Trump said that if he were elected, "He would renegotiate every U.S. trade deal ever signed to ensure Americans’ interests come first," the editorial notes. "It’s easy to see why rural voters bought this hokum. First of all, many either don’t understand or chose to ignore the fact that trade deals aren’t the culprit for the loss of jobs overseas. Increasing automation and globalization are why those jobs that were once the path to the middle class are gone—and why they’re not ever coming back."
"Secondly, rural voters are scared—and not just about their own economic future, but that of their kids and grandkids as well," says the editorial. "If someone who appears to be successful comes along and says, 'I can fix this thing that’s making your future so vulnerable,' you will probably believe him—particularly if you also agree with him about there being too many immigrants in the country and too much social and cultural change taking place. You are also likelier to overlook the serious character flaws in such a person—and vote to elect him president."
"Despite aggressively stumping in their communities and promising things he can’t deliver, the fate of small-town Americans is not among Trump’s top priorities," says the editorial. As evidence, it cites his vow to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, "a measure that’s been good for rural Americans because it’s allowed many of them, thanks to taxpayer-backed subsidies, to finally be able to purchase affordable health care insurance."