‘Country folks can survive!’ | Why rural areas support Trump

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In the famous ballad by Hank Williams Jr., the ability to ‘run a troutline’ is extolled as one reason that a “Country Boy Can Survive.”

Editor’s note: We thank Crispin Sartwell of the Wall Street Journal and THE WEEK magazine for this news analysis.

BACKWOODS USA – Why do struggling rural Americans “vote against their own interests?” asks Crispin Sartwell of the Wall Street Journal.

Social-justice leftists have been asking this question for years, finding it unfathomable that “ignorant, manipulated rubes” in red states support Republicans like President Trump, instead of lining up behind Democrats who want to spend more money on food stamps, public housing, and other governmental assistance.


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Liberals blame this puzzling phenomenon on “sheer genetic redneck boneheadedness,” or on the manipulation of “malevolent forces” such as Fox News. The fundamental flaw in this analysis is the assumption that rural voters have only material – that is, monetary – interests.

It doesn’t occur to the Left that rural people might genuinely value self-reliance and self-respect, and distrust government programs that breed dependency and put decisions about their lives and local communities in the hands of “faraway bureaucrats.” Even if they are currently poor, many rural Americans have hope they will succeed.

Instead of telling these citizens what’s best for them, Democrats should ask “how they define their own interests.” If urban liberals can’t manage even that modicum of respect, they shouldn’t be surprised that rural people vote for their opponents.