberal. Here, courtesy of Princeton’s Robert Vanderbai, is an electoral map that captures the divisions.”
  • Click map to see interactive map:

interactive map

Successful Urban Republicans

May 2015 – In a Sea Change, Republicans See Baltimore as a Story of Poverty, Not Crime – David Weigel

  • Key Takeaway: Numerous Republican presidential candidates are very tuned in and attentive to cities.

March 2015 – GOP succeeding at down-ballot level – Salena Zito in TribLive 

  • Key Takeaway: “White said she listened more than talked when she went door to door, asking for votes. ‘I went to over 3,000 homes,’ she said, and ‘safe communities, education and infrastructure’ were the top concerns.”
March 2015 – Avon Sen. Kevin Witkos Talks Republican Urban Economic Plan – Rich Scinto in Avon Patch 
  • Key Takeaway: “Republicans have put together a plan with the hopes of increasing economic development and job growth in the state’s cities.”
March 2015 – Senate Republicans Pitch Urban Agenda; Embrace Parts of Malloy Budget – Christine Stuart in CT News Junkie
  • Key Takeaway: “’We firmly believe that the strength of our state depends upon the strength of our cities,’ Senate Republican leader Len Fasano, R-North Haven, said Thursday at a press conference.”
January 2015 – Can This Republican Conquer New York for the GOP? – Jack Fitzpatrick in National Journal
  • Key Takeaway: NY Rep. Chris Gibson is optimistic about the GOP’s potential in cities.
October 2014 – Rand Paul urges Oakland County GOP to embrace Detroit – Todd Spangler in Detroit Free Press
  • Key Takeaway: “U.S. Sen. Rand Paul urged Oakland County Republicans to embrace policies that would show urban Detroiters that the party cares about them — both as way to draw traditionally Democratic votes and to turn around the economic fortunes of Michigan’s largest city.” He emphasizes going into Detroit, showing up, showing they care, and showing they have solutions.
October 2014 – Charlie Baker gaining traction with urban voters – Yawu Miller in Bay State Banner
  • Key Takeaway: Charlie Baker showed up in cities, showed he had solutions, and it worked.
October 2014 – Republican Charlie Baker Courting Democrats in Massachusetts Governor’s Race – Alison King in NECN
  • Key Takeaway: Charlie Baker (candidate for governor of Massachusetts) spent a lot of time campaigning in heavily Democratic and urban areas and made his case. He won.
August 2014 – Uber opposition is anti-innovation – GOP Chairman Reince Priebus in the Chicago Tribune
  • Key Takeaway: Government shouldn’t intentionally block innovation and protect the status-quo – it should encourage new businesses to compete in the free market.
July 2014 – A More Just America – Senator Rand Paul’s remarks to the National Urban League
April 2014 – Chicago preacher James Meeks dumps Dems, backs GOP gubernatorial candidate – Mike Tobin in Fox News
  • Chicago Democrats feel failed by elected Democrats, so they’re turning to Republican Illinois gubernatorial candidate, Bruce Rauner.
  • People in cities want real results – not empty promises
  • “He speaks of the gun violence that plagues Chicago’s West and South Sides, the poverty and the appearance that there is no end in sight. ‘Our schools are still broken and getting worse. We’re last in employment or business. Our neighborhoods are deplorable,’ says Meeks. ‘And we still get the same promises from the Democratic party, but we don’t get any deliverable. I think it’s time we should look at another candidate.'”
  • Video
March 2014 – Mass. GOP works to broaden its base – Akilah Johnson in Boston Globe
  • The Massachusetts GOP is engaging voters in cities.
  • “‘It’s no secret that the reason we lose on Election Day is because we lose in urban cities,’ Kirsten Hughes, chairwoman of the Massachusetts Republican Party, said this week before grabbing the microphone to fire up the crowd at the pre-convention rally. ‘It’s not rocket science. We have to go to places we haven’t typically gone.’”
February 2014 – San Diego’s Kevin Faulconer: A sign of hope for city Republicans – By Jill Homan in the Daily Caller
  • Key takeaway: Republicans can win cities.
December 2013 – Why the GOP Is Stepping Up in Detroit – By Sen. Rand Paul and Reince Priebus in Politico
  • Key takeaway: “Critics might question our efforts, but as Republicans we believe in fighting for individual freedoms and equal opportunity for all, so we will listen to all voters in all neighborhoods, towns and cities. If a political party wants to have an impact, it can’t be in the business of going only where it already has supporters. It should be in the business of going where it can lend its support to important causes and continue to earn the trust of voters in return.”
December 2013 – Rand Paul to make economic pitch to Detroit – Kevin Cirilli in Politico
  • Key takeaway: Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is engaging Detroit, a city run into the ground by Democrats and bad economic policy, and showing them how Republican policy can fix the problem and empower residents.
November 2013 – RNC Chairman Hosts Business and Community Leaders Roundtable in Detroit, Michigan
  • Key takeaway: “Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus hosted a roundtable discussion with black business and community leaders in Detroit, Michigan to discuss solutions that would revitalize our urban centers.”
November 2013 – The Reagan-Christie model: Column – Ford O’Connell in USA Today
  • Key takeaway: Christie is winning New Jersey because he effectively represents his constituents, accomplishes good policy by working across party lines, and does more than talk about ideology.
October 2013 – GOP big-city mayors vanish – Alexander Burns in Politico
  • Key takeaway: Republicans are faring increasingly worse in urban areas. This will hurt them long and short term. In 2000, half of the 20 biggest cities had GOP mayors. GOP mayors must focus their efforts on local issues. Republicans have the problem of putting politics above everything. Article includes perspective from Republican mayors.
September 2013 – African-Americans Embrace Chris Christie – Scott Conroy in Real Clear Politics
  • Key takeaway: Christie makes enormous strides with African Americans in cities. “How many Republicans are you going to see walking up and down these streets like this?” – Democrat supporter citing Christie’s approachability.
September 2013 – Heckled & beloved, Christie wades into urban Dem territory – Matt Katz in Philly Inquirer
  • Key takeaway: Chris Christie is doing very well in cities. He is a great model for the GOP. His emphasis on bipartisanship may be a big reason.
September 2013 – Will new super PAC turn urban voters Republican? – Michael Beckel in Public Integrity
  • Key takeaway: Robert L. Fortes launched a PAC focused on urban GOP advancement, called “Urban Prosperity.”
June 2013 – D.C. GOP Spotlights Douglass’ Party ID – Jason Dick in Roll Call
  • Key takeaway: Douglass was an original city Republican.
April 2013 – New breed of big-city Republicans – Byron Tau in Politico
  • Key takeaway: Center-right Republicans fare well in cities. They are fiscally-hawkish and socially tolerant. Although, having an “R” adjacent to their name hurts them.

