The divide "exposes fundamental problems for each party," Hook and Epstein write. "Republicans are the party of older, white Americans, many without college degrees, a demographic that is shrinking as a percentage of the population. Democrats are clustered in cities and suburbs, hampering their chances in rural districts."
|Screenshot of Wall Street Journal interactive chart|
In Wisconsin, Democrat Mark Evers ousted Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who had benefited from rural resentment, with an interesting mix of urban and suburban votes. The result was similar in Kansas, where Democrat Laura Kelly defeated Republican Kris Kobach. In Florida, where U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis beat Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, "the pattern of Republican support climbing as counties become more rural was apparent," the Yonder notes.
In Iowa, a quintessential swing state, former prosecutor Rob Sand "said Democrats can’t expect to win in Iowa or nationally if they don’t figure out a way to compete in rural areas," the Journal reports. "His campaign for state auditor emphasized cultural issues. He talked about his first job catching chickens on a farm and printed campaign banners attached to trophy deer mounts." He won.