How to Save Your Community From Leftism
The Eagle mayor has a blueprint for long-term conservatism
Why are big cities always dominated by Democrats? What is it about cities that makes them centers of left-wing power? It wasn’t always this way. A century ago, cities were Republican strongholds. What changed? And, more importantly, how do we keep that from happening in our growing communities?
In 2019, the citizens of Eagle took back their city from leftists and socialists who had begun following in the footsteps of Boise, Portland, and San Francisco. In 2023, it is up to them to hold that ground.
It won’t be easy. The former mayor and his friends have been waging constant rhetorical warfare against Mayor Jason Pierce and the city council for four years. They created PACs, 501c3s, and even launched a futile recall campaign. They have criticized literally everything that Pierce and the council have done, no matter the facts. I’m convinced that Mayor Stan Ridgeway and his friends urged Council President Brad Pike to run against Pierce, but then Ridgeway himself filed his own candidacy, most likely hoping to split the vote and trigger a runoff.
Clearly they are pulling out all the stops to defeat Eagle’s mayor.
Why is there such intense opposition?
I believe it is because Jason Pierce has cracked the code of how cities turn blue, and is working to stop that process in Eagle — even to reverse it.
Before looking at Eagle, let us take a look at how some of the other cities in the Treasure Valley are managing the record growth of the past few years.
Boise is speedrunning the road to decline already trodden by Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco. In their left-wing delusions, they have decided that ideas like safety, traffic, and cleanliness are nonsense, and that the real issues are climate change, affordable housing, and handouts to LGBTQ+ and minority ethnic groups.
The city of Boise recently wasted more than $100,000 dollars — taxpayer dollars — on an investigation into alleged racism in the Boise Police Department. The reason? A former officer once anonymously wrote about crime statistics at American Renaissance. It also proved a sufficient distraction from the city’s mishandling of former BPD Chief Ryan Lee’s ignominious exit.
Boise also recently approved the so-called upzone plan, redefining zoning rules to allow for more high-density housing in formerly suburban neighborhoods. The stated goal is to allow more flexibility, but the result is likely to be an ever-more crowded city, driving out those who prefer to live in single-family homes with backyards big enough for children to play.
Blogger Steve Sailer noticed nearly twenty years ago that the biggest difference between red areas and blue areas is in how much room there is to grow. Cities that are hemmed in by natural features, such as how Seattle is squished between Elliott Bay and Lake Washington, tend to grow upward — more high rise apartment buildings, more high density growth, more need for social services. This sort of city generally attracts young professionals and welfare dependents, both of whom tend to vote Democrat.
Cities with more room are often (though decreasingly so) more conservative, as there is room for the suburban neighborhoods that families with children prefer. These people tend to vote Republican. Sailer called it the “dirt gap” and suggested it was a bigger predictor of political leaning than sex, race, college, income, or any other identifier.
I think that leftists like Mayor Lauren McLean are aware of this, at least at a subconscious level. They know that high density apartments and so-called affordable housing attract citizens who will continue to vote for their policies, and so they promote them. Honestly, that’s rational behavior. The purpose of politics is to achieve power within our system so you can implement your preferred policies to shape society as you see fit. McLean and her ilk are acting according to that principle. The question is, why doesn’t our side do the same thing?
I recently saw a study which found that single women are one of the most loyal voting blocs for Democrats. Democrats know this, which is why they favor policies that favor single women, such as expansive welfare, WIC, free college, abortion, and more. Where are the Republican policies to encourage marriage and family formation? We’re fighting this culture war with both hands tied behind our backs.
To that point, Meridian Mayor Robert Simison is either a leftist plant or a naive stooge. Like McLean, he has allowed a tremendous amount of high density growth —you can’t turn a corner in Meridian without seeing another strip mall or apartment building going up. Yet Simison claims to be a Republican. What does that even mean? He’s attracting the same kind of electorate as McLean, despite supposedly having opposite politics. The result will be the same as well. Meridian today is Boise twenty years ago.
After seeing Simison speak and reading about the way he manages his city, I suspect he doesn’t have strong feelings one way or another regarding politics. He was happy to sign a proclamation honoring Boise Pride Fest last year, apparently not realizing some of his constituents would disapprove of child drag shows. He encouraged the persecution of Sara Brady for taking her children to a public park during the Covid lockdowns, despite the easy political capital that could have been generated by giving her pardon.
