Wednesday, January 24, 2018

How Much Will It Matter That The Economy Is Leaving Trump Voters Behind?


There are two recent posts that I'd like you to read before this one by Ron Brownstein. The first was yesterday's Economic Inequality-- Not Just Public Policy... It Starts On A Personal Level and the second was this afternoon's opioid post, about how Trump has betrayed a key part of his base in some of the reddest states. Brownstein is also very much talking about how Trump betrayed his base in key red states that put him into the White House.

He pointed out, for CNN yesterday, that while SeƱor Trumpanzee relentlessly claims credit for the strengthening economy, the nation's economic growth is being driven overwhelmingly by the places that are most resistant to him. Counties that voted for Hillary Clinton against Trump in 2016 accounted for nearly three-fourths of the nation's increased economic output and almost two-thirds of its new jobs in the years leading up to his election, according to previously unpublished findings provided to CNN by the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institution.

See that graphic up top, the biggest growth is in L.A. (4.430%), Houston (3.483%), Santa Clara County (San Jose- 2.951%), Manhattan (2.304%),Dallas (2.090%), Seattle, (2.029%), Orange County (CA- 1.985%), San Francisco (1.674%), San Diego (1.572%), Chicago (1.160%), Alameda County (Oakland-- 1.040%), Brooklyn (0.778%), Miami (0.638%)... all counties Hillary won. The only high-growth counties Trump won are Phoenix (1.279%) and Ft. Worth (0.744%)-- prompting Brownstein to remind us that "it is the diverse major metropolitan areas that voted in preponderant numbers against Trump that have clearly emerged as the nation's engines of growth. In the process, the big blue metros have pulled further away from the small town and rural communities that provide the foundation of Trump's support."
The key to this divergence has been the large metro areas' dominance of the job opportunities created by the diffusion of digital technologies, largely in white-collar industries from business consulting to software development. Meanwhile, smaller places remain much more reliant on resource extraction (like oil and gas production), manufacturing and agriculture, which have not grown nearly as reliably, or explosively, as the digital economy.

"We have two quite different economies, and what is happening in recent years is growth is largely emanating from these big county metros," says Mark Muro, director of policy at the Metropolitan Policy Program. "These are not political trends. They are deep economic and technological long waves. And while we are in the midst of this long wave, we are not near the end of it."

These trends long predate Trump's presidency. But the President's policy agenda, which prioritizes reviving manufacturing and promoting energy development, generally favors the smaller places over the large metros-- many of which feel threatened by his initiatives, from restricting immigration and trade to limiting the deductibility of state and local taxes.

Muro, like many economic analysts, is dubious that anything Trump does can meaningfully unwind the consolidation of economic opportunity into the largest metropolitan areas. If anything, Muro says, the tilt toward the big blue metros has intensified in recent years. "We think this is a fundamental sea change," he says.

This pattern creates what could be called the prosperity paradox. Even as economic growth is concentrating in Democratic-leaning metropolitan areas thriving in the information economy, Republicans rooted in non-urban communities largely excluded from those opportunities now control all the levers of power in Washington and in most states. That disjuncture raises a pointed long-term question: How long can the places that are mostly lagging in the economy dictate the terms of politics and policy to the places that are mostly succeeding?

Generally through American history, political power has followed economic power. From the Civil War through the Great Depression, Republicans controlled the White House for 56 of 72 years as the party of the rapidly industrializing and urbanizing Northeast and Midwest. During that era, Democrats were marginalized politically as the champions of the agricultural and resource-producing South and West that felt sublimated by the Northern-based industrial and financial economic order.

In the decades just before and after World War II, Franklin Roosevelt built an impregnable New Deal Democratic coalition that married support from traditionally internationalist Eastern business and finance interests with new efforts to integrate the South and West into the national economy (through mechanisms ranging from the Tennessee Valley Authority to the World War II defense buildup). Similarly, the shift of economic clout to the Sun Belt after World War II prefigured the conservative movement's resurgence from the 1960s through the 1990s around Republicans Barry Goldwater of Arizona and Ronald Reagan of California.

