Look to America's urban areas to create a permanent GOP majority
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In 2002, liberal academic Ruy Teixeira and writer John Judis authored a book titled “The Emerging Democratic Majority,” which argued that demographic shifts would usher in an era of Democratic dominance. Twelve years later, with hat in hand, Judis wrote a follow-up piece titled “The Emerging Republican Advantage,” and described his earlier hypothesis as a mirage.  

Today, Republicans ponder an advantage that very few anticipated prior to November 8th. Donald Trump remade the electoral map by growing his base in rural America, winning states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that haven’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since the 1980s. 


The President-elect has a tremendous opportunity to create the elusive permanent majority—but only if he builds on his initial overtures in cities and inner suburbs by articulating policy proposals directed at all their residents. 

Once the party of the big city mayor, the Republican Party is now relegated to holding just three mayoral seats in the largest twenty-five cities. In losing office, the GOP also atrophied in most cities, particularly these large cities totaling thirty-five million people or 11% of the population.

Not surprising, in 2012 President Obama defeated Mitt Romney by 31 points in cities and by 16 points in core suburbs, as reported by American Communities Project. 

Dismal as these numbers are, a recent analysis of election data from the Brookings Institution shows that Trump underperformed Romney in both primary cities and high-density suburbs. Trump’s share of the vote was 1.1 percentage points lower in the former, and 3.6 percentage points lower in the latter.   

Of course, Trump still won, offsetting his losses in the cities with unexpectedly large gains elsewhere. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. Republicans can start paying attention to cities and core suburbs, thereby a future Republican candidate’s path to the White House will involve a growing, not a shrinking electorate. 

Or said another way, Trump has an opportunity to build on his initial appeal to city residents which will help make the GOP more competitive in races to come and create more pathways to victory for him in 2020. As an urban dweller and city developer, the President-elect is uniquely positioned to make it happen.

Appealing to urban residents starts by crafting a Republican agenda that addresses the policy challenges facing them, and a good place to start is Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanJeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House Judiciary to vote on impeachment after surprise delay House Ethics Committee informs Duncan Hunter he can no longer vote after guilty plea MORE’s legislative package known as “A Better Way.” Speaker Ryan is exactly right in advocating for school choice and Washington, DC’s Opportunity Scholarship Program. Both programs are designed and proven to give low-income students access to better performing schools. 

But children from middle-class families face the same problem too — poor public schools and few affordable education alternatives. Often, the only option for them is moving out of the city to a performing public school in the suburbs. A GOP Urban Agenda must address education reform in a large way for these middle-income families.

Another plank in the new Republican Urban Agenda must include affordable housing. Speaker Ryan’s plan outlines a number of smart proposals, including ones to synthesize the various federal assistance programs to avoid creating a disincentive to work.

A broader GOP Urban Agenda should include plans to make housing more affordable for a broader array of families — those who may not qualify for federal assistance, but still have trouble affording housing in the city. 

By reforming government policies that increase the cost of housing--such as land use regulations and federal finance programs requiring artificially-inflated construction wages-- the GOP can help millennials and other city residents find a home that they can afford. 

The 2016 presidential election demonstrated that targeting non-urban working class voters is still a successful electoral strategy. But, a President TrumpDonald John TrumpDems want tougher language on election security in defense bill Five aides to Van Drew resign ahead of his formal switch to GOP The myth of the conservative bestseller MORE can remake the electoral map once again by showing that Republicans can broaden their tent to include core suburban and urban residents.

The GOP has the next four years to outline and advocate for a Republican Urban Agenda, to show this diverse and growing electorate how we can make America great — for everyone. 

Jill Homan is the Republican National Committeewoman for DC. She launched www.city.gop to advocate for Republican candidates and the GOP in cities. (Twitter: @cityGOP)

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