Liberal cities are largely black and conservative towns are mostly white.
Forget blue vs. red as the trait that determines liberal versus conservative cities. It's all about race. At least one group--the Bay Area Center for Voting Research--says so. Their proof: Liberal cities are largely black and conservative towns are mostly white, according to a new survey from the nonpartisan think tank.
"The great political divide in America today is not red versus blue," says Phil Reiff of the Center. "It's now clearly black versus white." His top examples: The most liberal city is Detroit, where blacks in the 2000 census made up about 80 percent of the population. The most conservative city is Provo, Utah, where blacks made up less than 1 percent of the population. "Detroit and Provo epitomize America's political, economic, and racial polarization," said Center researcher Janet Kim. "As the most conservative city in America, Provo is overwhelmingly solidly middle class. This is in stark contrast to Detroit, which is impoverished, black, and the most liberal."
Of course there are exceptions, though mostly on the liberal side. The No. three city on the liberal list, Berkeley, Calif., and No. eight, Cambridge, Mass., are very white. But the center has an excuse: Liberals need each other. "These liberal white communities," says Reiff, "are more reminiscent of penguins clustering together around a shrinking iceberg than of a vibrant, growing political movement."