Monday, January 23, 2017

Why rural America elected a big-city billionaire

How did billionaire Donald Trump, who hails from the nation's largest city, win over rural America and get elected president, largely on his dominance in small towns?

Justin Fox
"City boy Trump was able to get this rural support mainly by harnessing discontent that is present almost everywhere but generally stronger the farther you get from a big, thriving metropolitan area," writes Bloomberg columnist Justin Fox. "There are lots of reasons for that discontent, but I can't help but focus on the economics. And . . . they really don't look good for rural and small-town America. All the trends that have been driving growth toward metropolitan areas—and wealth toward the heart of those metropolitan areas—look set to continue." 

"When Andrew Jackson—the historical president whose anti-establishment tone was probably most similar to Trump's—stormed into office in 1829 on a huge wave of Western and Southern support, he was also riding a huge wave of Western and Southern economic growth that continued throughout his eight years in the White House," Fox writes. "Trump more or less backed into office on a wave of support from areas that have been receding economically for years and will almost certainly continue to do so." (Associated Press map: Percentage-point change in vote margin from Mitt Romney in 2012 to Donald Trump in 2016)
"Different federal policies on mining and oil and gas drilling may provide a boost to parts of the West and Appalachia, which isn't nothing, but there doesn't seem to be anything else on the horizon that will suddenly shift growth away from metropolitan America and back toward the hinterlands," he writes.

"None of this is a political forecast. Politics has a habit of surprising people (like me) who focus on demographic and economic trends," he writes. "But demographic and economic trends also have a habit of thwarting the sometimes unrealistic yearnings of voters." (Read more)

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