This post isn’t about politics. It’s about practicality. A nation cannot survive if citizens cannot work together for an agreed upon society. We’ve been living with just that situation at least since 2000.
This map is a problem .
All the counties shaded in red indicate that they are losing population.
All the counties shaded in light green indicate that they are growing slower than the national average.
All the counties shaded in dark green indicated that they are growing faster than the national average.
As you can see, much of the country is losing population. More importantly, more of the population growth is concentrated in a select number of metro areas (with the notable exceptions of the entireties of Washington and Florida).
What type of political situation does this create? In some parts of the country, the economy is booming, people are moving in, and all is well. In many parts of the country, people are leaving, the economy is doing badly, and all seems hopeless.
In effect, Americans are living in two different countries. In one country, we have people who are living in a prosperous environment. They mostly live in suburban and urban areas. Partly due to their prosperity, they can focus on social issues more. They support liberal social issues most of the time.
In the other country, we have people who are living in a struggling environment. They mostly live in rural areas, but people from struggling inner-cities are included in this country. They wish to have the prosperity of the suburban and urban areas, and hence they vote out of economic desire. They generally support conservative economic policies most of the time.
The first country I described voted Democratic at a higher rate than in previous elections. Similarly, the second country I described voted Republican at a higher rate than in previous elections.
This issue will only exacerbate if the current trend continues. We will continue to be hopelessly divided if the majority of counties lose population and only a few gain at a high rate.
How do we, as Americans, fix this trend. After more than half a century of flight from rural America is there a way to encourage economic development in those counties losing population?
It’s easy to say we “have to change” but a lot harder to actually change. As always, it’s easier to observe a problem and harder to fix it. Take the water system in Flint Michigan which has been contaminated for several YEARS without anyone lifting a hand to fix it. And just because citizens recognize a problem does not mean politicians can be persuaded to vote against the interests of their campaign donors.