The most recent presidential election demonstrated that there is a deep divide between rural and urban communities based on political beliefs. Hillary Clinton had significant support from the large cities in America, and she did very poorly in rural areas especially in areas in the heartland of the nation. On the other hand, Donald Trump’s main areas of support were in areas outside of urban areas. He did well in rural areas and suburbs, and this allowed him to win the election.
After the election, the big cities that have a more liberal political identity attempted to pass city ordinances which expressed a more liberal agenda. Some cities enacted measures increasing the minimum wages. Some other cities tried to defy the new administration’s laws concerning immigration. Other cities have attempted to enact environmental legislation that bans plastic bags.
Cities are finding that in many instances that their efforts are being resisted and repealed by the more conservative state legislatures. In the American political system, there are levels of precedence in the law. Federal law supersedes state laws, and state laws supersede city ordinances.
There are a few examples. In the state of Arizona, a couple of the larger cities attempted to ban the toys that come in Happy Meals from McDonald’s. The idea was that the toys made the children want to go to that restaurant and therefore they would eat less nutritious meals. The state issued a law stating that cities could not ban these toys thus overturning city ordinances.
Another case in point is the state of Mississippi. Rural Mississippi is one of the most conservative areas in the United States. When some cities in Mississippi sought to regulate sugary soft drinks, state lawmakers stepped in and made it illegal for any city to place regulations on the soft drink industry.
Some of the greatest division between rural and urban communities has occurred over the issue of transgender rights. In some southern states, the major cities have passed transgender non-discrimination bills. The state legislatures and those in rural communities immediately passed legislation to overturn these transgender bills.
Over the next few years, there will continue to be a great divide between the more conservative rural areas which still make up the largest portion of some states, and the more liberal urban areas of states that want to implement a progressive agenda.