Debate again ignores urban issues

by David Alpert

Listen to the national candidates talk, and you’d think American cities don’t exist; there is no form of transportation other than driving. A number of bloggers have pointed out how last night’s debate, like its predecessor, conspicuously didn’t talk about cities.

At Next American City, Matt Bevilacqua writes:

Neither candidate uttered the word “city.” At all. Go ahead, check this debate transcript from ABC News. …

Urban advocates have raised this complaint many times before: During national campaigns, when pundits and politicos are bickering over everything from reproductive health to drilling for oil to the debt ceiling, issues specifically related to cities get the short shrift.

Republicans hardly ever talk about urban America anymore. … Though this year’s Democratic National Convention had a roster full of big-city mayors, their time in the spotlight largely yielded only sentimental personal narratives—not much about what they do to make cities function daily, and not much about the needs of the people they serve.

It’s not like there weren’t moments last night when either candidate could have, at least in passing, addressed the concerns of the country’s urban-dwellers. … [D]uring the discussion on economic growth, Obama could have turned to the Partnership for Sustainable Communities to defend his record. Established during his first term, the partnership has done wonders for economic development in urban neighborhoods.