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Rural Trump voters are in for a crushing reality check

by Dan Burns on April 4, 2017 · 1 comment

Shovel-WeathervaneI’m well aware that not all rural voters went for Trump, any more than all urbanites didn’t. Nor are all city dwellers all politically knowledgeable and sophisticated, while all country folks aren’t. I shouldn’t have to note that, but such assumptions seem implicit in too much online discussion of rural issues in politics, including on the progressive left. Anyway:

The people in rural areas who voted for President Trump in droves have much at stake in his proposed budget.
Trump’s budget plan cuts a wide range of federal funding sources, including a water and sewer program that provided more than $200 million to greater Minnesota communities over the last five years.

There’s another, more in-depth article, also on MPR, from about a month ago, looking at some of what’s behind Wisconsin having gone for Trump. It’s well worth a click and read (frustrating though parts of it are), if you’re into this stuff.

Across town, Robbo Coleman leaned over the bar he tends and described a similar political about-face. He held up an ink pen, wrapped in plastic stamped “Made in China.”
“I don’t see why we can’t make pens in Prairie du Chien or in Louisville, Kentucky, or in Alabama or wherever,” said Coleman. “Trump brought something to the table that I haven’t heard or seen before. And if it doesn’t turn out, then, hey, at least we tried.”

Uh, yeah.
A far more substantive factor in what’s been going on in rural Wisconsin is the state having turned over its governance to worthless, corrupt Tea Party extremists in 2010, and not having corrected that since. The last time a lot of people were looking at Wisconsin was 2015, because of Gov. Scott Walker’s much-hyped but short-lived presidential run. But a search for 2016 shows that it still sucks, by the standards of the Upper Midwest, especially when it comes to the sorts of small business start-ups that would be key to any real rural economic renewal.
Voters in rural Wisconsin put right-wingers in charge in 2010, and that’s the biggest reason they’re “left behind.” In Minnesota, promising policy trends from 2013-14 largely ended when Minnesota outstate voters (and urban/suburban non-voters) gave the GOP control of the MN House and, now, the Senate. And in the worst kind of irony, who did country dwellers in both states vote for, for U.S. President in 2016, looking for change for the better? It truly sucks, but there it is.

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