Friday, November 18, 2016

Segregation by Political Class

Clinton's America, NYT 11/16 
It's pretty easy to tell when you look at NYS that people settle where they are comfortable with the values of the people around them. Ithaca is an enclave of liberalism. The big cities. Most of NYC with the exception of Staten Island. When I consider moving to Madison County to be closer to Paul's job, I think Cazenovia and Hamilton, not Oneida and Chittenango. I even fudge the reasoning for that—Cazenovia is charming, Hamilton is a college town—when what I mean is "My kind of people."

Liberals are beating themselves up over the results of this election and blaming themselves for neglecting the working class that got them Democratic majorities in earlier decades. There's a lot of thoughtful contemplation of what a non-elitist left might look like, as in this piece by failed state senate candidate Sara Niccoli. Sara is an island unto herself in the Town of Palatine, population 3,240, halfway between the seen-better-days cities of Utica and Schenectady. She got 24% of the vote in her own county, despite being a known town supervisor. Against Trump, Clinton got 34%.

Sara ran on issues that one would think everyone in her county could get behind—better funding for schools, fighting the effects of globalization on farmers. But in addition to being a farmer, she runs a nonprofit and has a Master's from NYU. She isn't just a churchgoer, she's on the executive committee of the NYS Council of Churches. Neither fish nor fowl, she managed to be both homegrown and elitist—in lifestyle if not in her heart—and it did not help her cause.

I had a productive talk with our Chair yesterday about the flaws in our committee and how we might address them, and I was happy to find that we were on the same page. More about that as we move forward. It's easier to do locally, even when you live in a place that's 10 square miles surrounded by reality. But look at that map! Clearly secession isn't an option. We can't all pack up and move to Red States. How do we reintegrate?


  1. First policy step to real reintegration is to have county wide school districts - culturally and fiscally there is no good reason not to do this.

  2. Yes, that would help—or at least legalize regional high schools in NYS. It would help with fiscal equity as well.