Monday, November 16, 2020

Rural-urban divide 'vivid as ever', rural Iowa editor writs

Art Cullen
Though Joe Biden flipped several red states blue in the recent election, "the rural-urban divide is vivid as ever," editor and co-owner Art Cullen writes for The Storm Lake Times, a twice-weekly paper in northwest Iowa.

Iowa stayed red, and pollsters may have some reasons why. Just before the election, one "found a big shift among independents who wanted a GOP Senate to provide a check on the 'socialists'," Cullen writes, though "running against socialism when Trump larded $60 billion in payments on agribusiness in the past two years for disasters of his own making seemed like a thin soup." 

Not to most. Rural residents who were "immersed in Fox News, Sinclair Broadcasting and Facebook lapped it up," Cullen writes. The propaganda, plus Republican efforts on the ground, resulted in a net gain of 20,000 more new registered voters for Republicans than for Democrats in Iowa. That "put a seemingly indelible red lock on what used to be a purple state," he writes, noting that the GOP gained seats on both sides of the state legislature. 

If the rural-urban divide "can’t be closed, the very idea of American democratic liberty remains challenged," Cullen writes. "There is a palpable resentment among those left behind from the economic coastal juggernauts that finds its expression in terrorist rubes from the sticks dressed in Hawaiian shirts planning to kidnap the governor of Michigan and execute her to start a civil war. . . . Joe Biden’s chief job of uniting the country starts on the Great Plains and Appalachia. It’s a tough sale, but Biden knows how from years of horse-trading in the Senate. Two ideas with appeal: renewable energy and agricultural conservation."

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