Jason Rantz: Don't celebrate Seattle's 'most liberal city' rankingAugust 14, 2014 @ 3:54 pm
The Economist has come out with a chart that ranks the most liberal, big cities in the United States. The way they determine a city's liberalness is by the representation in municipal government, so they're looking at the people who are actually elected.
Seattle is not number one, but we are close. San Francisco is number one, followed by Washington D.C., then Seattle. Now some people appear to be happy about this. The Stranger's Anna Minard writes gleefully in the Slog on the Stranger "We're number three! We're number three!"
She writes: "What does this mean? Do we get to have more than one Socialist on the City Council? Are we finally gonna open up public pot cafes? Do Republicans in Seattle get some sort of consolation coffee mug now? Does the Space Needle have to fly the Pride flag year-round?"
For me, I don't think this should be celebrated. We should all be disappointed with this. All of us already knew Seattle was this big liberal city, but this basically tells us we're not ideologically diverse. And I believe diversity is a great thing.
Ideological diversity has proven to be a huge failure in this city - something the city, the leaders, and the activists don't foster because they don't like being challenged. They want to move forward with a progressive liberal agenda that they think will be best for the community, and when they are challenged, they get really upset and are not open to a debate.
Ideological bigotry is on display in the city of Seattle and folks actively shun people here who aren't liberal like them, regardless of the possibility that conservatives also want what is best for the city. They just have a different idea of how to get there.
It is sad to be around people who don't challenge you, and if you're a liberal in Seattle, you're almost never challenged. You're never actually being told what the other side is thinking and you never have to put up an argument.
Frankly, I'd think it's also bad to live in Mesa, Arizona. According to the list, Mesa, Arizona is considered to be the least liberal city in the country. This is bad for the exact same reason.
Assuming you're a conservative living there, you've got a bunch of other conservatives around and you're never truly being challenged. You're never truly being exposed to different ideas, different policies, and different programs to see if, actually, those things might work.
Now I had a theory that I wanted to look into. My hypothesis would be that you are better off living in one of the cities that is neither too liberal nor too conservative - that if you are in one of those ideologically diverse neighborhoods, you are going to be better off.
What does that actually mean when I say, you are better off? The data points we looked into had to do with whether it is affordable to live in a city and whether it is safe.
We looked at the average one-bedroom rents in these cities and we also looked at the violent crime rates. I took the top five most liberal, the five most conservative, and then I pulled five cities from the middle to compare.
The top five most liberal were: San Francisco, Washington D.C., Seattle, Oakland, and Boston.
The least liberal were: Mesa, Arizona, Oklahoma City, Colorado Springs, Virginia Beach, and Jacksonville, Florida.
The ones taken from the middle (neither too conservative nor too liberal) were: Fresno, Phoenix, Tampa, Dallas, and Las Vegas.
As you can probably guess, when we're talking about the most liberal cities, it is incredibly expensive to live there. San Francisco's average rent is $2,600 for a one-bedroom. Washington D.C. is $2,000, Seattle $1,500, Oakland $1,900, and Boston $1,900. It's really, really expensive to live in these cities that are the most liberal.
It turned out to be incredibly cheap to live in the least liberal cities. The average one-bedroom rent rate in Mesa was $650, Oklahoma City $812, Virginia Beach $850, Colorado springs $867, and Jacksonville $815.
Looking at the cities in the middle, in terms of politics, it's pretty cheap to live there, too. They are just a tad more expensive than the most conservative. You're spending $812 in Fresno, $850 in Phoenix, $895 in Tampa, $1,100 in Dallas, and $710 in Las Vegas.
Now, on the violent crime, we looked at it per 1,000 residents, so we're not having these numbers be misrepresented by populations.
The most conservative cities are actually the least violent, at 5.13 people out of 1,000 being impacted by violent crime. For the middle of the road cities, it's actually almost exactly the same at 6.5, just a tad more than the most conservative. In the most liberal cities, we see a violent crime rate of 10.79, nearly 11 per 1,000 residents is involved in a violent crime.
I know this is not high level data. I know I'm not a political scientist who studies this for a living, but just on the basics, just looking at the data, it seems to go to my point that you're probably better off living in a place where you are not being exposed just to one side, either conservative or liberal. I think you're better off exposing yourself to different opinions.
Taken from Tuesday's edition of The Jason Rantz Show.
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