The Mayoral Transference Property

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 8 2010 9:13 AM

The Mayoral Transference Property

Ah, one of my favorite politically unrealistic Matthew Yglesias concepts makes a comeback as he discusses who should replace Mayor Richard Daley in Chicago.

My understanding of how they do this in China is that they’d promote the mayor of some other city. Consider Boston, for example. The metro area is about half the sizeof Chicago’s, but the city proper has only 645,169 people to Chicago’s2,851,268. And incumbent mayor Tom Menino has shown a Daley-esqueability to get endlessly re-elected. What’s more, in terms of crime andschool system performance, Boston is clearly among the best-governedcities in America. Why not give him a chance?


You'd think that crime problems are as unique to cities as anything else, but we actually do this with police commissioners -- a successful commissioner in a smaller city is rewarded by getting to the big show in New York and Los Angeles . Also, Matthew and I live in Washington, D.C., where our mayor from 1999 to 2007 was Anthony Williams, who got his job by being placed in control of most of the city's budget not by local voters but by Congress. He did a good job and we made him mayor, and voila, he did a good job at that, too.

Is this going to happen? Oh, no. Don't be silly. But at the same time that tea party activists take a hard look at repealing the 17th Amendment and taking away from voters the ability to directly elect senators, it's a nice thought experiment. People are nowhere near as confident as they used to be that their local elections will produce the right people.


David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics


Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Terrorism, Immigration, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Oct. 19 2014 1:05 PM Dawn Patrol Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s critically important 5 a.m. wake-up call on voting rights.
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 4:23 PM A Former FBI Agent On Why It’s So Hard to Prosecute Gamergate Trolls
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 8:32 AM Marvel’s Civil War Is a Far-Right Paranoid Fantasy—and a Mess. Can the Movies Fix It?
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 20 2014 7:00 AM Gallery: The Red Planet and the Comet
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.