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The urban-rural divide


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#41 baw1064

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Posted 14 November 2018 - 11:00 PM

538's analysis of the Texas Senate race, a familiar pattern:

https://fivethirtyei...e-map-in-texas/
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#42 Beelzebuddy

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Posted 15 November 2018 - 10:51 AM

View Postbaw1064, on 14 November 2018 - 11:00 PM, said:

538's analysis of the Texas Senate race, a familiar pattern:

https://fivethirtyei...e-map-in-texas/
Here's hoping Beto runs against Cornyn in 2020.
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#43 Sinan

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Posted 16 November 2018 - 09:59 AM

View PostAnBr, on 12 November 2018 - 05:38 PM, said:

So Billy Joe Bob is going to get a high tech job if he can just get enough fiber?

One never knows what Billy Bob will do but his kids will skip town if there is lousy internet. I joke that my job is bringing high speed porn to Rural America. It's actually true.
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#44 LFC

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Posted 07 May 2019 - 04:24 PM

Another researcher views the decline of rural areas in America as inevitable. The stats since the 2008 recession are pretty stunning.

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Metropolitan areas consist of those counties with central cities of at least 50,000, along with the surrounding counties that are economically dependent on them. They make up 36% of all counties. Between 2008, the cusp of the Great Recession, and 2017, they enjoyed nearly 99% of all job and population growth.

What remained of job and population growth was divided among the 21% of counties that are called micropolitans, which have midsized cities with between 10,000 and 50,000 residents, and the remaining 42% of counties that are rural.

Nationally, 71% of all metropolitan counties grew between 2008 and 2017, but more than half of the remaining micropolitan and rural counties did not grow or shrank in population.


Nobody in those areas has any idea of how to stop it, or at least none that make sense (like "Build a wall!"). In the meantime they dwindle and become a greater burden on state and federal government.

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Small and medium-sized urban areas – and the rural counties that are linked to them – are left with transportation, public works, housing and commercial bases that they struggle to maintain. Inevitably, blight ensues. Most micropolitan and rural communities have no viable economic Plan B, so I believe that the majority of them are fated to dwindle until eventually reaching some level of stability.

Federal and state governments provide them fresh water and wastewater treatment assistance, health care access, subsidized transportation and workforce training, but none of that alters the underlying forces inhibiting their collective prospects for growth. Every core industry originally undergirding these areas continues to shed jobs.

Meanwhile, the nation’s metropolitan cities continue to accumulate greater opportunities for meaningful jobs, career advancement and enhanced qualities of lives.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

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#45 Traveler

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Posted 08 May 2019 - 08:54 AM

Very topical article.

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But polls suggest it’s an uphill battle. Trump’s approval rating was at 39 percent nationally in the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll, but it was 57 percent among rural voters.

Bill Clinton, with his small-town Arkansas background, was the last Democrat to fully straddle the urban-rural divide, driving up votes in the cities but also flipping many red states to blue. That changed in 2000 with George W. Bush, who narrowly prevailed in places like Iowa and Ohio.

David Axelrod, who served as Obama’s chief strategist, said Democrats can benefit from making even a dent in the GOP’s rural turf, as Obama did.

“I’m not Pollyanna-ish about it from a Democratic perspective. You are not going to carry those areas. The polarization is very intense,” Axelrod said. “But losing 70-30 is different than 80-20. When you look at how close those states were that we lost to Donald Trump, those votes can make a difference.”
Should Dems even care about those assholes? Methinks not. For every rural vote for Trump, there were two urban votes that didnt vote. Its total war now. We have to get our nonvoters voting. Not worry about those on the margin that mean nothing in the House.
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Posted 08 May 2019 - 09:05 AM

View PostLFC, on 07 May 2019 - 04:24 PM, said:

Another researcher views the decline of rural areas in America as inevitable. The stats since the 2008 recession are pretty stunning.

However, when West Virginia is down to a few hundred people, they'll be some of the wealthiest in the country. Remember, they'll still have two votes in the Senate and one in the House, plus all of the usual block grants, highway funds, etc. Compared to other States, they'll be cheap to buy off.

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Nobody in those areas has any idea of how to stop it, or at least none that make sense (like "Build a wall!"). In the meantime they dwindle and become a greater burden on state and federal government.

At some point, that "burden" gets to be a pretty sweet deal. Not that the current residents will get any of it, of course. There's some nice second-hand (or third, or eighth) home land in WV and the taxes will be nonexistent, so WV will become dominated by wealthy tax-haven seekers with political ambitions. Just think! A place with three votes in the EC and they won't have to share it.
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#47 LFC

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Posted 08 May 2019 - 10:17 AM

View PostTraveler, on 08 May 2019 - 08:54 AM, said:

Very topical article.

