David A. Hopkins Profile picture
Aug 26, 2019 8 tweets 3 min read Read on X
My new #APSA2019 #apsa19 paper, "The Suburbanization of the Democratic Party, 1992–2018," touches on political geography, ideology, race, Congress, and the college-educated white vote, among other topics. A few main findings follow in the thread below:
1. The Democrats have become a more suburban party since the 1980s because they have become less rural, not because they've become less urban (figure below shows House elections, but pattern holds for presidency & Senate too):
2. Suburban politics is changing due to growth of racial minority populations, especially in large metro areas. There are now almost as many suburban as urban majority-minority House districts, and there are *more* non-white House Dems from suburban seats than from urban seats.
3. House Dems elected from majority-minority suburban seats have liberal voting records similar to urban Dems. But Dems from majority-white suburban seats remain more moderate: likely to join New Democrats instead of Progressive Caucus, wary of Green New Deal/single-payer/AOC.
4. People like to talk these days about Trump driving suburbanites to the Dems. But pro-Dem suburban lean is concentrated in big metro areas. Outside Top 20 metros, Trump got 58 percent of the suburban 2-party vote in 2016—best performance by a Republican since Reagan in 1984!
5. The 2018 "blue wave" delivered 76 percent of Top 20 metro suburban House seats to the Democrats—but 71 percent of suburban seats in the rest of the nation stayed in Republican hands. Growing divergence & polarization, but not a national suburban Dem surge or GOP collapse.
6. What makes large metro suburbs so different from other suburbs? (1) They are more racially diverse; (2) white voters (both college-educated & non-college) are more likely to vote Democratic in Top 20 metro areas than outside of them. So it's part composition, part culture.
That's enough for now, but there's more in the paper. I'll be presenting at a great parties/history/APD panel on Thursday at 12; looking forward to the trip to DC this week!

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More from @DaveAHopkins

Aug 17, 2021
I'd beware of analyses of the rural->metro population shift that are primarily framed as "Blue America growing and Red America shrinking." That's an oversimplification that can be pretty misleading about the political consequences of the changes that are underway. (1/5)
Rural areas are shrinking, but at a slower pace than the rate at which they've become more Republican. Biden got >2,000,000 fewer rural votes than Obama did in '08; Trump '20 got >2,000,000 more votes than McCain. Rural Republicans aren't declining in number; rural Democrats are. Image
It's very possible that rural economic stagnation is actually fueling this pro-GOP trend by making rural whites open to nostalgic nationalist populism and resentful of "snobby" metro elites. A countervailing shift among metro voters has helped Dems, but is also smaller (so far).
Read 5 tweets
May 15, 2021
One thing that's starting to bother me about the debate over the CDC's revised mask guidance this week is that a lot of people are holding the CDC responsible for policy changes that are actually the responsibility of elected political leaders, not government scientists. (1/5)
All the CDC actually did this week was announce that based on its interpretation of scientific evidence, fully vaccinated people are not in serious danger of either contracting or transmitting COVID in large numbers—so mask use for them is not necessary for disease mitigation.
Are elected leaders using this guidance as a justification for more aggressive reopening? Of course. Too aggressive? Maybe so, though I'm less sure about that than many critics seem to be. But even if true, placing all the blame on the CDC lets the politicians off the hook.
Read 5 tweets

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