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Blue Metros, Red States: The Shifting Urban-Rural Divide in America’s Swing States, David F. Damore, Robert E. Lang and Karen A. Danielsen

Reviewed by George Hawley



President Donald Trump’s surprise victory in the 2016 presidential election disrupted many outdated assumptions about political geography in the United States. Trump’s wins on the other side of the Democratic Party’s so-called Blue Wall demonstrated that the political landscape of the United States is more complex than many simplistic discussions of fixed “red states” and “blue states” suggest. For political observers seeking to understand today’s major geographic divisions, I strongly recommend Blue Metros, Red States by David F. Damore, Robert E. Lang, and Karen A. Danielsen. The book provides cogent descriptions of the major geographic divides in U.S. politics, making the case that the urban-rural distinction within states is an essential element of electoral politics. The authors show that this divide has similar consequences across the country, in both Republican-leaning and Democratic-leaning states.

It is well known that rural areas are overrepresented at the national level in politics; both the U.S. Senate and the Electoral College ensure that less populous states enjoy disproportionate representation. This will not change in the absence of a major constitutional overhaul. However, Damore, Lang, and Danielsen argue that the same process also occurs within states, where the populous, prosperous cit

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