Should Dems even care about those assholes? Methinks not. For every rural vote for Trump, there were two urban votes that didnt vote. Its total war now. We have to get our nonvoters voting. Not worry about those on the margin that mean nothing in the House.

The Dems should run two campaigns. In urban and suburban areas they need to get the vote out by letting people know that they, and not Republicans, are the ones interested in policies that help actual people. In the hard-core red areas they need to find people who will attack, attack, and attack again. Seed doubt in red areas by scaring the shit out of them about jobs, healthcare, retirement, their children being poisoned, and on and on. I suspect this could be done in a fairly economical fashion.

The trick is to to simultaneously move purple to blue and pale red to purple. Deep red? You're spot on. F*** 'em.
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

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#48 LFC

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Posted 10 May 2019 - 01:12 PM

A piece at TAC says that a number of the failing old cities and towns were really little more than an illusion of a human created community. In fact they never really were much more than company towns, almost destined to die once the company was gone. The author does not say this with glee but rather with resignation but it's a reality that I think our nation needs to face in a united fashion. There's also an example of how fracking camps take a different, clearly temporary, approach.

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I recently read and reviewed Tim Carney’s excellent book Alienated America, a sort of combination of the “how we got Trump” genre with the sociological works of researchers like Robert Putnam and Charles Murray. Carney’s exploration of the Trump phenomenon, and his grappling with the timeless question of economic security versus personal responsibility in regard to the formation of virtue, family, and community, are among the best you’ll find. There is a deeper subtext in his book, however, that is not excavated. But first, a quick recap.

As in most treatments of inequality, geographic immobility, deindustrialization, and related issues, Alienated America features the requisite visits to faded old towns with ghostly main streets, and paeans to the blue-collar jobs that once allowed men with high school educations to comfortably own homes, raise families, and retire with pensions.

Through a long analysis, including a fascinating visit to a fracking camp in North Dakota—awash in money but utterly lacking in neighborliness and community—Carney concludes that wealth alone does not produce human flourishing. It is rather community and what social researchers call “civil society” that makes the American Dream possible. Obviously, money helps, but it is not sufficient, nor, in Carney’s telling, even necessary. For much of America, especially less affluent places, the primary institution of community and civil society is the church. While acknowledging that there is a chicken-and-egg problem here, and a problem of reinforcing cycles and virtuous circles, Carney nonetheless deems an economic, or “materialist,” explanation of American civic and family decline insufficient. The revival of the American Dream requires the re-churching of America.

This may well be largely true for places that are struggling; struggling to keep family and community intact in the face of deteriorating economic opportunity and the withering of old community institutions and social norms. But here’s the rub: some of the places Carney visits and alludes to are not exactly “struggling.” This is euphemism; these places are destroyed, ruined, vast swaths of their built environments far beyond the hope of revitalization.

The surfeit of Detroit “ruin porn” and the counterexamples of hipster homesteaders and craft businesses have recently been steering the Rust Belt narrative from one of terminal decline to one of scrappy, unlikely renewal. But the growth of a few Detroit or Youngstown neighborhoods, or the eds-and-meds reinvention of a few towns or inner-ring suburbs, is more like the growing of moss on a dead log than the sprouting of a new shoot. It does not presage comprehensive renewal, and it is not likely to bring the old community back, much less the old way of life.

Carney’s juxtaposition of old industrial towns, once overflowing with family and community life, to fracking camps is fascinating for a different reason than the one he gives: one can argue that many of these places where the American Dream is dead are, essentially, fracking camps writ large. The fact that they once possessed vibrant civil society—ethnic and social clubs, Little Leagues, union halls, tightly-knit public schools—is deceiving. In reality, they were often glorified company towns, with funding or tax revenue from the dominant employer flowing to and propping up these institutions of civil society. In some cases, even housing was built, cheaply, by employers. Gary, Indiana, famous once for steel and now for spectacular urban decline, was in fact founded by a steel company.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

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#49 LFC

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Posted 10 May 2019 - 05:16 PM

Krugman notes that Trump's approval stronghold is the rural area of the country but that he's f***ing them royally. With Republican policy making life ever harder who knows how they can last. Perhaps middle America will become nothing but factory farms with the few people remaining being completely dependent on the low paying jobs they provide. Meanwhile the companies that own the farms get 2 Senate votes and at least one House vote per state. FREEDUMB!

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Economists, reports Politico, are fleeing the Agriculture Department’s Economic Research Service. Six of them resigned on a single day last month. The reason? They are feeling persecuted for publishing reports that shed an unflattering light on Trump policies.

