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Why Can’t Democrats Run a City?

Why Can’t Democrats Run a City?

The headline question could have been: Can Democrats run cities? But we have more than enough evidence that they cannot.
We know that from the statistics – crime, segregation, race riots, education, political graft, homelessness, drug deaths, public financing, taxation, etc. etc. etc. Upbeat songs such as “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” “My Kind of Town, Chicago” and “New York, New York.” Have been replaced at the top of the music charts with “Rich Men North of Richmond” and with “Try That in a Small Town.”

To be fair, cities have always had a grittier and more hostile reputation than the more gentile and neighborly qualities of small-town country life. In the past, cities compensated with an aura of glamour, sophistication and opportunity. Unfortunately, many of today’s cities are devolving into a real-life American version of a Mad Max movie. (Perhaps a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the point.)

Many American cities have declined into such inhospitable environments that people are leaving and businesses closing. Migration out of cities has become so dramatic that new sociological terms have been coined – “exodus cities” and “exodus states.” It is largely the departure from the cities that creates the exodus states.

The decline of urban America has been a long process. Arguably the canary in the coal mine was Detroit. The once vibrant “Motor City” of the 1940s and 1950s. It had become a bankrupt, crime-ridden decaying shell of itself by the 1990s. The Hollywood glamour of Los Angeles is now compromised by a slovenly encampment for homeless individuals with serious drug and mental issues.

San Francisco has become an open toilet that actually produces a “poop map” to warn against human waste. Chicago once dubbed itself as “The City That Works.” Today the workers are abandoning the Windy City along with the businesses that employed them. New York is reeling under the flow of aliens who have crossed the southern border illegally to take advantage of the Big Apple’s sanctuary policy. Cities like Portland and Seattle are floundering under a version of urban anarchy.

Across the broader spectrum, American cities are being undermined by several overarching major social phenomena. Among the common threads are unprecedented crime, unprecedent numbers of illegal immigrants, unprecedent taxation, unprecedented public finance crises, unprecedented poverty, unprecedent numbers of racially segregated blacks. Oh yeah! There is another common thread. Virtually all the cities in decline are governed over by the officials and policies of the Democratic Party – and have been for generations.

To get a sense of how long Democrats have been running these failing cities, here is a list of a few. The year represents that last year of a Republican mayor.

Atlanta (1879), Baltimore (1967), Boston, (1930), Chicago (1931), Detroit (1962), Houston (1939), Los Angeles (2001), Newark (1953), New York (2011), * Philadelphia (1952), Pittsburgh (1934), Portland (1956),** San Francisco (1964), Seattle (1969), St. Louis (1953) and the list goes on.

New York and Portland have asterisks. New York had two mayors (John Lindsay and Michael Bloomberg) who were elected as Republicans but later switched to the Democratic Party. Portland had a one-year interim Republican mayor from 1979 to 1980.
Even when Republicans won mayor’s offices in the major cities, it was usually short lived, and the other officials and the city councils remained overwhelmingly Democrat.

There can be no dispute that the Democratic Party has essentially had one-party rule over America’s cities – and has for generations. The decline of the cities happened on their watch … period. More importantly, the decline of the cities is due to their governance – their policies. The notable deterioration of urban life was not a “force majeure” or “act of God” as some like to claim.

The decline of the cities was not something that happened despite the best efforts of those in charge. No. No. No. It was the effort to consolidate and maintain power and control that produced destructive policies – including reckless spending, exorbitant taxes, institutional racial segregation and oppression, sanctuary for illegal aliens, unfair and ineffective law enforcement, excessive regulation, political corruption and an array of left-wing policies based on political correctness, identity politics and woke issues.

Ironically, it does not make a difference whether the Democrats in charge are white or black. If the political machine system benefits those running it, the same policies will continue because it provides power and prestige to those in charge regardless of skin color. If you doubt that, just try to find specific improvements in black ghetto life under a black mayor – educational quality, crime, unemployment, inferior housing. I will save you the research. Nothing changes.

I understand that a lot of folks love their city despite the problems. Usually, they come from the upper income groups that can use money to insulate them from the growing hardships that afflict the average joe. We tend to be fans of our hometowns like we are fans of sports teams – even when they are losing. I was born and raised in Chicago. There is a lot that I love about the Windy City. But that is why it pains me to see it become a city I no longer recognize.

Where my youngest son safely walked to school was the recent scene of a drug-related mass shooting. The park where he played was ravaged by a flash gang of vandals. Michigan Avenue, where we shopped, has been hit by gang looting.

If we want to make America’s cities great again, we must ask ourselves three simple questions. Is there a problem in our cities? Who is in charge? Are they responsible for the problems? The answer to the first question is as obvious as the evening news. Who is in charge is a matter of hard fact – not opinion or speculation. It is the urban branch of the Democratic Party. And I give the third question a strong “yes” based on compelling logic.

