This post (and accompanying mapgraphic) was inspired by a piece written by Aaron Renn published last month in his blog Urbanophile, looking at the worsening city-suburb divide in Cincinnati and how that divide is exacerbated by partisan politics. The gist of the piece is that the city-suburb divide is holding Cincinnati back from reaching its full potential. Renn continues to explain how downtown Cincinnati’s own Congressional Representative, Steve Chabot (R-District 1), is working against his city in an attempt to kill funding for a streetcar project.
So how can someone like Steve Chabot, so seemingly wrapped up in suburban identity politics, be the Congressional Rep for a district that includes a major city like Cincinnati? This happens through a combination of gerrymandering, overt discriminatory voting policies, the overall loss of 2 Congressional Districts statewide, and shrinking populations in Ohio’s cities. To be fair, it seems that the increase in land area of District 1 has allowed for the inclusion of more Republican voters, but check out what Ohio’s Republican state legislature and governor have done to Ohio’s First Congressional District… the graphic below shows where in the congressional redistricting based on Census 2010, the Republican state legislature went completely out of their way to tack on the staunchly Republican Warren County to the 1st District, and in the process, further weakening the voice of Cincinnati’s residents in speaking up for their share of federally-funded projects (this boundary will go into effect beginning with the 113th Congress starting in 2013).
NOTE: The percents are estimates because they include a few people outside the border of Cincinnati. The city of Cincinnati’s border dissects many Census Tracts at its edge, so populations within these tracts were included in the number. Therefore, the percentage include everyone thats over 18 within Cincinnati, and also some folks in tracts split on the city line.