Obama’s Base and Politics of Disappointment

By Joel KotkinOctober 29 2012

Appearing in: 
Reuters

There may be no better illustration of President Barack Obama’s appeal than his ability to hold onto voters — minorities, single moms and young people — who have fared the worst under his presidency. But the bigger question as we approach Election Day may be whether these constituencies, having been mauled by the economy, show up in sufficient numbers to save the presidential bacon.

Welcome to the politics of disappointment. Much has been said about the problems facing the middle class, who have been losing out since the 1970s. But the biggest recent losers have been groups like African-Americans. In the current economic downturn, middle class African-Americans have lost virtually all the gains they made over the past 30 years, according to the National Urban League. Median annual household income for blacks decline by more than 11 percent between June 2009 and June 2012, according to the Census bureau, twice the loss suffered by whites.

Deep in the Heart of Texas: Private Donors Build a Medical Complex the Size of a Small City

By Joel KotkinOctober 27 2012

Appearing in: 
The Philanthropy Roundtable

When Americans think of oil executives, they tend to conjure up the image of J. R. Ewing: slick smile, sharp suits, cowboy boots, and a 10-gallon hat packed with bluster, vanity, and greed. According to Gallup, no industry is more widely reviled than oil and gas—not even banking, real estate, or heath care. The poll found that 64 percent of Americans disapprove of its activities. Only the federal government fared worse.

The Rise of the Great Plains: Regional Opportunity in the 21st Century

By Joel KotkinOctober 24 2012

Appearing in: 
For Texas Tech University

This is the introduction to a new report on the future of the American Great Plains released today by Texas Tech University (TTU). The report was authored by Joel Kotkin, Praxis Strategy Group, and Kevin Mulligan of TTU. Visit TTU's page to download the full report, read the online version, or to check out the interactive online atlas of the region containing economic, demographic, and geographic data.

For much of the past century, the vast expanse known as the Great Plains has been largely written off as a bit player on the American stage. As the nation has urbanized, and turned increasingly into a service and technology-based economy, the semi-arid area between the Mississippi Valley and the Rockies has been described as little more than a mistaken misadventure best left undone.

Decline Of The Asian Family: Drop In Births Threatens Economic Ascendancy

By Joel KotkinOctober 23 2012

Appearing in: 
Forbes.com

In the last half century, East Asia emerged as the uber-performer on the global economic stage. The various countries in the region found success with substantially different systems: state-led capitalism in South Korea, Singapore and Japan; wild and wooly, competitive, entrepreneur-led growth in Taiwan and Hong Kong; and more recently, what Deng Xiaoping once described as “socialism with Chinese characteristics.”

It’s Mormon in America

By Joel KotkinOctober 23 2012

Appearing in: 
The City Journal

Whether or not Mitt Romney makes it to the White House, his candidacy signals that Mormons have arrived in American political life. Just as President Obama’s nomination and election marked a sea change in the country’s tortured racial history, so Romney’s nomination has changed religious boundaries that have persisted for more than 160 years. No religious group has been more persecuted by the U.S. government, or more derided by other faiths present in the country, than the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or the LDS Church, as many Mormons refer to it).

Demographic Dead End? Barack Obama's Single Nation

By Joel KotkinOctober 18 2012

Appearing in: 
The Daily Beast

President Obama brought up Planned Parenthood three separate times at Tuesday’s town hall debate. It was an appeal aimed directly at a key part of his base: If he is reelected, it will be because of the Single Nation.

Democrats have woken up to the huge political rifts that have emerged over the past 30 years—between married and single people, and people with kids and those who don’t have them. And save African Americans, there may be no constituency more loyal to the president and his party than the growing ranks of childless and single Americans.

The Rise of Post-Familialism: Humanity's Future?

By Joel KotkinOctober 12 2012

Appearing in: 
Special Report

This piece is the introduction to a new report on post-familialism from Civil Service College in Singapore, Chapman University, and Fieldstead and Company and authored by Joel Kotkin.

