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This section of Discover The Networks examines a number of different cities and states that have had long-term Democratic rule and today are plagued by high rates of crime, poverty, unemployment, and school failure as well as oppressive taxes. Notably, blacks and Hispanics in these places suffer disproportionately from these trends.

The unwavering inclination of so many voters in failing, Democrat-run cities to dutifully continue throwing their support behind Democrats merits serious analysis. One explanation lies in the so-called “Curley Effect,” identified in a famous 2002 article in the Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization by Harvard scholars Edward Glaeser and Andrei Shleifer. Its name derives from its prototype, James Michael Curley, who served four (non-consecutive) terms as mayor of Boston between 1914 and 1950.

This phenomenon, the authors explain, is the strategy of “increasing the relative size of one’s political base through distortionary, wealth-reducing policies.” Forbes magazine puts it this way: “A politician or a political party can achieve long-term dominance by tipping the balance of votes in their direction through the implementation of policies that strangle and stifle economic growth. Counterintuitively, making a city poorer leads to political success for the engineers of that impoverishment.”

The Curley Effect typically occurs when Democratic political leaders adopt policies that redistribute wealth from the prosperous to the poor, causing the latter to become economically dependent upon their political patrons, and thus to become a permanently pro-Democrat voting bloc. At the same time, these redistributive policies cause the people harmed by them (i.e., those from whom wealth is extracted) to emigrate to other cities, states, and even countries, thereby further solidifying the political power of Curleyist practitioners.

For further details on the Curley Effect, click here.




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Do Progressive Policies Hurt Black Americans?
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November 21, 2013

Historian Says Don't 'Sanitize' How Our Government Created Ghettos
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May 14, 2015

Big Dem Cities, Big Dem Poverty
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December 17, 2013

Mapping America’s Distressed Communities, Zip Code by Zip Code
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February 25, 2016


Democrat Cities are Dangerous Places to Live
By Alfonzo Rachel
August 2014

2014 State of the Union Address: A Black Grassroots Response


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