It will not change unless the Democrats leading the cities change their policies (fat chance) or the voters change the Democrat leaders.
So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. Dan tyree

    Too damned stupid

  2. frank stetson

    Makes you wonder:
    – why can’t conservatives get elected in American cities?
    – why don’t conservatives teach?
    – why don’t conservatives have mainstream media?
    – why do conservatives, and criminals, have all the guns?

    If you look at the top 100 American cities, over 25% are Republican. Horist knows this. I would wager if you parsed them on any given statistic, you would find more similarity than difference between party control. It’s an election year issue that Democrats are ruining the cities, Larry runs the stats. If I run the stats on Red versus Blue states, you would see the opposite picture. Poverty — Red States, Violent Crime — Red States, and so on.

    Our problems are American. Each party has different set of solutions, neither is abject failure or certain success. Horist blames every urban ill of Democrats when 25% of the cities are Republican with the similar problems and no holy grail except this rhetoric that it’s all the Democrat’s fault.

    Fact is that covid wreaked havoc on cities. When you run a business, like a city, you have fixed and variable costs. Fixed costs are like union workers, you can’t just cut them loose. Variable costs are like non-union outsourced workers —- you can cut them anytime you want. Buildings — fixed. Firetrucks, not so fixed. You get the drift. In business, and cities are the same, when you have enough revenue to cover fixed costs, you can add variable cost easily. As revenues increase, the availability for expanding variable cost is almost geometric. It’s a beautiful thing. With revenues at fixed cost, you must get rid off as much variable as possible. Cities have a much higher percentage of fixed versus variable costs.

    When covid takes out 5% of your population in 12-24 months, you got financial problems. Worst yet was the eradication of commuter workers bring all sorts of NEW revenue into the city each day. Not to mention all the folks who survive on that 5%, selling em everything from coffee and bagels to apartments. Covid was not partisan.

    Between 2020 and 2022, NYC lost half a million people mostly due to covid, mostly on Trump’s covid watch in 2020. That’s over 5% meaning probably greater than 5% drop in consumer spending, city taxes, etc. I am sure Republicans could fix that overnight. Much of everything else flows downhill from there.

    Fort Worth is the 17th largest city in America, is currently run by a Republican, has been Republican led for the past dozen years and around 60% of the last 40 years. And it’s number 60 out of the top one hundred for violent crime. It’s number 34 for rape and, of course, number 57 for murder.

    Tulsa is the 54th largest city in America, is currently run by a Republican, has been Republican led for the past 7 years but about 50/50 party-wise over the last few decades. And it’s number 19 in violent crime, number 7 for rape, and number 18 for murder.
    Fresno is the 35th largest city in American and is currently run by a Republican, has been Republican led for at least 20 years, And it’s number 56 in violent crime. It’s 77 for rape, yeah, and, of course, 14 for murder, almost the top ten.

    And for Horist, who regales us with the evil Democrat rule for all American cities, in his own backyard, Miami is 42nd largest US city, Republican led, has been so for the past 14 years and about a 50/50 spit for the past three decades. And it’s number 36 for violent crime, 89th for rape, and number 39 for murder.

    Number 1’s: St. Louis for violent crime, New Orleans for rape, and St. Louis again for murder.

    Number 100 — as in best would be Irvine CA for violent crime, Hialeah for rape, and Irvine for murder. Hialeah is Republican, Irvine is Democrat. Irvine, in Orange County CA has been America’s safest city, of it’s size, for over 17 years. Democrat.

    Point is for the cities, Democrats may rule the largest ones, but the problems are felt in all top 100 American cities, independent of party. Wanna bet Larry’s other laments rate the same?

    • Dan tyree

      Hey Frank. Listen up. The liberal cities have much more gun violence. The poor little street punks have nothing better to do than go around shooting people. But like the country music singer said. “ don’t try it in a small town

    • larry Horist

      Frank Stetson … More BS . Here is the list of mayors of America’s 50 largest cities.
      There are two Republicans in the top 25. That is 8 percent, not 25 percent. There are only 8 in the top 50 cities, and that is only 16 percent — 6 of the 8 are in the bottom15 cities.. And most of the bottom 6 govern cities in the 500,000 or less population range — hardly what is considered America’s major cities. And they are cities not characterized by racial segregation, oppression, institutional racism and … frustration borne riots. It is the Democrats political machines that segregate and oppress millions of black Americans BY FAR, The vast majority of black Americans (64%) live in cities run by Democrats with the majority of those in the largest and most segregated (and most racist) cities. So, who is responsible for the racism and prejudice? Democrat leaders own institutional racism in America. And I don’t hate Democrat Americans as you claim, but will call out the elected Dems who run the racist administrations — and the hypocrites office holders and leaders who will not call them out. I do chide my Dem friends — black and white — for turning a blind eye to the Party’s racism when they vote. Again you pick and choose your information to promote disinformation. You conclusions are wrong because your supporting points are a configuration tantamount to a lie.

