As a card carrying member of the urbanist party, I couldn't help zooming in on this bit of analysis from today's NYT pre-primary night coverage:

Will any city vote for Sanders?

Mrs. Clinton’s greatest strength in the primary has been her support from black and Hispanic voters, partisan Democrats and older women of all backgrounds. These groups are often most powerful in big cities, and Mrs. Clinton’s winning record has often correlated with the strength of the urban vote: She won Illinois thanks to Chicago and Nevada thanks to Las Vegas, and took New York by 15 points thanks to New York City.

If she keeps up that streak in Baltimore, Bridgeport, Philadelphia and elsewhere on Tuesday, Mr. Sanders could wind up getting crushed. His best shot at avoiding a shutout might be Rhode Island, with Providence and its sizable student population as a lifeline.

I'd add to Clinton's win list: Cleveland and St. Louis (Ferguson), which helped put Midwest bellwethers such as Ohio and Missouri—that you might think would go for Sanders—into Clinton's column. Meanwhile, Atlanta, Boston, and Miami also went for Clinton, delivering Georgia, Massachusetts, and Florida for the former secretary of state.

Big cities—I'm looking at cities with populations above 300,000—are Democratic strongholds; and pro urbanist policies such as sustainable land use planning, workplace civil rights regs, big transit investments, and pro-arts budgets are quickly becoming part of the Democratic party platform.

So, what to make of Seattle's 2016 election season numbers? Seattle, after all, isn't in line with the pro-Clinton urban vote.

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Sanders in Seattle

Image: Josh Kelety

In the seven Legislative Districts that make up Seattle (including part of the 32nd LD), Sanders won 68.7 percent of the delegates versus Clinton's 31.2 percent; in raw numbers, Sanders beat Clinton by nearly 100 delegates, 180 to 82. Seattle helped Sanders to a landslide caucus victory in Washington state in March.

Joining Seattle, sister Sanders cities like Austin, Texas, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Denver, Colorado also went for Sanders. (Bigger lone star state cities such as Houston and San Antonio with populations at two and one million respectively, went for Clinton, by the way, which kept Texas in Clinton's column. Austin is at about 900,000.)

The difference between Seattle, and its like-minded Sanders sister cities, versus the pro-Clinton cities isn't neatly parsed. And the caucus—only six percent of Washington voters participated—versus primary scenario, is certainly a big factor.

But here are some other differences between Clinton cities and Sanders cities.

First of all, Clinton cities like Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Miami, and Houston have much larger African American and Latino populations than Seattle and the other cities in the Sanders bloc. Clinton cities such as Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Miami, New York City, and St. Louis, all have combined African American and Latino populations that make up more than 50 percent of the city, according to the most recent U.S. census data at 60, 62, 63, 67, 73, 54, and 52 respectively. (Boston's combined African American and Latino population is the exception on Clinton's list at 43 percent. But they, unlike the Sanders' cities, are overall a majority minority city with a white population—excluding Latinos—at 46 percent.)

As for the pro-Sanders' cities, all the African American plus Latino populations are below 50 percent; Seattle has the lowest African American and Latino population of all those cities at 15.5 percent versus a 66.3 percent white (non-Latino) population. The only city on the Sanders list that doesn't have a majority white population is Austin, which is at 48.7 percent white.

Another difference: 20-somethings have the edge in the Sanders cities; 23 percent Minneapolis' population, for example, is between 20 and 29 years old. Seattle is at 20 percent. By way of comparison: Chicago is at 18.9 percent 20-somethings and New York City is at 17 percent 20-somethings. 

As noted in the NYT analysis above—these age and race demographics, breaking along the Clinton/Sanders divide, are pretty well known.

But trying to get a bead on the urbanist aspect (diversity and youth are key components of, there's a bit of a wash there), the number of non-car commuters and density counts may be the two best metrics when assessing a city sensibility.

Of the top 20 cities with the highest percentage of non-car commuters (that have voted so far), the Clinton cities have the edge with seven in the Clinton column and four in the Sanders column.

The highest ranked transit commute cities (that have voted so far) are all on the Clinton list, including New York City at number one, Boston at number three, and Chicago at number six. (New York City is off the charts at 67 percent; Seattle, the highest ranked Sanders city on the list, was at about 34 percent, and with the recent spike in bus riders, that rank is surely rising.)

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As for density: There are four Clinton cities on the top ten list of big cities ranked by people per square mile. They are New York City (at the densest with 28,000 people per square mile), Miami, Boston, and Chicago.

There's just one Sanders' city on the list...coming in 10th place...Seattle.  

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