Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Trump's 'Make America great again' resonates loudly, clearly in rural areas that feel left behind

Residents in some rural areas, particularly ones hurt by an economic downturn, may not be sure Donald Trump is the answer, but his slogan "Make America Great Again" hits close to home, Kevin Hardy reports for USA Today. Rural areas could decide battleground states such as Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Wisconsin, states where rural residents make up more than 30 percent of voters.

Residents in some rural towns, such as Creston, Iowa (Best Places map), are desperate for a change to fix their local economies, and think Trump is their best bet, Hardy writes. Sharon Hower, a retired resident of Creston, told Hardy, “I don’t know what he can do, but I’d like to give him a chance to see. We’re on a downhill slide and anything he could do would be an improvement.”

Hardy writes: "Such attitudes, experts say, should come as no surprise. Because if people in any place yearn to be made great again, it’s in rural America. Clinton has promised to build on the achievements of the Obama era, offering policy recommendations to improve health care, the economy and taxes. Trump, on the other hand, paints a darker picture of a limping nation in need of more radical change. That’s a message that seems tailor-made for rural America."

Wayne Steger, a political science professor at DePaul University in Chicago, who researches the American presidency, told Hardy, “These communities are nowhere near as vibrant as they were 50 years ago. And they’re older. That message is absolutely is going to resonate. And Donald Trump a little more so because he is anti-establishment.”

Hardy writes, "In small towns throughout the heartland, people reminisce about better days. Days when downtown storefronts were occupied and humming. While the rural landscape has been changing for decades, many people sense a fresh set of threats. Facing dwindling dollars and students, community schools continue to close and consolidate. Good-paying manufacturing jobs have vanished amid a wave of globalization and automation."

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