Beyond the 'Urban Vote'

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The Times has a great piece up this morning analyzing Paul Ryan's theory that his ticket lost because of the "urban vote." Certainly the "urban vote" was part of it. But it can't explain why Paul Ryan's ticket lost in Paul Ryan's own home district:

"What Paul Ryan misses is that the Republicans have been losing the urban vote for a long, long time," said Marc Morial, the president and chief executive of the National Urban League. "Now they are losing the suburban vote, too. They are becoming more urban in their character, in their makeup, in the problems." 

In Ohio, for example, Mr. Obama received 63,000 fewer votes in the three big urban counties in 2012 than he did in 2008. In the big urban counties in Virginia, Colorado, Wisconsin or Pennsylvania, Mr. Obama also won by smaller margins than in 2008, typically receiving fewer votes. In Milwaukee, voter turnout did increase, but the Romney/Ryan ticket picked up more than half of the increased number of voters there. 

Mr. Morial said he did not know why Mr. Ryan was focusing attention on the nation's urban core as the cause of the Republican losses...
I think Ryan's comments would be much more interesting if he were willing to contemplate why the Republican ticket lost the urban vote. I do not think that is going to happen:
Some of Mr. Ryan's aides said that as a candidate he had hoped to spend more time in poor urban areas to explain his theories of fighting poverty, and was restrained by his schedule.
So say we all. But a schedule is not merely a list of things that should happen at an appointed hour. It is a statement of priorities. Getting the "urban vote" isn't among them. Repressing the "urban vote" is.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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