I have learned my lesson and will no longer make predictions. Even though I do not regret my endorsement of Governor Romney, and still believe that my assessment of the two candidates was correct, I acknowledge that wishful thinking made me lose touch with some basic facts of American politics.
On election night all eyes were drawn to the map of the pivotal state of Ohio. There it was: a sea of red surrounding a few blue islands. The most prominent blue island was Cleveland in Cuyahoga county in the northwest corner of the state. The vote there was decisive. Next day I did a search for the 10 worst cities in the country and sure enough Cleveland was close to the top.
Cleveland has a population of about 430000 people but Forbes magazine placed it atop its list of most miserable cities in the country. Significant factors in the assessment were high unemployment, high taxes, and political corruption. Cleveland is part of Cuyahoga County where in the past 10 years more than 300 public officials have been convicted of crimes. A recent FBI investigation ensnared more than two dozen government employees on charges of bribery, fraud, and tax evasion.
Cleveland also has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country with thousands of abandoned homes. Apparently, it provided down payments through the Federal Afford-a Home program to people who could not afford the mortgage payments.
Reading about Cleveland brought to mind nearby Bridgeport in my home state of Connecticut. Looking at election returns it was clear that the Democrat political machine that has controlled the city for the past 50 years once again brought out the vote not only for President Obama but also for even the lowest functionary. For example, Christina Ayala young woman of 29 was elected to the State House of Representatives by a margin of about 3000 to 300 despite the fact that prior to the election, she had run a red light, caused an accident, and fled the scene. Her father is a prominent Bridgeport politico who now has virtually appointed two daughters to the State legislature.
Bridgeport even voted to restore an elected Board of Education after the state of Connecticut had stepped in a year ago to replace the notorious old board with an appointed one. Under the guise of restoring the Board to popular control, it has just been handed back to the party machine.
I write not out of sour grapes but to point out a basic political fact. For the past 50 years under virtual one-party rule. Bridgeport stands as a monument to the effects of one-party dominance. It has one of the worst school systems in the State. It has one of the highest murder rates. The city has been virtually bankrupt for the past few years since it requires about 150 million dollars of state aid each year to keep its failing schools going.
Why is it in the interest of the people in cities like Bridgeport and Cleveland to vote Democrat year after year? What do they hope to gain except for jobs and opportunities for a few anointed leaders? Even more puzzling is why Republican politicians so often fail to approach this substantial voting bloc and show them that they don’t have to accept the status quo.
I do not understand why every four years the Republican Party enters the race for the Presidency down by three of the most populous states in the country. They automatically concede California, New York and Illinois to the Democrats even though those states are social and economic basket cases. So many times in the campaign it seemed to me that even though Romney and Ryan had a good message, they were preaching to the choir. The people of Cleveland, Bridgeport, Miami, and Los Angeles were not even listening, or else could care less about budgets and tax issues.
In the future the Republican Party will have to show people in the American cities that they don’t have to tolerate poor schools, street crime, and urban decay. ###