Worth Reading from the NYT: Crisis in the Liberal City: The George Floyd protests expose the fault lines in metropolitan America. By Ross Douthat
Excerpt: But the riots engulfing America’s cities aren’t just a testament to Trump’s mix of provocation and abdication. They also reveal how the Democratic coalition’s distillation into a metropolitan formation, a liberalism of the “global city,” has created deep pressures inside the liberal coalition, fissures that can widen with the right cascade of shocks. The coalition of the liberal city is a high-low coalition, an alliance of highly educated urbanites, service workers and the underclass, inhabiting the same geography but very different social spaces, sharing a common political opponent but lacking a common way of life. The weaknesses of the conservative coalition are reversed for liberals. Instead of uniformity, there is Balkanization. Instead of chauvinism against outsiders there is suspicion against neighbors. Instead of a pious Christianity that’s too often distant from the stranger and the orphan, there is a pious liberalism that depends on the cheap labor of immigrants and the surveillance and harassment of the poor. Above all, the liberal city lacks a middle — the ballast of a substantial middle class, the mediating institutions of old-fashioned machine politics, the cement of shared religious and cultural institutions. Instead, its mediating institutions are the cops, the public schools and welfare bureaucracy, and the professional-activist class. None of these groups have broad legitimacy.