In thinking over the (dwindling) 2020 Democratic field for president, I wondered whether national politicians on the whole come from big cities and metropolitan regions. Some (somewhat incoherent) thoughts on the possible connection:
1. The United States is an urbanized country with a little over 80% of residents living in metropolitan areas. Most people live in these places, more politicians come from these places.
2. Politicians need to connect to large pools of voters before they hit the national stage. They can do that in sizable regions/cities and build a base before seeking a larger presence.
3. If national politicians do not necessarily connect with cities, it still seems to help to come from a more populous state where they have appealed to more voters and can make a stronger case about facing complexity before addressing a national stage. I’m thinking of George W. Bush who had numerous connections to Dallas, came from Texas, yet seemed to prefer more rural life in Crawford. He may not have been an urbanite but he had enough connections and experience in one of the most populous cities and states. In contrast, politicians like Bill Clinton or Nikki Haley might have to work harder to reach the national scene coming from less populous states or communities or those operating in second tier cities or regions like Jay Inslee in Washington state or Amy Klobuchar in Minnesota.
4. Does social media help candidates breakthrough an urban/rural divide? If the ultimate outcomes still come to votes, probably not.
5. Is there a major candidate or figure in any party who truly exemplifies a suburban lifestyle? I can think off the top of my head of numerous figures from big cities and others from more rural areas but who is a suburbanite in an era when political elections are decided by suburban voters?