NEW YORK CITY. Trump Victory Underscores the Important Role of Cities (Governing)

By William Fulton

In the middle of the most important urban renaissance in a century, the people of the United States have elected a president who lives in a 58-story mixed-use building in midtown Manhattan. Whatever you think of him, the president-elect is a man who ought to understand cities. He has lived in America’s largest city his entire life. He comes from a family that has developed and managed urban real estate for three generations. The glitziness of major cities -- New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, even Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. -- has always had a magnetic appeal for him.

And yet Donald Trump’s election may be the most anti-urban act on the American political stage since the nomination of William Jennings Bryan 120 years ago, when the populist Nebraskan railed against New York bankers in a fiery speech at the Democratic convention. Trump’s political base is anything but urban. It is white, older, exurban and rural, and angry. His supporters are nothing like the Manhattan social elite he has always aspired to be part of. (He lost his home county 82 percent to 9 percent) They are more like the Archie Bunkers he lived among -- admittedly, as a rich kid -- growing up in Queens.

 

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