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The University of Notre Dame, near South Bend. Photo: Don & Melinda Crawford/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images.

In the age of winner-take-all cities, big metros on the coasts are taking an outsized share of wealth, jobs and talent — but South Bend, Ind., is bucking that trend.

The big picture: "There are a lot of South Bends," says Max Brickman, founder of Heartland Ventures, a VC firm based in the Indiana city. It's one of several smaller midwestern cities that are using their history of expertise in industries like manufacturing and logistics to bring high-tech jobs in those fields to town.

  • "People are starting to look past smokestack chasing and look at the next phase of economic development," says Brickman.

What's happening:

  • A number of startups have recently either relocated to or opened secondary offices in South Bend, whose mayor, Pete Buttigieg, is running in the 2020 presidential race.
  • Heartland Ventures has itself brought four new tech employers to town. Their pitch to Silicon Valley companies working on emerging technologies in advanced manufacturing is that relocating to South Bend will put them closer to where things are actually being built, Brickman says.
  • Cook Political Report's Dave Wasserman notes that it's the least populous U.S. city to have a Whole Foods, Lululemon, Apple Store, Urban Outfitters and Pure Barre — all bastions of the urban millennial lifestyle.
  • The city is also helped by its status as a college town, as Axios' Kim Hart has reported. Notre Dame has propped up an "innovation hub" inside an abandoned Studebaker factory.

But, but, but: The city still has a yawning racial wealth gap, and median per capital income is less that $20,000 per year (compared to the national median of about $34,000 per year).

  • Like in many up-and-coming cities, the comeback in South Bend is still uneven — and it's benefitting just a small share of the population.

Go deeper: Pete Buttigieg's mayoral transition will come at the perfect time

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Special report: Trump's U.S.-China transformation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump began his term by launching the trade war with China he had promised on the campaign trail. By mid-2020, however, Trump was no longer the public face of China policy-making as he became increasingly consumed with domestic troubles, giving his top aides carte blanche to pursue a cascade of tough-on-China policies.

Why it matters: Trump alone did not reshape the China relationship. But his trade war shattered global norms, paving the way for administration officials to pursue policies that just a few years earlier would have been unthinkable.

McConnell: Trump "provoked" Capitol mob

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was "provoked by the president and other powerful people."

Why it matters: Trump was impeached by the House last week for "incitement of insurrection." McConnell has not said how he will vote in Trump's coming Senate impeachment trial, but sources told Axios' Mike Allen that the chances of him voting to convict are higher than 50%.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP leaders skip Trump sendoff in favor of church with Biden

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in July. Photo by Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images

Congressional leaders, including House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will skip President Trump's departure ceremony in Maryland tomorrow morning in favor of attending mass with incoming President Joe Biden ahead of his inauguration, congressional sources familiar with their plans tell Axios.

Why it matters: Their decision is a clear sign of unity before Biden takes the oath of office.