The problem with lawmakers without strong political principles is that they are easily pushed leftward by the prevailing culture. Developers waltz in with big checkbooks offering to build high rise apartments that will generate significant impact fees and taxes, while left-wing interest groups demand more affordable housing and social services, so everybody wins, right? The idea of crafting municipal policy with the aim of maintaining a certain political balance might be distasteful, but the cause and effect of more density pushing the electorate leftward is lost on them. That is why Meridian is turning blue, and why concerned parents were unable to make any headway in removing obscene materials from city libraries.
Which brings us to Eagle. Whereas Boise has more than 230,000 residents, and Meridian about 125,000, Eagle only recently crossed 30,000. Yet we are growing fast. Three huge apartment complexes approved during the previous mayoral administration are still under construction, and numerous subdivisions of single family homes are being built throughout the city. There are entire neighborhoods that seem to be composed of California expats. The mayor and council approved the annexation of Avimor earlier this year, which had long been in Eagle’s area of impact. The stage is set for this city to grow three or even fourfold in the next half century.
How do you manage such growth, manage all the people who want to come live in our city, without falling prey to the same demographic forces that have turned Boise deep blue and are doing the same to Meridian?
I believe that Jason Pierce has figured this out. His first term as mayor was focused on creating room for the city to grow in such a way that attracts conservative families rather than high density growth at any cost. No new apartment complexes have been approved during his tenure, and new construction has been carefully negotiated to blend in to the existing city. He worked with PetIQ to sponsor an off-leash dog park as part of the agreement to build a new corporate headquarters south of the highway. His plan to use city resources to build commercial and residential fiber broadband should be a boon for small businesses and families that want to live in Eagle.
Moving the old church to a spot between the library and city hall was genius. Combined with the new community center in the city hall expansion, Eagle now has a vibrant civic center in the middle of town.
Annexing Avimor might be the most important thing that happened during the last four years. Contrary to the claims of Democrat operatives and local malcontents, bringing Avimor into the city of Eagle ensures smart and measured growth for the next century. Avimor is a vast area northeast of Eagle that encompasses three different counties, which was going to grow no matter what happened this year. Imagine how many high rise apartment complexes you could fit in Avimor! By bringing them into Eagle, the existing residents are ensured a voice in how they grow.
Had annexation failed, then Avimor would have instead negotiated with the three counties — Gem, Boise, and Ada — which likely would have allowed much higher density. Or they might simply have incorporated themselves and done what they wanted. As it stands now, new construction in Avimor is going to be much lower density than anywhere else in the region.
Why does this matter? Go back to Sailer’s dirt gap theory. If you’re a young conservative family, looking for a place to call your own, a nice yard for your children to enjoy, with lovely views and space between you and your neighbors, are you going to go to Boise, Meridian, or Eagle?
Obviously cost of living and inflation are issues, but those affect everyone everywhere. Everything that Eagle is doing right now makes it a very attractive place for conservative families, and that means a strong core of engaged citizens and voters for decades to come.
Many conservatives, such as Council President Brad Pike, might have the best of intentions, but they simply don’t understand what time it is. They think that if they keep taxes and regulations reasonably low, everything else will take care of itself. Unfortunately, as we see in Meridian, that is simply not true. The left has been on the offensive for decades, so simply sitting back and passively governing is a recipe for disaster.
Jason Pierce gets it. He has a vision for what Eagle will be in ten, twenty, fifty, even one hundred years. He understands that our actions today will echo through the generations, and he is not content to passively ride out his term doing as little as possible. This means he will sometimes make mistakes, and will definitely rub some people the wrong way, but the alternative is someone who simply shows up at ribbon cuttings while letting his community go blue.
Rather than simply looking ahead to the next election, Jason Pierce is looking ahead to the next century, working to ensure that Eagle remains Eagle for his grandchildren and ours. Everything an elected executive does will annoy a small percentage of citizens. Some leaders act out of fear, doing as little as possible to avoid controversy. On the other hand, Jason Pierce has done the exact opposite —he does what he believes is right and lets the chips fall as they may. This is exactly the attitude we want in our elected leaders, so by rewarding it we encourage more people to act in that way.
It would be easier to simply do what the loudest citizens demand. A small handful of leftists have been outspoken in their opposition to everything the mayor and council have done, complaining that they’re not being listened to. But in our republican system of government, it’s the voters who direct policy, not a small group of citizens who have the time and energy to post all day on Facebook and Nextdoor.
There is no reason that we cannot save similar communities throughout Idaho and our nation. Why is Coeur d’Alene led by leftists when that region of Idaho is so conservative? Why is Meridian turning into Boise 2.0 despite such a solid conservative core? It’s because too many Republican leaders are thinking only of the next term, rather than the next century, and voters don’t realize there are other options. We must demand local leaders who understand what time it is.