Policy

January 2015 – Urban policy making: Data from a survey of more than 70 U.S. mayors – Stefanie Knoll in Journalist’s Resource
  • Key Takeaway: “Research suggests that U.S. cities’ economic importance is only going to grow in the coming years, and that three mega-cities — New York, Chicago and Los Angeles — are also becoming powerful political and societal players on the national and global stage.”
  • “[D]espite some large cities having dominant delegations in state legislatures, their bills failed at higher rates than those sponsored by less areas with smaller delegations.”
  • The core priorities of all mayors were similar, regardless of city size and party affiliation: Growing and planning cities, managing transportation and city operations, “and how to budget limited resources given contemporary fiscal constraints.”
  • They also cited the same challenges and priorities: “eco­nomic development, quality of life and infrastruc­ture.”
  • Mayor’s party affiliation had a significant effect on priorities.
    • Republican mayors are more likely to prioritize the two related issues of economic development and infrastructure.
    • Democrats add in inequality, education and quality of life.
  • When asked if cities should work to reduce income inequality, a majority of mayors said “no.”
    • Republican mayors: (almost 90%)
    • Democrat mayors: (just over 50%)
  • “To help them better do their work, mayors expressed a need for ‘more technical expertise about running the city (e.g. budgeting) rather than more knowledge about particular policy areas.'”
  • “When it came to cities to which mayors looked for policy and management ideas, political affiliation was a significant factor.”
August 2014 – Are occupational licensing requirements stifling entrepreneurship? – Kent Hoover in Washington Business Journal
  • Key Takeaway: Occupational licensing requirements are impeding innovation. Many of these requirements serve don’t serve legitimate purposes. Rather, they serve to help the existing establishment in a variety of professions, and keep newcomers out.
August 2014 – Uber opposition is anti-innovation – Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus in the Chicago Tribune
  • Key Takeaway: Government shouldn’t intentionally block innovation and protect the status-quo – it should be allowing new businesses to compete in the free market.
August 2014 – GOP chases youth vote with Uber – in Politico
  • Key takeaway: The Republican National Committee released a petition supporting Uber, the free market, and innovation, and against regulations and bureaucrats. This appeals to young people and people in cities.
August 2014 – How to Deregulate Cities and States – Edward Glaeser and Cass R. Sunstein in WSJ
  • Key takeaway: Regulatory Reform would help bring jobs to cities. Currently, regulations are getting between people and their jobs. The authors note that cosmetologists, hair cutters, and tree trimmers are subject to excessive regulations.
July 2014 – Memphis is Making Freedom a Crime – Justin Owen in the Beacon Center Blog
  • Key Takeaway: “Think about that for a moment. If you give a free ride to a buddy, you’re in the clear. But if you charge one red cent for that ride, you’re now a criminal in the eyes of Memphis police.”
July 2014 – How Uber can help the GOP gain control of the cities – Grover Norquist and Patrick Gleason in Reuters
  • Key takeaway: Republicans aversion to excessive regulations make them Uber’s natural ally in cities where many Democrats are actively working to ban it, along with other ridesharing services and innovations.
June 2014 – Cities Can Be Saved—If Politicians Move Out – Diana Furchtgott-Roth in E21
  • Key takeaway: Numerous policy solutions for cities from Diana Furchtgott-Roth.
November 2013 – The Revolt Against Urban Gentry – Joel Kotkin in The Daily Beast
  • Key takeaway: Democrats have increased economic gaps in cities, and run cities like elitists. Republicans can go into cities, show how and why they’re different, showcase their solutions, and change it.
October 2013 – GOP big-city mayors vanish – Alexander Burns in Politico
  • Key takeaway: Republicans are faring increasingly worse in urban areas. This will hurt them long and short term. In 2000, half of the 20 biggest cities had GOP mayors. GOP mayors must focus their efforts on local issues. Republicans have the problem of putting politics above everything.
August 2013 – Urban agenda: Detroit’s fall must lead to a federal policy on cities – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • Key takeaway: “The government has lacked a serious urban policy for 40 years since Nixon enacted federal revenue sharing and Lyndon Johnson, declared war on poverty.” Since then, both party leaders have ignored urban America. Something must be done, and the GOP has an opportunity to lead the way.
February 2013 – Obama and GOP Share Urban Agendas – Clarence McKee in Newsmax
  • Key takeaway: Cities are disillusioned with Obama’s failures, and Republicans have the opportunity to show them they can fix what Democrats did not.
January 2013 – A case for an urban party – Aaron M. Renn in New Geography
  • Key takeaway: Republicans can win cities and should not abandon them. They can prove their ideas work in cities, as Democrats have tried their ideas and failed. They need to focus on education reform, crime reduction, privatization, etc.
January 2013 – Why the GOP can’t be an urban myth – James Pethokoukis in AEI
  • Key takeaway: Education, transportation, and deregulation are areas where the GOP can make inroads with market-based solutions. Doing better in the cities, in addition to detoxifying the GOP brand would be a political force multiplier.

