Liberals in America have a density problem. Across the country, Democrats dominate in cities, racking up excessive margins in urban cores while narrowly losing in suburban districts and sparser states. Because of their uneven distribution of votes, the party consistently loses federal elections despite winning the popular vote.
The most famous case was in 2016, when Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election despite her 2.4-million-vote margin. Clinton carried Manhattan and Brooklyn by approximately 1 million ballots—more than Donald Trump’s margins of victory in the states of Florida, Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania combined.
But 2016 wasn’t a fluke. Neither was 2000, when Al Gore lost the election despite winning 500,000 more votes than George W. Bush. A recent paper from researchers at the University of Texas at Austin concluded that Republicans are expected to win 65 percent of presidential contests in which they narrowly lose the popular vote.
Democrats can blame the Electoral College for these losses—as they should. But according to the Stanford political scientist Jonathan Rodden’s new book, Why Cities Lose, the problem isn’t just the districting. It’s the density. All over the world, liberal, college-educated voters pack into cities, where they dilute their own voting power through excessive concentration. “Underrepresentation of the urban left in national legislatures and governments has been a basic feature of all industrialized countries that use winner-take-all elections,” he writes.
So just imagine what would happen to the American political picture if more Democrats moved out of their excessively liberal enclaves to redistribute themselves more evenly across the vast expanse of Red America?
Or don’t imagine. Just … wait.