As the post-mortems of the election in 2016 continue to roll out, a consistent theme the media is pushing is the fight between the cities and the country. This theme is not new. Since the days of Michael Dukakis, former governor of Massachusetts, the idea of competing in a handful of states to push to 270 for the Democrats has been the main electoral strategy.
Donald Trump flipping enough of the rural Midwest, however, revealed the stark city-country divide. Supported by stuffing states with immigrants, this has become an easier strategy. Urbanization and concentration of the Democrats’ voters have created cultural rifts within the coalition.
The glue that holds the Left’s coalition together is both anti-white and anti-Western civilization ideology: tear down patriarchy, oppressive structures, and religion, so long as they are European and Christian in origin. This creates a problem for leftist whites, a subset of whom are called SWPLs. These urban, educated whites face a problem that suburban or rural Democrats do not face. Suburban and rural Democrats are in majority-white areas that have corresponding civilizational traits. An urban SWPL lives, most likely, in a 90% Democratic city, but one where whites are part of a racial plurality, or constitute an outright minority.
Sheer numbers work against the urban SWPL, who does not want to become a member of a new white flight to the suburbs. The city life comes with status, but risks. How does the SWPL enjoy safe activities in cities full of their fellow non-white Democratic voters who bring higher rates of violent crime? How can they do it in a manner that does not violate their political viewpoints?
SWPL culture allows for a cultural moat to form a protective barrier of entry to all public pursuits.
This cultural moat accounts for the signal broadcasting strength by SWPL urban culture as compared to suburban or rural white culture, where blending into the broader culture takes place. In rural or suburban areas, the public spaces are whiter, and there is no need to broadcast because it does not create the needed, protective moat.
SWPLs, however, require the moat. One need only read the memoirs of those who fled the cities after desegregation to understand why. In the memoir, many of the disturbances and altercations that sometimes ended in brutal assaults or murder were fought due to use of the commons. Public space without freedom of association and exclusion meant truly open areas. Violence and simply the friction between groups created danger, which triggers fight or flight. Some fought and some fled. Looking at neighborhood changes, most if not all, fled.
As progressive ideology and the laws encoded by progressives prevent exclusion, the SWPLs use other markers as a filtration system. Focusing on historical items like architecture, instruments, fashion, or particular eras creates groups or meetings that are essentially self-segregating. One does not need to see university history department pictures to know how that segregates groups.
The focus and care SWPLs put into their crafts, hobbies, and pursuits also rewards and bestows status on commitment. It is harder to be a casual dabbler, and if one is, one must be aware of this specific SWPL hobby. The obscurity of a pursuit plays into this, as one must be reading the trends of this group already. The seemingly never-ending quest for more exotic food acts as a gate and protective moat. The more obscure the subject, the fewer the non-white attendees. Even those who attend are most likely going to pass an educated, progressive-washed process and not be the generic non-white city dweller.
One can try to deny this phenomenon, but even Saturday Night Live a decade ago had a running sketch celebrating Black History Month by citing the first black person to say ‘no’ to something crazy whites do. The actions were skydiving, using direct deposit, or eating sushi. A joke in the late ’90s was that the people constantly talking about rap acts The Roots, Outkast, or Mos Def were white college kids. Latching onto these, which at the time were more obscure acts, allowed whites to flood a concert without being alone.
This practice has caught the eye of non-Asian minorities, who notice the cleaner, safer, and sexier SWPL cultural activities and want entrance. The music magazine Pitchfork has slid into a pattern of glorifying any album or record by a minority performer, compared to its former focus on indie music and the ‘craft’ of music. Pitchfork now pays the danegeld of inclusion, which has also extended to multiple subcultures–steampunk being one of the most comical. Similar to knowing the next great party, by the time danegeld happens, SWPLs have moved onto something new.
There can be debate about whether this strategy employed by the urban white liberal thede is conscious, unconscious, or some messy combination of both. Consumer culture and pop culture can form identities claimed by broad or specific sets of people. SWPL culture is an independent culture. It is also a culture of deliberate choices, but why are the choices being made in the first place?
As a protective moat, it works for those who cannot meet the economic hurdle of a safe living area in America’s deep blue cities.