Today the nation's core economic divide is less between regions than within them. After mostly declining through the late 20th century, the large metropolitan areas have restored their position as the locus of growth across the country by emerging as the epicenter of the information economy.

That advantage has allowed many metropolitan areas to achieve booming levels of growth and investment unmatched for decades: Tim Burgess, who served as acting Seattle mayor last fall, for instance, recently told me that the city is now enjoying its best economy since the Klondike gold rush in the 1890s. The intense nationwide competition for the second Amazon headquarters-- which produced finalists located solely in large metropolitan areas-- underscores how digital technologies are concentrating economic opportunity into the nation's biggest places.

...The tilt away from Trump is even more pronounced at the very top of the economic pyramid. Of the 30 counties that generated the largest share of new jobs from 2014 through 2016, Trump carried only two: Collin County (north of Dallas) and Maricopa (Arizona), where Republican-leaning suburbs slightly outvoted a strongly Democratic metro core in Phoenix.

Clinton carried all the other places leading the employment growth list. That included not only such blue state behemoths as Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Seattle, but also the economic hubs in purple and even Republican-leaning states, from Miami, Oakland County (outside Detroit), to Mecklenburg (Charlotte) and Wake (Raleigh) counties in North Carolina, and Dallas, Bexar (San Antonio) and Travis counties (Austin) in Texas.

In all, Brookings calculated, Clinton won 79 of the 100 counties that contributed the most to economic growth from 2014 to 2016, and 76 of the 100 that generated the most job growth.

Trump's struggles even in the metro areas of red states underscore how virtually every region of the country is experiencing the same consolidation of economic opportunity into Democratic-leaning urban areas also typically marked by increasing racial diversity.

Clinton won a majority of the counties in only four states. Yet from 2014 through 2016, the counties she carried accounted for a majority of the job growth in 29 states, Brookings found. Her counties accounted for a majority of the growth in economic output in 30 states.

...[E]even across that ruby red terrain, there are striking exceptions: Clinton counties generated most of the output growth in Kansas and Utah, and most of the job growth in Montana.

In the near term, experts agree, this economic realignment has fueled the GOP's political resurgence. Observers in both parties agree that the sense of economic displacement in recent years has intensified the long-standing movement toward the GOP among small-town and rural communities initially rooted in unease over cultural and demographic change.

"Unhappy people vote," says Mitchell Moss, a professor of urban policy at New York University. "The great irony is that as the economy has had growth in industries that are driven by technology or information, that's led to vast declines in traditional manufacturing and even traditional agriculture. Those areas declining economically have not been depopulated yet, and the economy has devastated them, so their only recourse is to vote for somebody who was different [Trump]."

Yet with economic success, the blue-leaning metro areas are also inexorably gaining population, in particular among the younger, diverse and college-educated voters increasingly central to the Democratic electoral coalition. Many public and private sector leaders in the big blue metros believe their economic success is threatened by the Trump agenda of hostility to immigration and free trade, the prioritization of tax cuts over investments in education and scientific research, the stoking of racial tensions, resistance to cultural change on issues such as gay and transgender rights, and the GOP move to limit the federal deductibility of state and local taxes.

..."It looks to me that there are more technologies out there that will augment ... the blue county economy," Muro says. "This is not a temporary thing. This is more akin to the industrial revolution: The information technology, innovation, artificial intelligence economy is going to be a 100-year cycle. We are now getting deeper into that period and we are seeing greater regional variations... and greater blue metro centrality to the economy."

And that means the nation is poised for even greater tension between an economic order that increasingly favors the largest places-- and a political dynamic that, for now, sublimates them to the smaller places that are economically falling behind.



At 5:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

With Trump in Davos showing off what he doesn't know, who cares about the growth of cities and Hillary votes. Trump will wreck the global economic balance and crash everything no matter how wealthy.

At 7:45 PM, Blogger Procopius said...

