What’s needed here is not ad-hoc coalitions along single-issue lines, which is what we’ve had until now: a group of mayors against guns here, a livable-streets group there, a green group, a gay-rights group, and so on. Indeed, what’s needed isn’t more progressive mayors—the world is quite good at electing those. Rather, it’s a political movement, a brand—some kind of organization which could endorse candidates for local office at levels many layers down from mayor.
Read the whole thing. Pointer from Richard Florida.
I think that there is a general misfit between our political institutions and the direction of technology. Our institutions are still in the middle of the twentieth century, centralizing power, putting more and more resources into the same number of political hands. See my essay on the wealth controlled by politicians, reprinted here. Meanwhile, the rest of society is in the 21st century, featuring what Chris Anderson calls The Long Tail (I just finished Kindling the book. Much of its message seeped out before and after the book appeared, but it's still worth reading.)
Salmon is correct to suggest that urban voters are not well served by the current institutional setup. Perhaps a "horizontal network" of urban voters would have more in common than a territorial entity that embeds a city inside a province or a nation-state. But to me that is an argument against giving territorial monopolies to government units, and my guess is that Salmon didn't mean to go there.
As an aside, I would say that one group of voters is served very well by the current institutional setup. That is the public employee unions.