      • larry Horist

        Correction. I misstated you point about 100 cities as opposed to the 50 top cities. Of the 100 top cities, there are 25 with GOP mayors. BUT, they are mostly clustered in the lower ranks — %00,000 or less. And they are not associated with racial unrest. The point is majority of urban segregated blacks live in the cities with populations of 1 million or more. That is where most of the institutional racism occurs against the most black citizens. That is were the racism is horrific and deadly. And those cities have Democrat governments — mostly one-party rule. And have been that way for years. You should also note that all the Republican mayors in the top 100 are from southern and southwestern cities. None from the giant northern cities with longtime reparations for racism. . As Republicans took over the southern states and cities,, the severe racism of Democrats Jim Crow governance subsided. The standard pervasive practice of state-sponsored racial terrorism ended. The number and power of such groups as the KKK, the Knights of the White Camelia, the Red Shirts and the White Citizens Councils were reduced to a few rag-tag white supremacy groups with little sway over southern society. the occasional example of racial violence is miniscule compared to the days of Democrat Rule. The venues in which racial oppression and institutional racism have maintained a footing is in the large segregated cities ,,,run by powerful Democrat political machines. That is a FACT.

        • Frank stetson

          Thanks. I’m glad my pc dropped my response. And yes, I counted 26, probably my bad

          One, Fort Worth, was huge. Others, like Miami, are smaller but sure seem like cities in the common parlance. Don’t matter; I was focused on violent crime. I may review racism later, but think I have done it with you before but can’t get below State. There’s more on red and blue control and violent crime below v

          • frank stetson

            Straight from the Horist’s mouth: “The point is majority of urban segregated blacks live in the cities with populations of 1 million or more.” Isn’t that the same for whites, Asians, and the coffee-colored. Aren’t you saying most people live in cities…

            “That is where most of the institutional racism occurs against the most black citizens. That is were the racism is horrific and deadly.” I don’t agree. IMO, most institutional racism in America occurs across all America.

            “And those cities have Democrat governments — mostly one-party rule.” For larger cities, yes, except Fort Worth where I doubt institutional racism has been eradicated. About 20% of FW is black 35% Hispanics, and 37% white. “Many Fort Worth houses are crumbling. Racial inequity, lack of money play a part” “According to the National Center for Healthy Housing’s survey of the largest 51 American cities, the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex ranks 33rd in an analysis of the amount of substandard homes. Austin ranked 19 and San Antonio was ranked the worst at 51.” **

            Of course, the report notes that blacks and Hispanics are disproportionally affected by this institutional racism. I can go on and on from city to city from housing to schools but the result is the same: institutional racism is across America, is not bounded by political affiliation, or as Larry notes, even the race of the government. There’s more going on here than Horist’s blame it on the Democrats, vote Republican.

            “None from the giant northern cities with longtime reparations for racism. . As Republicans took over the southern states and cities” which IMO, is true that the worse offenders are in the North, and Northeast to be exact.

            “The number and power of such groups as the KKK, the Knights of the White Camelia, the Red Shirts and the White Citizens Councils were reduced to a few rag-tag white supremacy groups with little sway over southern society. the occasional example of racial violence is miniscule compared to the days of Democrat Rule.” Why does Horist drag out the KKK? And then for you to say: happy days are here, racial violence occasional compared to the days of Democratic rule. (I thought he was telling us it’s all due to Democratic rule and Democrats rule it all?)

            No matter: “U.S. Hate Crimes At New Decade High.” “Among hate crimes motivated by race, ethnicity and ancestry, Anti-Black hate crime was the most common at 2,755 out of 4,939 incidents.” **

            No, Larry, I might not rush to print that book yet. I am not sure that this dog does hunt. IMO the answer is not as simple as it’s the Democrats fault. I do agree systemic racism is in America, that it hits poor the worse, and the poor are disproportionally black and Hispanics. IMO, economics plays a significant role in keeping people in place (segregated), creating poor schools (majority of local funding), etc. It’s the cycle of poverty that needs to be broken to make headway here.

            “That is a FACT.” It is true that’s where it is, it is not true IMO that it’s the sole reason, especially considering the same problems can be found outside of Horist’s Democratic large-city Venn diagram. As proven here, as proven previously in violent crime. Granted, these are snapshots, but I am pretty certain that any drill-down will just add more fodder to those results.

            I am sorry but I don’t see Republicans coming up with better solutions at this point. And some places, like DeSantistan seem to be going in the wrong direction banning black studies, teaching the benefits of slavery, and banning many books with historical views on blacks.

