Thursday, November 17, 2016

How Rural Resentment Helps Explain the Victory of Donald Trump

Charles Ommanney/The Washington Post
Making sense of this presidential election requires figuring out what happened in rural places across the country. This is especially true in the Upper Midwest, where there were sharp swings toward Donald Trump that helped produce surprising victories in states such as my home state of Wisconsin.
So what is going on here? A crucial part of the story is what I call “the politics of resentment” — a feature of the rural Midwest that has been brewing for years. It clearly anticipates what happened on the national stage in Tuesday’s election.
Since May 2007, I have been studying this resentment by inviting myself into the conversations of people in dozens of communities across Wisconsin. Groups of regulars in gas stations, diners, churches and other gathering spots have allowed me to listen as they visited with one another. The typical person in these groups was a white, older male, but not exclusively so.
I had not intended to study a rural-urban divide when I sampled the 27 places I had been visiting. But about a year into this project, one thing was inescapable: People in these small communities and rural places deeply resented the two main metropolitan areas of Madison, the state capital, and Milwaukee. I grew up on the northern edge of the Milwaukee metro region, but the depth and the intensity of this resentment surprised me.
Read the rest of this op-ed HERE.

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