Andrea Batista Schlesinger
Mayor Byron Brown: “The Presidential process hurts cities”
Does it matter that the presidential nominating process is dominated by rural states? Does it affect the way urban issues are discussed on the campaign trail? Mayor Byron Brown thinks so.
"The nomination process certainly has a negative effect on the coverage of cities," says the first African-American mayor of Buffalo, NY. "While presidential candidates are raising substantial amounts of money in cities, they are spending it in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina ... It disproportionately puts the focus on [rural] areas of the country where the majority of our citizenry do not live."
It's a sensible, almost self-evident point. Mayor Brown also called out a race / class dynamic that shapes the way presidential candidates talk about cities. To many Americans, "urban" is code for poor people and minorities -- not often popular topics in the heartland.
"If you look at the riots that took place in the 60s, and the flight from our cities, since that time urban issues have definitely become synonymous with poverty, with minorities," Mayor Brown said. "That has negatively shaped how urban issues are discussed, debated and looked at in this country."