But these reports are just reflecting reality (which has a well-known anti-Trump bias). Rural America is a key part of Donald Trump’s base. In fact, rural areas are the only parts of the country in which Trump has a net positive approval rating. But they’re also the biggest losers under his policies.

What, after all, is Trumpism? In 2016 Trump pretended to be a different kind of Republican, but in practice almost all of his economic agenda has been G.O.P. standard: big tax cuts for corporations and the rich while hacking away at the social safety net. The one big break from orthodoxy has been his protectionism, his eagerness to start trade wars.

And all of these policies disproportionately hurt farm country.


Quote

At the same time, the assault on the safety net is especially harmful to rural America, which relies heavily on safety-net programs. Of the 100 counties with the highest percentage of their population receiving food stamps, 85 are rural, and most of the rest are in small metropolitan areas. The expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, which Trump keeps trying to kill, had its biggest positive impact on rural areas.

And these programs are crucial to rural Americans even if they don’t personally receive government aid. Safety-net programs bring purchasing power, which helps create rural jobs. Medicaid is also a key factor keeping rural hospitals alive; without it, access to health care would be severely curtailed for rural Americans in general.

What about protectionism? The U.S. farm sector is hugely dependent on access to world markets, much more so than the economy as a whole. American soybean growers export half of what they produce; wheat farmers export 46 percent of their crop. China, in particular, has become a key market for U.S. farm products. That’s why Trump’s recent rage-tweeting over trade, which raised the prospect of an expanded trade war, sent grain markets to a 42-year low.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#50 pnwguy

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Posted 10 May 2019 - 05:42 PM

View PostLFC, on 10 May 2019 - 05:16 PM, said:

Krugman notes that Trump's approval stronghold is the rural area of the country but that he's f***ing them royally. With Republican policy making life ever harder who knows how they can last. Perhaps middle America will become nothing but factory farms with the few people remaining being completely dependent on the low paying jobs they provide. Meanwhile the companies that own the farms get 2 Senate votes and at least one House vote per state. FREEDUMB!
Serfs up!

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#51 baw1064

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Posted 10 May 2019 - 09:14 PM

I guess the Road to Serfdom counts as an infrastructure project.
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#52 JackD

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Posted 10 May 2019 - 09:30 PM

All of that being accepted as true, the question remains: what, if anything, should be done to help such places?

#53 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 11 May 2019 - 08:15 AM

View PostLFC, on 10 May 2019 - 01:12 PM, said:

A piece at TAC says that a number of the failing old cities and towns were really little more than an illusion of a human created community. In fact they never really were much more than company towns, almost destined to die once the company was gone. The author does not say this with glee but rather with resignation but it's a reality that I think our nation needs to face in a united fashion. There's also an example of how fracking camps take a different, clearly temporary, approach.

His bald assertion that churches are the key is more speculation in the face of facts than any actual analysis as far as I can see.The West is covered with ghost towns that once had (contrary to the usual assertion) more churches than saloons. New Mexico, today, is more consistently churched than the so-called "Bible belt," where different nanosects within Southern Baptist orthodoxy provoke more dissention than union.

IMHO, the great problem today is more that there is no possible way to build a coherent civil society when jobs, housing, and education are all "at will." People don't dare set down roots out of concern that they'll be ripped up again.
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#54 pnwguy

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Posted 11 May 2019 - 02:26 PM

View PostD. C. Sessions, on 11 May 2019 - 08:15 AM, said:

His bald assertion that churches are the key is more speculation in the face of facts than any actual analysis as far as I can see.The West is covered with ghost towns that once had (contrary to the usual assertion) more churches than saloons.
While a church provided something of a common ethos for it's membership, I think it's more the sense of community groups that hold a town together, regardless of the religious mission. Civic clubs like the Kiwanis, Rotary, Exchange Club, and fraternal ones like the VFW, Eagles, or Masons also gave people exposure of the needs of others and a common sense of purpose. You know who's hurting, who is sick, and who needs help in your membership. While American youth has been shunning organized religion in ever greater numbers, the culture hasn't really found a good substitute for those local bonding organizations. Virtual online communities don't have nearly the same cohesive effects that make a local village thrive, especially since they tend to box in people by affinity interests.

Human settlements often were build around a synagogue, church, mosque, or temple as a focal point. As we decline to be a religious people, we need some alternative organizations to provide similar cohesiveness. Right now, it's often just local sports teams, and the pattern of billionaire ownership doesn't lend itself to the great community needs.
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#55 baw1064

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Posted 11 May 2019 - 04:34 PM

View PostD. C. Sessions, on 11 May 2019 - 08:15 AM, said:

His bald assertion that churches are the key is more speculation in the face of facts than any actual analysis as far as I can see.The West is covered with ghost towns that once had (contrary to the usual assertion) more churches than saloons. New Mexico, today, is more consistently churched than the so-called "Bible belt," where different nanosects within Souther Baptist orthodoxy provoke more dissention than union.