            I am not saying you are wrong, but I have yet to hear you expound the benefits of Republican rule, even in Republican cities where we all admit you have an edge, due to size. As if size matters.

            And again, you label me a liar without proving a lie, but relying on the fact that I have produced evidence you don’t like, does not fit your paradigm, and therefore I am a liar. It does not work that way, Mr. Horist, and you once again show your true self.


    Hey Dan, do you mean cities have more violence because they have more people? I do like Small Town and Richmond. I find it funny that now you are the hippies with your folks songs. Pete, Arlo, and The Weavers are proud.

    But on this one, nope, you are wrong. Let’s go to Forbes, right wing Forbes, for the news:

    “A new study published in Journal of the American Medical Association’s Surgery found that firearm deaths are more likely in small rural towns than in major urban cities, adding to research that contradicts common belief that Democratic blue areas have higher incidences of gun-related deaths than do Republican red districts.” sonna of butch….

    but wait, there’s more:

    “A Third Way report found that between 2000 and 2020, Trump-voting states had 12% higher murder rates than did Biden-voting cities.”

    “Data shows that in 2020, eight of the ten states with the highest murder rates voted for the Republican presidential nominee in every election in this century.”

    And to answer Horist’s next line of factless defense: “Data suggests New York saw significant drops in homicides between 2021 and 2022, while Florida saw significant increases. According to Third Way, some Republicans argue crime rates in their states are only high because of the blue cities within them. But murder rates have increased in rural, urban and suburban locales.” Ouch, the burn….

    I will let you look at the top 15 States but for murder, Blue included are NM, GA, and NV. And for less murder, Red included are NB, IO. So not a complete run either way, but more gun death in red, more gun death in rural, and less gun death in urban and blue.

    This has been true for some time and it is as I have noted: where there are more guns, there is more gun death. IMO, and it’s a guess, if you pulled this apart, you will find more guns in Red than in Blue. Part of that is your urban “poor little street punks” all are packing, but those Po Boys South of Richmond have closet’s full. Just my guess.

    But there are the facts.

    And next —- guess what — less gun death where gun control laws make common sense versus more gun death where the guns are easy and the living is not…..

    • Dan tyree

      So what should I do? Give up my rights because the cities won’t control the lawless? Your blue shit holes have plenty of gun owners. The songs are a call to arms when the police are disbanded.

  4. frank stetson

    Are you really asking ME to tell you what to do, where to go?

    I just providing some facts. Frankly, and I am Frank, I was as surprised as you. I mean I knew abut the red state, blue state gun deaths; I knew about the strict/unstrict gun law gun deaths, and I knew that places like Chicago with strict gun laws have issues being surrounded by weak gun law locales that flood guns into Chicago where, and this is a point for you, it does seem that good guys are defenseless against bad guys with guns.

    It was 4/23, perhaps timing too. Plus, while the JAMA stuff is pretty solid, I do not know the other reporting outfits and they may be pro-gun-control. Not sure. No matter what, gun violence is a national problem. Crime in cities is higher than pre-pandemic, most cities are Democratic, but that is really not the problem. Republican cities have the same problems, similar issues and solutions I am guessing.

    I am not sure where they are disbanding police; nowhere I suspect. I do know many a defunding
    effort attempted or underway with many failures where defunding is reversed. A grand idea implemented poorly. The concept is similar to one I had in business: I managed a P&L but only had development for budget control. Therefore, I did not control accounting and when I needed an accountant, and they would not provide ASAP, I hired one. After awhile, management would “defund” me and we sent all those fellows back to accounting or fired them. I was told that work would be done where it was supposed to be done. Defunding the police is similar, it’s re-engineering, not destruction. If police have hired “mental heath” teams for domestic disputes, perhaps it’s more efficient and effective to have Mental Heath Organization manage that.

    Nonetheless, even if a good idea, and I am not sure, it seems to be implemented poorly.

    But it most often does not mean less feet on the street, less cops. It means less of the non-cop things being handled by the police organization.

    But, in your case, do what you want. I still go to the city. No issues yet. Matter of fact, less congestion overall.

    • Dan tyree

      So true that gun violence is fed by guns coming in from other states. Solution? Enforcement of the laws. It’s a huuuuge no no to run guns illegally. Make believers out of the people straw purchasing and lying on gun purchasing forms. And start with Hunter Biden.

  5. mellie

    Foundering, not floundering . A flounder is a fish.

    • larry Horist

      Mellie … sorry, no cigar for you. Look up the meaning of “floundering”. I will save you the trip. It is “struggle mentally; show or feel great confusion” or :be in serious difficulty.” When a person is “floundering” the “experience great difficulties or completely unable to decide what to do or say next.”