2020 and the Status Quo

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Essays from West of 98

In the 2016 election, and in the post-election national conversations, much was made of the importance of rural America and the rural vote in the outcome of the presidential election. For months afterwards, politicians, pundits, and prognosticators from all political stripes debated the importance of rural America. They opined that rural America had been “forgotten” and that we needed to repair frayed relationships between the distinctly rural, suburban, and urban segments of the country. For the most part, America’s talking class just talked. They used “rural America” to justify their pre-established opinions and determined that their pre-determined policy ideas were the perfect solution for whatever ills were troubling the rural folk.

I also saw pushback. Those with little appreciation for America’s formative history didn’t see the point of helping rural America. A column in the New York Times espoused the view that it might be too difficult, if not outright impossible, to “save” rural America.

The 2020 election is now drawing near and the talking classes continue to talk about rural America for 2020 just like they did in the post-mortem of 2016’s elections. As with 2016, I don’t really care what the talking class has to say, good or bad, about the future of rural America. Let’s be clear: many of these people are looking to fill airtime, fundraise for themselves, and accumulate their own power. “Saving” rural America is the vessel to their cause, not their cause.

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