IMHO, the great problem today is more that there is no possible way to build a coherent civil society when jobs, housing, and education are all "at will." People don't dare set down roots out of concern that they'll be ripped up again.

I was going to post something along the same lines. One side of my family is from rural Nevada, where ghost towns (usually founded following a mineral strike and abandoned when it ran out) are the normal state of affairs. There's just no reason for people to live in some random place in the desert if there's no economic base or some other resources (water source, key transportation route, etc.). Of course one things get to a certain size they tend to be self sustaining (not really any good reason for Las Vegas to be there, except that it already is there.

One question is what really is the difference between a former coal mining town in Appalachia and a former silver mining town in the West?
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#56 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 11 May 2019 - 06:51 PM

View Postbaw1064, on 11 May 2019 - 04:34 PM, said:

One question is what really is the difference between a former coal mining town in Appalachia and a former silver mining town in the West?

Five or ten decades, more or less.
The way a lot of catastrophes happen is that X doesn't occur because there are safeguards in place, therefore people assume X isn't a worry and they remove the safeguards. Then X happens.
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"Robots aren't the problem. Capitalism is." -- Last words of Stephen Hawking.
These days, "libertarian" is just a euphemism for a Nazi who's afraid to commit.
"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." -- Heather Heyer
"I'd rather have my child, but by golly, if I gotta give her up, we're gonna make it count." -- Her mother
"Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events." -- some RINO

#57 JackD

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Posted 11 May 2019 - 08:45 PM

People tend to stay in the Appalachian towns; not so much in the western mining towns. The same thing is true of farm towns in general (some stay) and old industrial towns (people still live in Gary). Maybe the ones that lasted the longest before their demise caused residents to develop roots and nostalgic memories that were not easily abandoned like quickly used up mining operations that hadn't had much time to develop a culture.

#58 AnBr

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Posted 11 May 2019 - 08:45 PM

View PostD. C. Sessions, on 11 May 2019 - 08:15 AM, said:

His bald assertion that churches are the key is more speculation in the face of facts than any actual analysis as far as I can see.The West is covered with ghost towns that once had (contrary to the usual assertion) more churches than saloons. New Mexico, today, is more consistently churched than the so-called "Bible belt," where different nanosects within Southern Baptist orthodoxy provoke more dissention than union.

IMHO, the great problem today is more that there is no possible way to build a coherent civil society when jobs, housing, and education are all "at will." People don't dare set down roots out of concern that they'll be ripped up again.

I remember a study on the generosity of people that refuted claims that the religious are more giving than the nonreligious because they found any social construct or organization bore the same results. In other words the peer pressure from such organizations, religious or not was the determining factor for many.
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#59 Rich T Bikkies

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Posted 12 May 2019 - 07:58 AM

View Postbaw1064, on 11 May 2019 - 04:34 PM, said:

. . . not really any good reason for Las Vegas to be there, except that it already is there.

Perhaps not even that is a good reason for Las Vegas to be there? Some might say that the fact that Las Vegas is there and has been there long enough for us to see what it is like provides a very good reason why it should not be there!
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Posted 12 May 2019 - 08:10 AM

View Postbaw1064, on 11 May 2019 - 04:34 PM, said:

Of course one things get to a certain size they tend to be self sustaining (not really any good reason for Las Vegas to be there, except that it already is there.

Likewise Phoenix. Originally it was cotton and citrus, with an Air Force base or four during WWII (Luke, Williams, Falcon for the limeys, then Thunderbird 1 and Thunderbird 2 for the Yanks.) After the war, a fair number of vets settled there for cheap housing and no winter to mention (I don't know how they missed the part about summer.) Now it's air conditioning and cheap private transport.

My bet is that it won't take much of a rise in fuel prices to puncture the 60-year bubble.
The way a lot of catastrophes happen is that X doesn't occur because there are safeguards in place, therefore people assume X isn't a worry and they remove the safeguards. Then X happens.
— Nate Silver
"Robots aren't the problem. Capitalism is." -- Last words of Stephen Hawking.
These days, "libertarian" is just a euphemism for a Nazi who's afraid to commit.
"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." -- Heather Heyer
"I'd rather have my child, but by golly, if I gotta give her up, we're gonna make it count." -- Her mother
"Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events." -- some RINO





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