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The Democrats' Alienation of Small Town America

Melissa Cranmer

Posted on November 6, 2020 20:23

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2020 was going to be a turning point for democrats. White House approval ratings were in decline. Republican leaders were throwing their weight behind Biden. The economy had taken a nosedive. It would be a landslide victory.

But just like 2016, they were wrong.

The electoral map of 2020 looks much like 2016. States light up either "red" or "blue," but no state is solidly one color. In Washington, for example, the blue is clustered in large, urban areas. Geographically speaking, most of the state is actually red. These red areas are in America's small, rural towns.

Urban and rural demographics are not alike. Cities have more people, more diversity, more educational access, and more job opportunities. Some jobs pay poorly, but there are more high paying ones and more opportunity for advancement. These jobs usually require a degree, so cities have higher numbers of college graduates.

Rural areas look different. Farming, mining, and manufacturing are some of the biggest producers. A smaller tax base means less investment in infrastructure. Residents have less access to education, healthcare, and job opportunities. Most jobs don't require a college education, and for many, college is not even an option.

Democrats have largely built their platform on environmental responsibility, labor unions, equal opportunity, and consumer protections. These are all worthy causes, but they offer little benefit to rural communities, instead of jeopardizing their ability to make a living. Rather than partner with these communities, develop mutually beneficial solutions, or recognize the unique needs of rural towns, democrats engage in sanctimonious grandstanding. Snobbery is a turnoff no matter what your political affiliation and liberals have perfected a brand of elitism that conservatives deeply resent.

The irony here is that rural Americans are the people making the urbanite lifestyle possible. The food urbanites eat, the products they enjoy, the vast quantities of energy they consume but cannot produce for themselves - are all generated by rural towns. But there is little appreciation: The food is not organic enough, products are too expensive, the energy is not clean enough. They sit in comfortable offices, drinking Starbucks, wearing organic clothes that cost more than some families of four spend on food for a month. And they point their fingers and vilify vast swaths of the country that they know little to nothing about.

This is oversimplified, of course. Not all liberals think and behave this way, and not all of them are wealthy urbanites. Republicans have their own brand of equally infuriating elitism and snobbery. There is vast room for improvement among both parties.

I'm certain the Trump family has no comprehension of the challenges felt by farmers, the dangerous risks faced by miners, the plight of the working poor, or the limitations confronting many rural Americans. But when Trump speaks to them, he speaks plainly. He doesn't scold them, blame them, or talk down to them. He doesn't vilify them for their culture, their views, or their way of life. Instead, he tells them they are the smartest, best-looking people in the country. Democrats can say what they want about Trump, but he clearly has made a connection.

Democrats may win this election, but until they've reconciled with rural America, it won't truly be a victory.

Melissa Cranmer

Posted on November 6, 2020 20:23

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Source: The Hill
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