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  • Print publication year: 2018
  • Online publication date: March 2018

1 - Introduction


People in Cobb County don't object to upper-middle-class neighbors who keep their lawn cut and move to the area to avoid crime … What people worry about is the bus line gradually destroying one apartment complex after another, bringing people out for public housing who have no middleclass values and whose kids as they become teenagers often are centers of robbery and where the schools collapse because the parents who live in the apartment complexes don't care that the kids don't do well in school and the whole school collapses.

—U.S. Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-Georgia), 1994, quoted in Merle and Earl Black, The Rise of Southern Republicans

To progressives, the best thing about railroads is that people riding them are not in automobiles, which are subversive of the deference on which progressivism depends. Automobiles go hither and yon, wherever and whenever the driver desires, without timetables. Automobiles encourage people to think they – unsupervised, untutored, and unscripted – are masters of their fates. The automobile encourages people in delusions of adequacy, which make them resistant to government by experts who know what choices people should make.

—George Will, “High Speed to Insolvency: Why Liberals Love Trains,” Newsweek, February 27, 2011

In recent decades, Democrats and Republicans have become increasingly geographically polarized along urban and suburban lines and increasingly polarized around the policies that define and create metropolitan America. The ideal community of an average conservative is located in a rural or suburban area, a safe distance from what he or she perceives as urban disorder. On the other hand, an average liberal is more likely to value racial and ethnic diversity, a walkable environment, and the density of urban life (Pew Research Center, 2014). Democrats have been increasingly more likely than Republicans to live in central cities (Rodden, 2014; Nall, 2015), and Democrats and Republicans have adopted increasingly different positions on spatial policy issues such as transit and highways. The geographic bases of the two parties have changed accordingly.