Conservatives do not do well in the cities. We assume, strangely, that this indicates a problem with the cities rather than a problem with . . . us. We may as well be trying to sell New York City and Los Angeles Edsels full of New Coke — and cursing the consumers for being too thick to appreciate what we are offering.
New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia — as far as conservatives are concerned, these may as well be so many Sodoms upon which we are all too happy to call down fire and judgment. But it’s not only the coastal dens of sin that we have written off: In Texas — Texas! — Republican office-seekers (a reasonable if imperfect proxy for conservative political tendencies) are largely shut out of the cities: Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, El Paso — all are reliably Democratic. There is no Texas city larger than Fort Worth that routinely elects Republican mayors or that can be relied upon to support Republican candidates in state and national elections.
And if any American city should have a prestigious institution of higher education in it, it may as well be Pyongyang... Which is a real missed opportunity: If you live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and work in Manhattan, then you get an object lesson in the failures of statism and centralization every damned work day — twice. If you live in Philadelphia and have school-age children, you don’t need to read Milton Friedman: You know from bitter experience what a blessing it is to be free to choose — and what a curse it is to have choices taken away.