04/03/2017

This Is The Next Democratic Stronghold To Crack Like The Rust Belt

Salena Zito, New York Post

WASHINGTON — Nigel works three jobs to make ends meet.

He is black, single, progressive politically and determined to live the American dream — “as long, of course, that it does not kill me first,” he said, navigating his cab through Capitol Hill traffic.

He moved here from California because of a woman but, “It didn’t work out.” Still, he stayed.

He lives on the fringes of poverty, in the economically challenged part of Washington within spitting distance of the railroad tracks that transport businesspeople to New York or Boston a couple of dozen times a day on the Acela Express.

The irony is not lost on Nigel. He understands, despite his economic struggles, that he literally lives along the Acela corridor, the famed connector of the highest concentration of the most elite people in America.

Nearly everyone getting on the Acela Express that day is either on their way up the ladder or, more than likely, already at the top; they are wealthy, successful, powerful, in the crosshairs or on the boards of what moves and shakes this country.

Yet, in Nigel’s neighborhood on the wrong side of North Capitol Street, prosperity and opportunity are not part of the narrative. He’s not envious, nor is he particularly interested in gentrification overtaking his neighborhood. “That’s just geography,” he said, explaining that it doesn’t solve the problem, just rearranges it.

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