The Power Imbalance Between Rural and Urban Areas

By | November 15, 2020

It’s becoming a little-talked about fact that even though big cities and blue states are supposedly “socialist,” they actually control the economy: the staggering majority of American GDP comes from blue cities and blue states.

Meanwhile, Republicans that supposedly hate government are in charge of rural areas in red states who’s only real contribution to America is a strangle-hold on the government (the Senate, most state legislatures, most Governors, most state Supreme Courts, and control of the SCOTUS for over 50 years).

“Why is it like this?” For starters, it’s far from an American phenomenon.

Worldwide, most rural areas are more conservative. That’s true in England (many rural Englanders don’t consider London to be “real England” due to high immigration), China (where many people have never seen someone who’s not Chinese and will literally take pictures with black people to prove their existence), and even true in the Middle East where a lot of terrorist groups begin in the rural areas.

The only reason we really notice it in the US is because of the structural advantages rural areas have.

The electoral college heavily favors rural areas, and the Senate is just plain ridiculous at this point. The Dakotas outvote California two-to-1. Less than one percent of the population lives in Alaska, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota combined, but they outvote California, Illinois, New York where 20% of the nation lives.

80% of the US lives in a city or within 10 miles of one. If it weren’t for the huge power imbalance between cities and rural areas politically, we wouldn’t notice such a divide as it would be mostly irrelevant.

But I don’t see it changing anytime soon. It’s nearly impossible to imagine a majority of states agreeing to reapportion the Senate based on population or abolish the electoral college (something that has only ever benefitted Republicans). And I also can’t see Amazon building HQ3 in Wyoming.

So that means we’re stuck with a system where “big government” urban liberals actually control the economy while “free market” rural conservatives only control the government, and people keep pretending that’s not true.

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