😎 Happy Wednesday! Today's Smart Brevity count: 1,497 words ... 5½ minutes.
For all the talk of American cities undergoing a renaissance, economic success has been concentrated in a few standout metropolises while the rest struggle, Kim Hart writes for the debut issue of our new weekly newsletter, Axios Cities.
Why it matters: This winner-take-all dynamic has led to inequalities and rising tensions that are helping to drive politics off the rails:
The big picture: Modern cities wield more power on the global stage than ever before, simultaneously serving as tech testbeds, policy pioneers and economic experiments. But cities also sit at the crux of some deepening divides:
The widening urban-rural gap helps drive today's political polarization:
Struggling areas were key to President Trump's 2016 victory, and he has criticized some of the most successful U.S. cities — where voters largely rejected him — as decaying hubs for crime, homelessness and filth.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Many of the most viral stories about the Democratic race are by conservative media, Axios' Neal Rothschild writes from exclusive NewsWhip data.
What's going on: Over the past two weeks, most of the stories about the candidates leading our 2020 Attention Tracker — interactions on Twitter (retweets, likes) and Facebook (comments, shares) — came from conservatives.
For Biden, Harris, Booker and Castro, their top story came from the right.
President Trump's plans to stoke conservative grievances about social media are part of a larger strategy to fan the us-vs.-them theme of his 2020 campaign.
The big picture: The issue of tech companies being biased against conservatives is one of the hottest subjects among the Republican Party’s online base, Axios' Jonathan Swan tells me.
White House officials want the conservative "family" to push Silicon Valley to work on bias, transparency and fairness:
Why it matters for politics ... Trump is all-in on scaling grievance: capitalists vs. socialists; Christians vs. non-Christians; rural vs. cities; conservatives vs. social media.
Reality check from Axios' Scott Rosenberg and Ina Fried: Conservatives accurately view the workforces and culture at most large tech companies as lined up against them.
Per the mayor's office: "New York City has hosted 206 parades along the Canyon of Heroes since the first one in 1886 celebrating the dedication of the Statue of Liberty."
A senior administration official tells Axios' Jonathan Swan that an executive action forcing the citizenship question onto the 2020 census will "likely" come today.
President Trump defended Labor Secretary Alex Acosta yesterday for his plea deal with Jeffrey Epstein in a previous job, but Acosta doesn’t enjoy much goodwill at the White House, Axios' Jonathan Swan reports.
Senior officials, including acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, have been frustrated with Acosta for moving too slowly and softly on deregulation.
The bottom line: Acosta wasn’t standing on the firmest ground before the Epstein case exploded.
The Chicago Defender, an influential African-American paper for more than a century, will print its last issue today and switch to digital-only. (Chicago Tribune)
H. Ross Perot, who died yesterday at 89 at his home in Dallas, spiced his third-party presidential run in 1992 with quips like these, via AP:
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