In POLITICO Magazine’s recent “Cities Issue,” University of Toronto professor Richard Florida became one of, if not, THE first self-labeled Progressive to advocate for limiting the federal government. Unsurprisingly, it took Donald Trump in the Oval Office and a GOP-controlled Congress to prompt him to finally admit, “Maybe giving the federal government too much power is bad.”
In his “Declaration of Urban Independence,” Florida builds this philosophically republican platform on his fear that President Trump will create economic and cultural targets out of America’s urban centers—the ones that voted in landslides for Hillary Clinton. He writes:
“The more I thought about it, the more I realized that as disastrous as Trump’s presidency was likely to be in many respects, it also presented a unique opportunity. If the GOP-controlled federal government isn’t going to help our cities—and under Trump, it is likely to work actively against their economic interests, not to mention the interests of the poor, minorities, women, gays and immigrants who live in them—then our cities will have to do the job themselves.”
In the words of Michael Scott…
Florida unoriginally acknowledges that the political wants and needs of Democrat safe havens on the coasts won’t exactly resonate with America’s Heartland. Though this talking point has been regurgitated over and over by many (the beloved electoral map hanging in the West Wing is a prime example), it is quite refreshing coming from a college professor—in Canada of all places—who hosted an HRC election party on November 8, 2016.
Holding one’s breath for Democrats and Republicans in Congress to reach an agreement that would catalyze the devolution of power to states and localities would be suicide. And yet, it’s (only slightly) encouraging that calls for such a movement are sprouting on the Left. They’re few and far in between, but it’s a breath of fresh air after listening to endless chants of “NOT MY PRESIDENT!”
For the sake for cordiality, I will ignore Florida’s extreme views on economics and social issues. I give credit where credit is due; he tugged at my conservative heartstrings when he wrote:
“If we are ever going to rebuild our cities and our nation as a whole, including our suburbs and rural areas, there is really only one way forward, and it does not and cannot start in Washington. It can only come from our many and varied communities, who know best how to address and solve their own problems and build their own economies. And if that sounds like going back to an old-fashioned, conservative conception of how federalism should work—a kind of extreme localism—to address the sorts of issues liberals worry about, so be it.”
Who would’ve thought a Progressive college professor who was “emotionally unprepared” for Trump’s election victory could’ve reached this conclusion?
Richard Florida is the one!
OK, I lied…I couldn’t go the entire blog without bringing up one RIDICULOUS claim he makes about “progressive” urban economics:
“We’ll turn our back on the federal government in every way we can, just like you’ve been urging everyone to do for years, and devote our hard-earned resources to building up our own cities and states. We’ll turn Blue America into a world-class incubator for progressive programs and policies, a laboratory for a guaranteed income and a high-speed rail system and free public universities. We’ll focus on getting our own house in order, while yours falls into disrepair and ruin.”
Yeah… good luck with that.