Last night’s presidential debate drew a large television audience. According to the ratings service, more than 57 million people skipped the Phillies/Dodgers game and other programming to watch two articulate senators discuss a wide range of issues. St. Louis viewers (along with those in Baltimore and Washington, DC) led the nation in tuning in to the debate. (St. Louis also topped the charts in earlier debates.)
I suspect that we are following these debates so closely because we understand that maintaining and continuing the gains our City has made in the past several years depends very much on which candidate sits in the Oval Office for the next four years. As a city that is older, younger, richer, poorer, and more diverse than many others — and as a city that needs strong federal policies and support for jobs creation and training, education, health care, transportation, infrastructure repair, and public safety — it matters quite a lot to us which candidate is elected and begins to reshape public policy.
I strongly believe that the election of Barack Obama, whose policies are pro-urban, will be better for cities like ours.