For most of human history, the family — defined by parents, children and extended kin — has stood as the central unit of society. In Europe, Asia, Africa and, later, the Americas and Oceania, people lived, and frequently worked, as family units.

The Braking Of The BRICs

By Joel KotkinOctober 08 2012

Appearing in: 
Forbes.com

For over a decade, conventional wisdom has held that the future of the world economy rests on the rise of the so-called BRIC countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China (and, in some cases, with the addition of an ‘S’ for South Africa).

As Partisan Rancor Rises, States That Back a Loser Will Be Punished

By Joel KotkinOctober 05 2012

Appearing in: 
The Daily Beast

Never mind the big-tent debate talk from both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney about how their respective politics will benefit all Americans. There’s a broader, ugly truth that as the last traces of purple fade from the electoral map, whoever wins will have little reason to take care of much of the country that rejected them.

The Hollow Boom Of Brooklyn: Behind Veneer Of Gentrification, Life Gets Worse For Many

By Joel KotkinSeptember 25 2012

Appearing in: 
Forbes.com

After a decade of increasingly celebrated gentrification, many believe Brooklyn — the native borough of both my parents — finally has risen from the shadows that were cast when it became part of New York City over a century ago.

America’s Last Politically Contested Territory: The Suburbs

By Joel KotkinSeptember 20 2012

Appearing in: 
The Daily Beast

Within the handful of swing states, the presidential election will come down to a handful of swing counties: namely the suburban voters who reside in about the last contested places in American politics.

Even in solid-red states, big cities tilt overwhelmingly toward President Obama and the Democrats, and even in solid-blue ones, the countryside tends to be solidly Republican.

The Changing Geography of Asian America: To The South And The Suburbs

By Joel KotkinSeptember 20 2012

Appearing in: 
Forbes.com

“There’s nothing wrong with New York that a million Chinese couldn’t cure,” the urban geographer George Sternlieb once quipped. It may be an exaggeration, but rising Asian immigration has indeed been a boon to many communities and economies across the country.

Barack Obama’s New Chicago Politics Abandon Bill Clinton’s Winning Coalition

By Joel KotkinSeptember 04 2012

Appearing in: 
The Daily Beast

While the Democratic convention this week celebrates the party’s new coalition, Bill Clinton will no doubt try to recapture the white middle class that’s largely deserted the Democrats since his presidency ended. But it’s likely his efforts will be a case of too little, too late for Barack Obama—who will have to look elsewhere for his electoral majority.

The Unseen Class War That Could Decide The Presidential Election

By Joel KotkinAugust 29 2012

Appearing in: 
Forbes

Much is said about class warfare in contemporary America, and there’s justifiable anger at the impoverishment of much of the middle and working classes. The Pew Research Center recently dubbed the 2000s a “lost decade” for middle-income earners — some 85% of Americans in that category feel it’s now more difficult to maintain their standard of living than at the beginning of the millennium, according to a Pew survey.

Utah Up, Chicago Down: Why Mitt Romney Should Embrace His Mormonism

By Joel KotkinAugust 22 2012

Appearing in: 
The Daily Beast

In his run for the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney downplayed his Mormonism—referring only to “faith” or “shared values”—in the face of small-minded members of the Christian right and the occasional cackle from the Eastern cultural avant-garde.

Joel on Reason.tv

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Watch Joel in this feature on the role of central planning in Los Angeles. View large version.

Interview on Smartplanet.com

"Greenurbia is the suburbs of the future. The suburbs of the 1950s were bedroom communities for people who commuted into the city. Today, there’s much more employment in the suburbs, and the big change is the number of people working full-time or part-time at home. Having people commute from one computer screen to another doesn’t make sense."

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Praise for The Next Hundred Million

Kotkin has a striking ability to envision how global forces will shape daily family life, and his conclusions can be thought-provoking as well as counterintuitive. It's amazing there isn't more public discussion about the enormous changes ahead, and reassuring to have this talented thinker on the case. — Jennifer Ludden, NPR national desk correspondent

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