Monday, July 18, 2016

How Dayton Explains Today's GOP

This is a very good piece at ProPublica about the Dayton region and the changing GOP.  Here is a sample:
For decades, Dayton had been an exemplar of American capitalism and ingenuity — back when America not only invented things but still made the things it invented, Dayton did a lot of both. In 1890, it generated more patents per capita than any other city — there were the Wright Brothers and their bicycle shop, of course, but also James Ritty, the saloonkeeper who invented the mechanical cash register to keep his employees from pilfering dough, and John Patterson, who transformed Ritty’s invention into the National Cash Register company, and Charles Kettering, the engineer who turned Ritty’s creation electric. The sound of Dayton in these years was, literally, ka-ching. The Third National Bank was finished with imported marble and mahogany woodwork; patrons did their business at bronze check desks. Local hotels included the Biltmore and the Algonquin — the aspirations were transparent, and not unjustified.
Kettering went on to found the auto parts giant Delco, where he developed the electrical starting motor and leaded gasoline, plus side ventures with DuPont and others to invent Freon and colored paint for cars. In the postwar years, Dayton had a higher concentration of auto workers than anywhere outside of Michigan. The city swelled with new arrivals in search of work — not just African-Americans on the Great Migration, but Scots-Irish up from Kentucky and Tennessee. By 1960, Dayton was still one of the 50 largest cities in the country — bigger than Charlotte, Tucson and Austin.
But as Whalen’s tenure carried into the 1970s, changes were underway. As elsewhere, the arrival of Southern blacks had been answered with white flight. In 1930, nearly three-quarters of Montgomery County’s population lived in Dayton, but half a century later, that share had plummeted to less than a third. They had moved to working-class inner suburbs like Miamisburg and Huber Heights, tight-knit communities with modest, well-kept frame houses and bungalows, and more upscale Oakwood or Beavercreek, which was just across the line into Greene County. The city that remained was the second-most racially segregated of Ohio’s eight largest. And the Appalachian migrants had added a more conservative element to the area’s political landscape.
It leans toward the rural versus urban dynamic, with the suburbs being the swing vote.  The prosperous suburbs with high percentages of college graduates tend to lean away from Trump, while the more working class suburbs are Trump country.  It is depressing to me how many people I know who support Trump, but I don't think there is much that's going to change that.  I suggest reading the whole piece,  it is very good.

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