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In the first of a series of video comments from viewers, Ann Morrison, who lives in rural Wisconsin, talks about why her neighbors vote for Republicans and Trump and against the Democratic Party.
Hi, I’m Paul Jay. Welcome to theAnalysis.news, and something new on theAnalysis.news. I got a letter recently from Ann Morrison who lives in rural Wisconsin. The letter was titled “Why should rural Wisconsinites vote for a party that holds them in contempt?” I thought it was so powerful I asked her to do a video explaining why she thought so many of her neighbors voted for Donald Trump, voted for Republicans in state elections, and no longer voted for the Democratic party.
Hi, my name is Ann Morrison, I live in rural Wisconsin, which has a population of about four thousand, and it’s in rural western Wisconsin, and I’m going to give my view as to why the Democrats and the left are not appealing to rural voters. I can only speak for Wisconsin so I’ll just tell you how I see our area. When I graduated from high school, 50 percent of my graduating class, which is one hundred and twenty people, lived on working dairy farms.
These were small farms, average acreage to one hundred average dairy herd, forty, and at that point in time, which is several decades ago, pre-farm crisis, the average income in this county was the national mean of the whole United States. In one generation, that average income, that median income for Vernon County, where Viroqua is the county seat, is reduced to poverty levels. So, people have gone from the national mean to poverty in one generation.
And how does this affect the Democrats? Well, let’s go through what has happened to people in this area. OK, 1980, Reagan is elected. He slashes the milk subsidies and therefore farming has to work like quote a “business” and moves to corporate farming, big giant gross factory farms, this takes quite a while, 15 years to happen, but all the dairy industry goes to giant, unsustainable, polluting, disgusting, cruel to animal farms out in California, out west.
All the small dairy farms around here, two hundred acres cows were named, wasn’t organic, but it was pretty low, intensive agriculture is gone. So, when that goes the towns, it was our primary industry, the towns that support it, start losing money. OK, then we add on top of monopolies, OK, there are no small businesses anymore, anywhere. So, Wal-Mart comes and sits on the town and kills the rest of it. So, everybody’s getting poorer and poorer and poorer and one option is to go to trade school or everything’s credentialized so what used to be trade school is now Western Technical College.
Oh, I think they took the technical college out of it, but for example, a friend of mine who had been a union welder in Chicago previous to moving to Wisconsin and had worked as a welder in Wisconsin for decent union wages like thirty, thirty-five bucks an hour, gets laid off, goes to WTC, learns how to do graphic design on the Internet. Well, nobody tells him nobody’s going to hire old people and the starting wage for that is like $14 an hour.
I mean, this is not apples to apples, and as noted in your previous podcast, the left cannot appeal to rural voters. There is no hope for the left. In the history of Wisconsin, we were pretty much a blue state for the most part. If you lookback at history and the history of the populists around the turn of the 20th century, these were farmers, of course. America was mostly rural at that time, but the farmers, and they worked together with African-American farmers, and Eugene Debs sprang out of that, and, of course, they got squashed, because we can’t have all this mingling of working class people. OK, come along to the Great Depression. WPA, it did a lot of good around here, the whole New Deal. They started with contour farming in this area. It’s very hilly. So that was conservation department. We had the CCC building state parks and this town we had the WPA, which built a swimming pool.
Things were looking up. Post-World War Two the Keynesian consensus was still relatively in place and everything went along pretty much OK, until they cut the milk subsidies, then Carter comes along, not Carter, Clinton. NAFTA. The rest of the state, NAFTA guts industry, so the industrial areas of Wisconsin farming is already toast, like Janesville, Milwaukee, Kenosha, all those factories go away.
The Democrats say this won’t make any difference. It makes total difference, and fast forward to the year 2010, Scott Walker, who was put in place by the Koch brothers, enacts Act 10. There were a hundred thousand people in the streets of Madison every weekend over the winter of 2011, and these were middle-aged teachers, librarians, firefighters, cops, the few farmers that were left and friends of mine drove their tractors around the square, and what did Obama do? Nothing, one quote, his midnight tweet before the Recall Scott Walker election, he did not support us at all, despite the fact that Wisconsin had voted for him in 2008 and 2012. You know, we still voted for the guy.
Come along to 2016, we have the primary in Wisconsin. Bernie Sanders won every single county except for one, but who got the general election? Trump, we went for Trump and why? Oh, this is just so weird, nobody can figure it out and we get the media, mainstream media, MSNBC, CNN, all the talking heads.
