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Why Cities Lose: The Deep Roots of the Urban-Rural Political Divide

Cover of Book Why Cities Lose
Basic Books
2019

How geography undermines the Left

Why is it so much easier for the Democratic Party to win the national popular vote than to take control of Congress? Many blame partisan gerrymandering and voter suppression. But as political scientist Jonathan A. Rodden demonstrates in Why Cities Lose, geography is the fundamental cause of the Left's electoral woes--not only in America but throughout the West.

In the late nineteenth century, support for the Left began to cluster in cities among the industrial working class. Today, left-wing parties have become coalitions of diverse urban interest groups, from racial minorities to the creative class. These parties win big in urban districts but struggle to capture the suburban and rural seats necessary for legislative majorities.

A bold new interpretation of today's urban-rural political conflict, Why Cities Lose also points to electoral reforms that could address the challenges facing parties of the Left here and abroad.