Writing

Motor City Stalls Out

Politico’s Playbook notes this morning that Detroit is on the cover of both TIME and Fortune this week.

I’m planning on writing a longer-length story about the Motor City and what its decline means for American politics.  I’ve always had sort of a morbid fascination with Detroit, partly because I love cars, partly because it’s extraordinary to see a great city fall so far, and partly because I love history and it’s interesting to see some aspect of a city frozen in time.

Fortune Detroit Cover

Fortune Detroit Cover

My article will focus on what should be done – investment or contraction – and what impact Detroit’s long, slow decline has had and will have on American politics.

With regards to pure electoral politics, I think that Michigan will just get more Democratic.  The people who have left Detroit are socially mobile young people, many of whom are white.  Many of them are also Republican.  The folks sticking around in the urban core tend to be part of the core Democratic constituency.  Detroit is perhaps as racially polarized as any city in America, and this extends to politics.

Until I write my big post on Detroit, I’d definitely recommend a Weekly Standard piece on it from last December titled, “The City Where the Sirens Never Sleep.”  I’d also point to these great maps from The Map Scroll (via Cartophilia) illustrating how much Motor City has emptied out.

4 Responses to “Motor City Stalls Out”

  1. Kevin Deegan-Krause

    25 September 2009 at 4:30 AM

    Thanks for this great blog. Glad to hear your interest in doing a piece on Detroit. But leave out the Weekly Standard piece which really misses the boat (and has a rather underhanded agenda). Instead take a look at Herron’s Afterculture, Sugure’s Origins of the Urban Crisis and Farley’s Detroit Divided. And see what local Detroiters have to say about the influx of journalists looking for “ruin porn” (http://www.viceland.com/int/v16n8/htdocs/something-something-something-detroit-994.php?page=1).

  2. Cartophiliac

    25 September 2009 at 10:27 AM

    Patrick, you have The Map Room and The Map Scroll mixed up in your link…

  3. Patrick Ottenhoff

    25 September 2009 at 2:35 PM

    Oh man – thanks for the heads up!


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