"In the decades just before and after World War II, Franklin Roosevelt built an impregnable New Deal Democratic coalition..." OK, I pretty much stopped paying attention at this point, because obviously the coalition wasn't impregnable. The stated purpose of the Democratic Leadership Council (well, not clearly stated to Democratic voters) was to dismantle the old, outmoded, old-fashioned New Deal. I urge you to read Al From's book, "The NEW Democrats and the Return to Power." We're talking about people like Dick Gephardt, Joe Biden, Gary Hart, Bill Clinton. They all colluded in the program, Third Way, New Democrats, Blue Dogs. I suppose many of them were sincere in hoping to find a better way, but their end product has been misery and the consciousness that the Democratic Party stopped caring about the Middle and Lower Classes a long time ago. Being the lesser evil isn't going to work any more.

At 10:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 'average joe don't care about a 'bubble chart' only what the manchild twits, twats, or tweets after watching fuch neews.These are low paying part time jobs, to avoid paying health bennies. Stay on track with policy.. Single payer..Medicare/Dental care for all. Then,only then will you get the voting (if not purged) audience.Hello to the 10 people reading this comment.

At 5:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello yourself 10:40
Procopious, perhaps you meant UNimpregnable?

Otherwise, a good response. The DLC's overt purpose, which was and still is hidden from the idiots who vote D, was to sell the party to the big money. The goal was to remain relevant in the age of Reagan where extra trillions were left dormant in the accounts of the uber-rich and corporations and they wanted their share.

Though they have never admitted it either publicly nor even to each other, it is clearly apparent by their donor lists and legislative actions and INactions over the past 36 years. Their clarion call was the willful inaction on all of the 2009 mandate when they had Unassailable numbers in both chambers plus a seat-warmer in the white house.

Perhaps the 10 people that read this already know this and have been voting Green... perhaps 10 more will experience the epiphany after reading yours and mine. Perhaps not. Americans are the dumbest people on the planet.

At 4:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It occurred to me after I'd read this post the first time that no one mentioned how the STEM opportunities tend to be in urban areas. While urban dwellers need food, they are perfectly willing to let rural people do that work. The urbanites know what fields pay best, and they get themselves into them. The fields in the Dustbowl don't pay enough to attract their attention.

This may well be a bit of a cliche, but the rural types don't seem to want to deal with the complexities which involve science. I don't know that farm subsidies are still paid to NOT grow crops, but if they are, why farm when you can live off the government's largesse?

Rural farmers also get the benefit of Federal disaster aid when crops fail over a widespread area. Floods, droughts, freezes, heat waves - doesn't matter. Uncle Sugar is there to pass out a few cubes to the rubes whether even we city dwellers know they are in need or not. But don't be a city dweller whose job got sent to China so that the owner can "earn" a few more million at your expense. To a Red Stater, you are a slacker and a lazy moocher who should be out doing honest work.

I'll close with the fact that the Blue states end up subsidizing the Red states with their taxes. The needs are just as great in a Blue state, but we can afford to be generous to the lesser of our bretheren. We're better at making money.

At 10:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trump voters are like Christians. It doesn't matter how often their faith is factually debunked nor how horribly they are oppressed and beaten down by it. They only believe harder.

And the few million who aren't devout Nazis who voted trump because $hillbillary was just too awful to abide... they're so stupid that they probably don't know they are alive, so they won't notice how badly trump's and Rs' policies are stomping on them either.

WRT STEM. Where schools are funded and ed is considered important, STEM opportunities will exist, even in rural areas. My granddaughter is in one in a rural community. But R states (whether red or blue... you know what I mean if you live in Michigan), ed is not valued either because it's too 'spensive to edumacate them nonwhites or because edumacation just tends to be inconvenient to the clergy preaching ignorance and hate (you know what I mean if you go to UT in Austin... in fucking texas).

The first casualty of low taxes is education (and sustenance programs for the poor, sick and elderly). We know this because we've been low-tax since Reagan, and because we've been cranking out the dumbest wackadoddles in the world since Reagan... but Christian churches are doing quite well.

Where churches are doing well, there is no stomach for thinking about stuff. The clergy says that the bible has answers to every problem. Why think about it if the word of gawd already has it covered?


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