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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Roots of Rural Resentment

In Defying the Odds, we talk about the social and economic divides that enabled Trump to enter the White House. In Divided We Stand, we discuss how these divides played out in 2020.  

Democrats have paid a steep price for their withdrawal from rural America.

Lloyd Green at The Guardian:
The fact is, residents of Republican-run states are more than 20% more likely to join the military and after Iraq and the great recession, the disconnect between white rural America and coastal and cognitive elites swiftly became a chasm.

In 2016, parts of the US that felt the effects of the 9/11 wars more as reality than abstract moved to the Republican column. According to Douglas Kriner of Boston University and Francis Shen of the University of Minnesota, “Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan could very well have been winners for [Hillary] Clinton if their war casualties were lower.”

Wisconsin is the 20th-most rural state. A quarter of Michigan is rural. Pennsylvania has been characterized as Philadelphia in the east, Pittsburgh in the west and Alabama in the middle. As Trump prepares for his rematch with Joe Biden, all three states are toss-ups.

Schaller and Waldman also downplay the impact in rural areas of Democratic messaging on hot-button issues such as crime. It’s no longer just “the economy, stupid”. Culture wars pack an outsized punch. Outside New England, white rural Democrats are a relative rarity.

Inexplicably, Schaller and Waldman do not examine the case of Jon Tester, the three-term Democratic senator from deep-red, highly rural Montana who faces a stern fight to keep his seat this year. In 2020, in the aftermath of widespread protests for racial justice after the murder of George Floyd, a Black man, by a white Minneapolis officer, but also rioting and looting, Tester criticized his party.

See state data on the cost of post-9/11 wars. 

From CDC:

Drug overdoses are the leading cause of injury death in the United States, resulting in approximately 52,000 deaths in 2015. Rates of drug overdose deaths are rising in rural areas, surpassing rates in urban areas. Although the percentage of people reporting illicit drug use is lower in rural areas, the effects of use appear to be higher. The percentage of people with drug use disorders among those reporting past-year illicit drug use in rural areas was similar to that in urban areas.

Most overdose deaths occurred in homes, where rescue efforts may fall to relatives who have limited knowledge of or access to naloxone and overdose follow-up care. Understanding differences in illicit drug use, illicit drug use disorders, and drug overdose deaths in urban and rural areas can help public health professionals to identify, monitor, and prioritize responses