Strategy

May 2015 – In U.S. cities, Republicans are looking for a few good losers for 2016

  • Key Takeaway: Many Republicans across America are becoming very serious about being more involved in cities.

May 2015 – Republicans should go to Baltimore – Michael Brendan Dougherty in The Week

  • Key Takeaway: Cities need competitive leadership and the GOP needs cities.
January 2015 – Jill Homan: GOP should build on success in our nation’s cities – Jill Homan in OC Register
  • Key Takeaway: The GOP focused in cities in 2014 and it paid off. Republicans should build upon that.
August 2014 – Cornyn Hopes To Build GOP Support With Minority Outreach – Shelley Kofler in KERA News
  • Key Takeaway: Senator John Cornyn wants to make sure he’s connecting with all his constituents, as he’s their representative. He also explains that it’s important to show everyone how Republican principles relate to every person’s needs.
  • “Texas is changing, and I think if you’re in my line of work and you represent 26 million people you need to make sure you’re connecting with them and listening to them, so that’s why we’re reaching out.”
August 2014 – GOP gets hip with Uber – Jesse Byrnes in The Hill
  • Key Takeaway: Republicans are working to attract a broader spectrum of voters.
August 2014 – ‘Uber Republicans’: Can GOP Tap Into Millennials’ Frustrations? – Dale Buss in Forbes
  • Key Takeaway: The GOP is trying to appeal to those who are harmed by regulations and bureaucrats, as it relates to ride-sharing services. Author notes that this can also help the GOP appeal to the libertarian strain running through many millennials.
August 2014 – GOP chases youth vote with Uber – in Politico
  • Key takeaway: The Republican National Committee released a petition supporting Uber, the free market, and innication, and against regulations and bureaucrats. This appeals to young people and people in cities.
July 2014 – How Uber can help the GOP gain control of the cities – Grover Norquist and Patrick Gleason in Reuters
  • Key takeaway: Republicans aversion to excessive regulations make them Uber’s natural ally in cities where many Democrats are actively working to ban it, along with other ridesharing services and innovations.
December 2013 – Rand Paul to make economic pitch to Detroit – Kevin Cirilli in Politico
  • Key takeaway: Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is engaging Detroit, a city run into the ground by Democrats and bad economic policy, and showing them how Republican policy can fix the problem and empower residents.
March 2013 – Republicans should tackle party’s blight in urban centers – Jill Homan in The Hill
  • Key takeaway: Candidates need to better engage people in cities, have more city-centric strategy, and communicate better in cities. Focus on cities in swing states and try different approaches.

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