Rural rage is a feature of American politics these days. But it's not limited to the United States. In Canada, we are experiencing the same phenomenon. Paul Krugman writes:
The ostensible justifications for rural resentment don’t withstand scrutiny — but that doesn’t mean things are fine. A changing economy has increasingly favored metropolitan areas with large college-educated work forces over small towns. The rural working-age population has been declining, leaving seniors behind. Rural men in their prime working years are much more likely than their metropolitan counterparts to not be working. Rural woes are real.
The problem is that the party rural voters support does not champion their interests:
The policy agenda of the party most rural voters support would make things even worse, slashing the safety-net programs these voters depend on. And Democrats shouldn’t be afraid to point this out.
But can they also have a positive agenda for rural renewal? As The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent recently pointed out, the infrastructure spending bills enacted under President Biden, while primarily intended to address climate change, will also create large numbers of blue-collar jobs in rural areas and small cities. They are, in practice, a form of the “place-based industrial policy” some economists have urged to fight America’s growing geographic disparities.
The economic forces that have been hollowing out rural America are deep and not easily countered. But it’s certainly worth trying.
But even if these policies improve rural fortunes, will Democrats get any credit? It’s easy to be cynical. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the new governor of Arkansas, has pledged to get the “bureaucratic tyrants” of Washington “out of your wallets”; in 2019 the federal government spent almost twice as much in Arkansas as it collected in taxes, de facto providing the average Arkansas resident with $5,500 in aid. So even if Democratic policies greatly improve rural lives, will rural voters notice?
These days, misinformation rules the roost. Until that is dealt with, the rage will continue.
Image: The Toronto Star
"A changing economy has increasingly favored metropolitan areas with large college-educated work forces over small towns".
I don't see any change here and to speculate that there is a change in a rural/ metropolitan shift is inconclusive. I have lived in the 905/705 corridor most of my life and as a Social Liberal have always found myself surrounded by right wing Cons, educated or otherwise. Even after the collapse of the Harper regime my elected leaders have been "True Blue". Even in my temporary residence here in rural Illinois I am surrounded by a sea of red(Republcons) where as the city of Chicago carries the day with their "Blue(Dems) capturing the electorate.
I would like to add that there is a difference in attitudes between rural and metropolitan that I will never understand. Where I have my cottage in the 705 we are often called "citiots" by the locals despite the fact that our (citiots) exorbitant property taxes pay for ice hockey rinks, schools and libraries that enhance their day to day lives. I think the resentment, changing or not is the thing that we need to overcome and this attitude , here in Illinois, of voting for the party "my Granpappy voted for" has to be the real change.
A friend of mine says that Americans view their political parties the way they view sports teams, zoombats. Thus, once a Maple Leafs fan always a Maple Leafs fan -- regardless of their performance.
Interestingly, Owen, that during these last midterms people were lined up for hours before they could vote. Why? It is because you have to show proof of belonging to either the Dems or the Repugs before as an American, you can vote.
I knew that was the case in the early days and was still happening in the 1930's when I did some genealogy research into US census records, but had no idea that this was still a rule.
Some democracy, huh!
The taxes collected in the cities subsidize rural infrastructure and services, yet rural residents believe it's the other way around. Part of the reason for this belief is that property taxes tend to be higher in rural areas. But property taxes don't go to the province and aren't shared around.
So yeah, I get a bargain on property taxes in TO, and as a result get increasingly shitty city services (but lots more cops). That really ought to change, but we keep electing conservative leaders in the pocket of wealthy property developers - just like the rural voters do at the provincial level, see e.g. Doug Ford. When will we ever learn?
Wise people ask hard questions, Lulymay. Lots of people aren't wise.
That was Pete Seegar's question, Cap. He concluded that there was no evidence to support a positive conclusion.
Note the very rural language to describe what is happening ...
and also rural language with a touch of biblical thrown in ...
"you reap what you sew"
Just one of the many things that is killing Canada is the long-term structural inequality of vote weighting. Rural votes are approximately twice as powerful as urban votes.
If you need to know how much credit the Dems will get for Biden’s policies helping out rural, Red-state economies, look no further than what Danielle Smith and the rest of the Conservative commentariat is doing to “Just Transition”. A program to literally transfer billions of federal dollars to Alberta to assist oil and gas workers whose future employment prospects are fading in the face of global market forces shifting away from their products, is instead framed as an attack on those very workers and more proof that the Liberals hate Alberta and its people. And sadly, there is no explaining to the folks who are buying that framing that they are literally 180 degrees wrong about who is willing to help them and who is selling them out.
Someone explained it as “Sadopopulism”. You promise people things, but just ignore them once you get power and instead deliberately make their suffering even worse. And because you keep blaming their problems on other people, their continued and increased rage at their suffering becomes an even greater resource for keeping you in power. It would be nice to think it won't work forever, but it sure seems to have some pretty serious legs so far.
What makes the difference is not the geographical size of the riding but the number of voters within it, PoV.
And there are politicians -- like Smith -- who know how to exploit that rage, B.J.
"What makes the difference is not the geographical size of the riding but the number of voters within it, PoV."
exactly right ....
The geographically large but sparely populated rural ridings have way fewer voters than urban ridings. Both at the provincial legislature level and federally. Hence the rural voter has 1.5 to 2 times the voter weight of the urban voter and (esp. under FPTP) the result is simply a cluster-f**k of skewed outcomes.
That vote also tends to skew Conservative, PoV. With their focus on smaller government, the Conservatives cut programs that serve rural voters.
If people believe H.Saunders and her lie of getting the federal government out of people in the states wallet, they need to learn to read and then do it. Saunders has no control over federal taxation so how does she plan to do that or is annoucing she is running for the Republican party to be President?
There is a huge divide in the U.S.A. between rural and urban. Health care is worse in rural areas. Because there is no real money to be made in small rural hsopitals corporations don't open them in rural areas. If companies don't make enough money from hospitals they close them. Now we in B.C. and elsewhere may complain about health care in rural areas but in the U.S.A. its much worse. The additional problem in rural america is that corporate agricultture has taken over family farms. If farmers still retain their land they work for the rate the Argi corp dictates. Given farmers can't make a decent living, they have a very high suicide rate in the U.S.A.
Alberta conservatives, what ever they call themselves have always blamed the federal governmentt for everything which is wrong wih their lives. It works so we can't expect them to change. Our taxpayer dollars ought not to be used to prop up foreign oil companies. People may say we need the jobs, but given how much money is given to these corporations it might just be cheaper to send the workers a $5K cheque each money and be done with it. Who knows they might start reading something educational in their spare time
In long run, e.a.f, the oil business doesn't have much of a future.
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