From New Labor Forum
America’s cities are the key vectors for progressive change in the next decade. Most large cities contain a majority non-white population with a hunger for change. Young white progressives are also flocking to cities searching for economic opportunity in emerging (knowledge, digital, sustainable) urban economies, and seeking greater cultural diversity and a greener lifestyle (not stuck in traffic for hours every day). Together, these two demographic forces—young and of color—could rapidly become politically dominant in the nation. Cities were the base for President Obama’s two victories and will be the likely locus over the next decade for new policy ideas and experiments, and for progressive movements. These demographic trends will cause clashes at every step; rural America and traditionally white suburbs are heading down a dangerous and destructive path of xenophobia and conservative nationalism (economic and political)—currently led by Donald Trump. This article concludes that the movement for change, and the ideas and models that inspire them, will not start in Washington but must begin in the cities themselves, and in the struggling suburbs that surround them.
The Future of Urban Populism Will Cities Turn the Political Tides?
J. Phillip Thompson
First Published January 5, 2017
New Labor Forum