Large American cities, the vast majority of which are run entirely by Democrats, are deteriorating before our eyes; and the phenomenon is not due to the COVID pandemic. New York City is in rapid decay, reverting to its pre-Rudolph Giuliani condition as Mayor Bill DeBlasio is more concerned about wokeness and virtue-signaling than he is about effectively running the city’s government. In San Francisco and Los Angeles, homelessness is out of control, their treasuries are effectively broke, and residents have been fleeing in record numbers. And in Portland, Mayor Ted Wheeler has stood by as riots have been ravaging the city for almost a year now, with empty hotels across the city as tourists stay away in droves.
There are dozens of cities we could examine to illustrate the failure of Democrat policies, but Philadelphia may be the most fascinating to consider. It’s the birthplace of our Republic, but if you’re planning a visit to Independence Hall in the near future and you value your safety, you may want to reconsider. It was the home and final resting place of Betsy Ross, the creator of our Great Flag, but many Philadelphians would apparently rather burn the flag at a Black Lives Matter protest than respect it. And while Philadelphia has long been considered a mecca for those seeking an education (as home to Temple University, Drexel University, and the Ivy League’s University of Pennsylvania, among others), the city’s public school system is in rapid decline.
Democratic Philadelphia voters outnumber Republican voters almost 7:1. The last time the city had a mayor that wasn’t a Democrat was in 1952. And the City Council is made up of seventeen total members, of which fourteen are Democrats. It would be difficult to find a bluer city than the City of Philadelphia, PA, and any finger-pointing to other political parties or ideologies would be absurd. Democrats have been running the city for decades, and they own the wreckage they’ve created.
The Inevitable Results of Tax-and-Spend Democrats
Like most Democrat-run cities, Philadelphia seldom comes across a problem they do not deem worthy of government intervention, which means, of course, throwing money at it. Approximately $238 million of Philly’s $4.8 billion budget last year was used to address their debt. For non-Philadelphians who shrug their shoulders and think, “It’s not my problem,” note that $1.4 billion of your federal tax dollars was sent to Philly via the $1.9 trillion so-called COVID Relief Bill. When folks refer to that bill as a “Blue State Bailout,” Philly is a case in point.
To pay for their spending binges, Philadelphia levies heavy taxes on suburban commuters, to the point many may not return post-pandemic. The city council has been forced to consider cutting those taxes as a result. Like most cities, Philadelphia has a spending problem, not a revenue problem, but good luck finding a serious proposal by a government official for cutting spending. Unless of course we consider “Defund the Police” to be a serious cost cutting proposal.
Go Soft on Crime, See Crime Rise
Prior to the pandemic, Philadelphia had budgeted an additional $19 million for their police department. But last June as BLM protests raged in the city, that increase was scrapped. Predictably, crime in Philadelphia is skyrocketing. There were 499 homicides in Philly last year, and the city is on pace to exceed 600 homicides this year. Other violent crimes have increased as well. It’s gotten so bad, an effort that’s been labeled “All Hands on Deck” has been launched between the police department and Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams to curb the violence. And violent crime against women has seen an especially sharp increase.
As we’ve seen in other major cities, Philadelphia police are retiring at an alarming rate, to the point the department is struggling to staff their force. Who can blame the retiring cops? With Mayor Jim Kenney and the rest of the city government demonizing them at every opportunity, it’s a wonder anyone would want to stay.
In addition to the degrading of police and the withdrawal of funding, Philadelphia also has one of the most leftwing District Attorneys in the country, Larry Krasner.
In Philly, the D.A. is an elected position, and Philadelphians got what they voted for. Krasner is a regular Santa Claus when it comes to dealing with criminals, and those policies have no doubt played a large role in the crime spike. Krasner is up for reelection this year and is being challenged by fellow Democrat Carlos Vega who in any other year would be considered a leftist; but not when running against Krasner. The police union local FOP has endorsed Vega and conducted a publicity stunt handing out free “Mr. Softee” ice cream cones to kick off their endorsement and apply the label of “soft” on Krasner.
