First, there’s a placing double normal within the methods politicians are allowed to speak about completely different areas of America. Voters from rural states usually complain about not getting sufficient respect, however are you able to think about the response if, say, the Senate majority chief, Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, had been to explain Alabama — which in 2021 had an awfully excessive price of firearm mortality — as a spot the place everybody runs round taking pictures each other and themselves?

Second, and extra vital, I’m all the time struck by the extent to which right this moment’s right-wing politics is pushed by a grim, dystopian picture of America, particularly American cities, that simply isn’t grounded in actuality.

Quite a lot of this appears to replicate perceptions that congealed way back and haven’t been up to date to replicate the methods by which city America has modified for the higher. New York actually was a harmful place just a few a long time again: There have been 2,262 murders in 1990. Final yr, nevertheless, with the pandemic-era bump in crime quickly receding, there have been solely 391 — nonetheless too many — and early indications are that violent crime is continuous to fall.

Nationally, violent crime, at the very least in response to the F.B.I., is approaching a 50-year low.

These are official statistics, however what about private expertise? I bear in mind New York within the unhealthy outdated days, and it’s nothing like that now. Polling on crime is outstanding, particularly when damaged down by partisan affiliation: In line with Gallup, 78 p.c of Republicans say that crime is a particularly or very significant issue for the nation, however solely 16 p.c say it’s a significant issue the place they stay. That’s not as a result of Republicans stay in safer locations: Solely 15 p.c of Democrats say that native crime is a significant issue.

Crime isn’t the one topic the place Republicans appear to be dwelling up to now. In one other latest speech, Trump declared: “We’re like a 3rd world nation. Have a look at our airports. … I imply, how unhealthy are the airports?” He might have been considering of La Guardia within the Nineteen Seventies. I lately landed at Newark’s new Terminal A, and it was a placing reminder of simply how gentrified America’s main airports have change into.



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