Bossman Chip forwarded me an interesting piece from the Michigan Land Use Institute: "Could Smart Growth Tip the Next Presidential Election?"
Having read through it, the headline seems rather, uh, optimistic. But there’s some interesting stuff about the role smart-growth proposals played in the victory of Tim Kaine (D) in the Virginia governor’s race, and the general lay of the political land in fast-growing exurbs:
The basic electoral math is simple. The last two presidential elections were decided in the fastest growing counties of a select group of states, including Virginia, Florida, Colorado, North Carolina, and Ohio. In 2004, half of President Bush’s 3.5 million vote electoral margin came from the 100 fastest-growing counties, 97 of which voted heavily Republican.
Yet growth is one of the top three voter priorities in all of these fast-developing counties, making them crucibles for new local programs to establish growth boundaries, conserve farmland and open space, build rapid transit lines, and promote new downtown neighborhoods that are in closer proximity to jobs, recreation, shopping, and schools.
Food for thought, and a real possibility for issues close to greens’ hearts to find some traction in heretofore right-leaning (and incredibly electorally significant) areas.
Keith Schneider, the author of the piece, is a member of the Elm Street Writers Group, a gaggle of scribes working to put smart growth on the national agenda. Lots of good stuff in the archives — check it out.