Joe Williams reports this week in U.S. News & World Report under the headline, "Penthouse Populist: Why the rural poor love Donald Trump." Williams explores and tries to explain why the rural poor are attracted to Trump--or, just as tellingly or saliently--why they do not care for Hillary Clinton:
Drive an hour or two outside of any major U.S. city, however – Washington, D.C., for example – and campaign signs for Trump dominate the countryside: nestled in soybean fields and thick woods; beside two-lane highways and shotgun houses.Interestingly, just as Williams is pondering this question for U.S. News, I see that Arlie Hochschild has just published a book called Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right. This title is telling because it suggests--perhaps accurately--that the conservative Tea Party types Hochschild went to Louisiana to interview--and whose lives and opinions are the core of the book--have become the "strangers" in the United States, that they are no longer the default norm they were once seen as being. More on Hochschild's book another day.
Support for Clinton is hard to find, if it exists at all.
"I guess I want to say it's not terribly surprising," says Lisa Pruitt, a faculty member at the Center for Poverty Research at the University California-Davis. "I would say it's not terribly unusual."
That's because, despite a strong grasp on rural poverty issues and more than a decade in the Ozarks, Clinton is an intellectual Democratic politician – anathema to God-fearing, gun-loving people in places like the Central Plains or down-east Maine. Voters in the American hinterlands don't much like where her party stands on hot-button issues like same-sex marriage, civil rights and abortion, and believe she's among the political elites who constantly look down on them.