Mainstream Media Complicity, Of Course
It’s been decades since the Philadelphia Inquirer, the city’s largest newspaper, has endorsed a non-Democrat for mayor in the general election. Like other blue cities, local news channels typically dismiss the havoc Democrats have wrought on the city. Aside from the handful of local talk-radio personalities, there’s virtually no one calling out Democratic incompetence. And federal tax dollars aren’t only being used to fund Philly’s “Blue State Bailout,’ they’re also being spent via PBS to weigh-in on the aforementioned D.A. race between Krasner and Vega.
In a series called “Philly D.A.” which is currently running on PBS’ Independent Lens, Krasner’s tenure is the focus, particularly as it relates to “reform.” At this point, PBS is only halfway through the eight-part series, but unless things change quickly, the reporting on Krasner in “Philly D.A.” is little more than an eight-hour Larry Krasner campaign ad. The PBS production gushes over Krasner’s advocacy for shorter prison terms for violent criminals, less jails, and improved approaches to rehabilitation; and acts as Krasner apologists for the negative trends.
But perhaps nothing better illustrates the idiotic and biased mindset of the mainstream media and modern urban journalism than this gem from Philadelphia Magazine, titled “Philadelphia’s Homicide Rate Hit a Record High. Now Can We Get Serious About Defunding Police?” And no, that’s not a headline from The Babylon Bee. In the piece, columnist Ernest Owens recognizes the surge in violent crime in the city, and essentially proposes that the solution is less police and more hugs for the violent criminals; leftism insanity on full display.
While Democrat accomplices in the media try to paint the picture that the urban exodus from Philadelphia is not as bad as other, neighboring cities, Philly indeed continues to see a decline in their overall population; there are “less people moving to the city and more people leaving” it.
Philadelphia used to be a great place to live and raise a family, but not anymore, and the numbers are clear evidence. Crime rates, high taxes, and anti-American leftism are compelling residents to move to greener pastures in the suburbs, or perhaps in an entirely different part of the country.
Consequently, the State of Pennsylvania’s overall census has been impacted, and it was recently announced the state has lost another Congressional seat in the House of Representatives as a result. In addition to Pennsylvania – a state with a Democratic governor and which voted for Joe Biden last November – several other blue states including California, New York, Illinois and Michigan also lost Congressional seats, while red states such as Florida, Texas and Montana gained seats. Americans are running away from Democratic governance in favor of Republicans.
Is it Too Late?
In the late-1980s and early-1990s, there were many American cities that saw a revitalization. Cities such as Pittsburgh, Cleveland and New York attracted investment through lower corporate taxes, they lowered crime rates by increasing police and getting tough on criminals, and they did away with red light districts thereby giving their towns broader appeal. In other words, cities spurned leftism and moved to the right, and that conservatism enabled them to thrive. But in many cases, it took years for those cities to see the light. They chose to stand back and watch their cities evolve into Sodom and Gomorrah before they finally got fed up and fixed the problems.
So where are cities like Philadelphia currently in that cycle? And Los Angeles, and New York, and San Francisco? Are they still on the decline, or will they rebound in the near future?
Sadly, we must conclude that these cities still have a long way to go before their fall is broken. It is the voters in these cities who can correct the situations by electing more responsible, conservative leadership, but we’ve seen no indication that voters’ attitudes are shifting. It’s likely that these cities will have to learn those tough lessons all over again. Violent crime will continue to increase, tax rates and spending will become unsustainable, and infrastructure will fall apart. Perhaps only then, cities like Philadelphia will recognize that the Democrats they support are in fact destroying the cities they love. We can hope that such revelations happen sooner, but it’s difficult to be optimistic.
P.F. Whalen is a conservative blogger at TheBlueStateConservative.com. His work has appeared in multiple publications, including Human Events, the Western Journal, and American Thinker. Follow him on Parler @PFWhalen.