On Unity: Democrats and Republicans  Unite?  What we learned from last week’s Municipal Panel  

David Holt

From Mayor David Holt

"Mayors and councilmen in most cities know that we get to face all the voters. We don't have to face a subset of the voters, and it just totally changes the way that we approach the job because we can build a coalition of normal, reasonable people that happen to be registered Republican and happen to be registered Democratic."

- Mayor David Holt 

Friends and fellow citizens,  

Last week, election nights in Virginia and New Jersey dominated national news coverage as Republicans saw major gains in both states. The urban-rural divide persisted in these elections, with the suburbs continuing to be a political battleground. We must continue to try and understand our fellow citizens, whether they live in a town with less than 500 people or a city with more than 100,000 people. Additionally, we saw how dysfunction in Congress can be perceived to have down-ballot consequences; losing Democrats asserted that their party's inability to pass major funding bills contributed to their losses. 

In seven cities, moderates were elected, and extremism was rejected. These developments align with the focus of our most recent panel, "Getting Things Done at the Municipal Level," which discussed why local governments are able to accomplish so much while state and federal legislators struggle to keep up. What lessons can local officials offer to their state and federal counterparts to make progress and stop partisan bickering? 

Our panelists, Mayor David Holt and Mitchell Weiss, as well as moderator Bill Purcell, former mayor of Nashville, shared some excellent advice. For example, how can very purple Oklahoma City support massive public investment by over 70 percent? How could Mayor David Holt win his election with a strong majority when the city is split nearly down the middle with Biden and Trump voters?  

We invite you to watch the panel to learn more! We'll also be posting updates to our newly formed social channels-FacebookInstagramLinkedIn and Twitter 


Gray Sasser  

Executive Director  
The Vanderbilt Project on Unity and American Democracy