Even if Democrats Killed Detroit, Sprawl STILL Killed Detroit

MLewyn's picture

One result of Detroit's recent bankruptcy has been the usual finger-pointing about the cause of that city's probems. Commonly mentioned culprits include deindustrialization, absence of federal support, and the sprawl-induced decline of urban tax bases.  Another common argument (especially among conservatives) is that if only Detroit wasn't governed by liberals, Democrats, etc. it wouldn't have become so overextended.

I am perfectly willing to assume for the sake of argument that Detroit was more poorly governed than other cities*, and that it would have been less poorly governed with a few more Republicans.

Why aren't there Republicans in Detroit?  In a word, sprawl.  Before the "white flight" of the 1960s there were still Republicans in Detroit.  In fact, the city had a Republican mayor as late as 1961.   But as white peopleleft for the suburbs, the city's Republican base disintegrated, causing the city's current one-party system. 


*Though this claim seems to be a faith-based claim in that "bad government" is impossible to measure.  


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