Paper 5 |
City Politics: Analysis |
Chapter 8 Analysis
Chapter 8 discusses the “rise of the Sunbelt” and how the Sunbelt affected regional municipal politics. The authors attribute the regional title of the Sunbelt to Kevin Phillips during the 1968 Presidential race. A fact that struck me as interesting is that all of the presidents since John F Kennedy until Barak H Obama have been from the South or West. They also point out that there has been a shift in congressional power over the past few decades from the industrial Northeast to the Sunbelt Region. This shift in legislative influence to the South and West, which is considerably more socially conservative, can help to explain the reduction in aid to the cities since the 1970s. Phillips predicted in the 1968 election that regional ascendancy would continue to rise and influence future elections. This prediction fulfilled itself in the 1970s when the oil embargo occurred and the Southern and Western oil producing states prospered with an economic boom. At the same time the Northeastern industrial metro areas suffered great financial difficulty because of their dependence on oil and energy. This disparity in economic drivers fueled regional conflict and had been labeled as the Second War Between the States.
The authors describe the Sunbelt in Kirkpatrick Sales’ map as the area south of the 37th parallel extending from North Carolina to California. They point out that this large swath of area faces two distinct challenges. The first challenge being that the entire area is far from having a uniform prosperity. The prosperity of the sunbelt was very localized into parts of 5 of the 15 states identified in the Sunbelt giving way to the quote of two scholars to say that “the Sunbelt has collapsed into only a few sunspots”. The second challenge that the Sunbelt concept faced is the thought that the South and West were similar enough to be lumped together. The point that they make is that until... [continues]
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