Place Matters

Place Matters
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File

Donald Trump's election may have stunned us all, but it shouldn't have. There were plenty of signals that regions of the country on whose support Democrats had long counted were in economic collapse. And like most of us, the Democrats failed to see them.

In May 2016, the Economic Innovation Group (EIG) released a study—“The New Map of Economic Growth and Recovery”—that made no discernible impact on progressive discourse or Democrats' strategy. But, like the Angus Deaton and Anne Case studies on rising death rates within the white working class—which did enter progressive discourse but also had no impact on Democrats' strategy—it sure as hell should have.

The EIG's study strikes me as the necessary corollary to the Deaton-Case documentation of the rise in “deaths of despair” within the white working class. What it shows, simply, is that businesses and employment opportunities are concentrated as never before in a shrinking number of metropolises, and that the economies of Everyplace Else in America have all but hollowed out.

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