Barack Obama performed 9 points better than John Kerry among urban whites. This was not by any means the most important factor in his election, but it helps to explain the large improvements that the Democratic ticket made in states like Colorado and Nevada, where a great deal of the population is concentrated in Denver and Las Vegas, respectively, and why Republicans were at best able to tread water by targeting the rural areas of Pennsylvania, while Obama waltzed his way to winning large majorities of white and black voters in Philadelphia.
This also attests, of course, to the stupidity of bashing big cities. Roughly 82 million Americans live in cities of 100,000 persons or more, including 40 million in cities of 500,000 persons or more. This does not count smaller cities or suburban areas, which account for another 150 million Americans or so. (Don’t neglect the fact, also, that many Americans who do have their residence in big cities may nevertheless work or play in them, and therefore think well of them).
I’m pretty damn excited about a president who comes from where I come from, who sees cabs and bikes and elevated trains and subways and buses every day, who doesn’t have an “estate” or a “compound” or a “ranch” someplace “real.” People always say they want a candidate they can relate to, after all. As a girl so white she’s practically transparent, I can’t lay claim to a connection to history near as strong as those African-Americans who’ve been waiting their whole lives for a president who looks like them, but I can take a certain amount of joy in having a president who sees my skyline every day from his front sidewalk.
I’m fine with farms. I’m fine with small towns, suburbs, you should do whatever you want to do. But we do America no favors when we assume the qualifications for leadership include coming from one place and not another, and we need not only diversity of race in our leaders but diversity of experiences.
Not that President Hotass can’t pull the cowboy thing off, though: