Those Pesky Urban Voters

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 13 2012 1:51 PM

Those Pesky Urban Voters

Paul Ryan's "how I screwed this up" tour begins with the ol' "too many liberal urbanites voted" chestnut.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

“I think the surprise was some of the turnout, some of the turnout especially in urban areas, which gave President Obama the big margin to win this race,” said Ryan to local station WISC-TV in his first post-election interview. “When we watched Virginia and Ohio coming in, and those ones coming in as tight as they were, and looking like we were going to lose them, that's when it became clear we weren't going to win.”

This has engendered the expected shock-and-sputter over Ryan's dismissiveness. The highlight of the genre, clearly, is a New York Times story that cites "one person on Twitter" and "another" to show that Ryanrage is growing.

I'd argue that Ryan's position is fairly savvy, given what else is out there. A rumor du jour on the right (which I plan to get into as soon as our national Petraeus nightmare winds down) is that the lack of Romney votes in some Philadelphia and Cleveland precincts suggest that there was ELECTION FRAUD. There is, however, plenty of precedent for inner-city precincts voting heavily Democratic. Most of the precincts in question gave a similarly non-existent number of votes to John McCain in 2008. McCain didn't really campaign in those cities, ceding the black vote to Barack Obama.

No, I think Ryan's next statement is more revealing.

“I don’t think we lost it on those budget issues, especially on Medicare — we clearly didn’t lose it on those issues,” he said.

Ryan spent weeks promising to "win this debate" over Medicare, so he can't say he lost it. But what he's implying here is that voters, for other reasons, simply didn't consider the wisdom of the big arguments. And that's sort of the argument Republicans make about urban voters -- they vote so reflexively Democratic, they're hardly responsive to policy debates.

Ryan's solution to this problem seems to be backing Tom Price over Cathy McMorris-Rodgers for the fourth-ranking role in the GOP conference, which would make it an all-white male leadership team again.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics



The Irritating Confidante

John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.

My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee

Medical Examiner

Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?

Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?


Driving in Circles

The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.

The World’s Human Rights Violators Are Signatories to the World’s Human Rights Treaties

How Punctual Are Germans?

  News & Politics
Oct. 22 2014 12:44 AM We Need More Ben Bradlees His relationship with John F. Kennedy shows what’s missing from today’s Washington journalism.
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Oct. 22 2014 6:00 AM Why It’s OK to Ask People What They Do David Plotz talks to two junior staffers about the lessons of Working.
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
Oct. 22 2014 8:13 AM Good Teaching Is Not About Playing It Safe Classroom technology can make learning more dangerous, and that’s a good thing.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 22 2014 7:30 AM An Illusion That Makes Me Happy and Sad
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.