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- President Donald Trump regularly attacks major American cities and urban populations during clashes with lawmakers and other political rivals.
- Urban populations are not central to Republicans’ electoral strategy or their base of voters.
- Trump, who has never lived outside a city, regularly insults cities and levels threats at urban areas whose leaders oppose his administration’s policies.
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President Donald Trump is the product of cities. He has never lived outside of a city, whether it was his entire upbringing in New York, his college days at the Wharton School in Philadelphia, or now inside the White House in the center of Washington, DC.
But Trump loves to go after urban populations during spats with lawmakers and political rivals. Whether he is lobbing racially charged tweets at Baltimore, Maryland through his anger toward Democrats like Rep. Elijah Cummings or simply sparring with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi by lambasting her hometown of San Francisco, it is always the same: He attacks the cities.
Trump spent the weekend disparaging Baltimore, Maryland, for its widespread crime and economic problems. The comments drew widespread condemnation from Democrats, many of whom characterized them as racist and deliberately targeting Cummings.
For San Francisco, a booming city that still struggles with major problems like homelessness and rampant drug use, Trump used the city’s problems to criticize Pelosi over the weekend during an early morning tweetstorm.
"Speaking of failing badly, has anyone seen what is happening to Nancy Pelosi’s district in San Francisco. It is not even recognizable lately," Trump wrote on Twitter. "Something must be done before it is too late. The Dems should stop wasting time on the Witch Hunt Hoax and start focusing on our Country!"
Trump went after Rep. John Lewis, who represents part of Atlanta, for pledging not to attend his inauguration in 2017. Trump wrote on Twitter that the city "is in horrible shape and falling apart."
"Congressman John Lewis should finally focus on the burning and crime infested inner-cities of the U.S.," he added in another tweet. "I can use all the help I can get!"
In regard to his immigration policies, cities are his number one enemy. During an April campaign rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Trump told a raucous crowd he would be unleashing illegal immigrants into so-called "sanctuary cities," which resist federal immigration laws for undocumented individuals.
"Last month alone, 100,000 illegal immigrants arrived at our borders, placing a massive strain on communities… and public resources, like nobody has ever seen before," Trump said. "Now we’re sending many of them to sanctuary cities, thank you very much. They ain’t too happy about it. I’m proud to tell you that was actually my sick idea."
While Trump repeatedly said his administration would transport migrants to sanctuary cities, there’s no evidence DHS officials implemented these proposals, which are likely to add cost and logistical challenges.
Trump loses nothing from attacking cities
Trump loses nothing from attacking cities. His base is decidedly not urban and the Republican political strategy of maximizing the Electoral College vote over the popular vote makes courting big coastal cities virtually pointless.
Contrast that strategy with Hillary Clinton’s in her failed 2016 quest for the presidency. Clinton reportedly attempted to boost voter turnout in major cities such as New Orleans and Chicago, despite knowing it would not change the outcome of each state’s Electoral College results (Louisiana going for Trump and Illinois for Clinton).
This was part of Clinton’s broader effort to clearly win the popular vote because the campaign feared that if she won the Electoral College but not the popular vote, Trump would use that to claim the election was unfair or rigged against him.
Ultimately, the opposite happened with Trump winning the presidency while Clinton carried the popular vote, a result that largely turned the Democratic Party against the Electoral College.
And while Trump has clearly not gotten over the fact that he lost the popular vote, any idea that he would want to court urban voters is preposterous. It certainly is not a key component of the GOP’s electoral strategy either.
So Trump can — and most likely will — keep hammering major American cities as "disgusting" and "infested" with crime and rodents. He does not seem to lose his base or any large slice of votes from it.
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