They went for Trump because there are a bunch of fascist racists. Well, no. Not everybody’s a good person in Wisconsin, but this isn’t really a big thing, especially maybe in Milwaukee or especially in rural western Wisconsin, it’s never really been part of the zeitgeist. The reason people voted for Trump, I believe, is because we have seen time after time after time. With the trade deals, the deregulation of agriculture, corporate agriculture, everybody losing their living, and on top of it, Hillary said everyone who supports Trump is deplorable.
Well, I mean, I’m a Sanders voter, I’m a socialist, I lived in London for 20 years. My husband was a Marxist lecturer, and when she said that, I thought, I don’t know if I can vote for you, I plug my nose and did it again, but man, I don’t want to hear that, and then she goes on, oh, all the areas of high GDP voted for me.
Yeah, you think? When you gut out the middle of the country, hollowed out, deindustrialized flyover states, and point at them and say, you’re so stupid, you vote against your own interests when the Democrats gutted welfare as we know it, stopped the regulations, didn’t enforce antimonopoly rules, are indebted to high finance, and then they pointed to us and said we’re so stupid, we’re supposed to find an opportunity zone, I guess it’s like West Virginia and Obama teaching the coal miners how to code, but there are no coding jobs.
So, you got to pick up your whole family, sell your house, which is probably worth forty thousand dollars, and move where? To the coast. Maybe this guy’s 50 years old. It’s not going to happen. Until the Democrats offer material redistribution to replace all that’s been lost to the top 1 percent and overall, the top 10 percent over the last forty five years, they aren’t going to get anybody in the Midwest. I mean, for me, yeah, I plug my nose and voted Democrat, you know, except for when I voted for Nader, but it’s moderately in my interest to do so because maybe a tiny bit of the welfare state is left, but that it.
There’s no material reason and to treat us with such scorn. To just say, oh, look at them, they’re white, rural, working class, they’re stupid, they’re rednecks, they are undeserving, they are fascist, racist, deplorables. Well, I watched a podcast, I’ve been listening to Mark Blyth’s Angrynomics, and he’s an economist from Scotland. He’s from Glasgow, I think, and in my experience, they’re always hilarious.
And he put it so succinctly, he said. Why would people vote for a party that tells them that they hate them. Tthat’s just it, if you keep marginalizing white, rural, working class voters as oppressors of people, you know, we don’t want to vote for you, and yes, Trump was terrible. I mean, I stayed in bed the whole day after Trump got elected because it was just so unbelievably bad. He’s just so awful, but you know what he said to voters? He was the only one who addressed economic concerns, not that he did anything, but he talked about it, and nobody’s fooled here that he did anything.
I mean, there’s a fringe, evangelicals and that kind of stuff, but I live in Wisconsin. This is not the Bible Belt. We don’t have huge evangelical voting blocks here. We’re Lutherans, and I’m not but, you know, I’m trying to be articulate here, but Trump said the system is rigged, and yes, it is. He acknowledged it where the Democrats, other than Bernie, who got big votes in the state of Wisconsin, the mainstream corporate frickin Democrats are not addressing that. It’s the whole individualization. If we’re poor, it’s because we aren’t taking personal responsibility. The cult of the individual and they hate us, so people won’t vote for them. Trump said, I see you, Hillary said, you’re deplorable.
OK, 2020 everybody’s freaked out about the post office or whatnot. Biden squeaks in, but seventy-four million people voted for Trump. Why? It’s not because they’re a bunch of fascist racists. All of them, maybe 30 percent of them are. 70 percent of them are the unseen people who have seen wealth go out of their town, just sucked up by Wal-Mart, and it goes to some CEO who probably lives in Manhattan.
I don’t know. I mean, the Waltons are weird, but Amazon just sucked all the money, just extracted, extracted, extracted, and there’s no living wage jobs here, and infrastructure, we have terrible infrastructure now, our roads are terrible. No broadband, no high-speed Internet to rural areas. During the Depression the whole rural electrification process started, we need to do that with broadband and then maybe we could stay in our towns, live here, and have living wage jobs.
Why not de-intensify agriculture so people could have small farms again, they do it in France. France never went big corporate frickin ag. I don’t know why the United States. This is not the way it has to be. I’m 58 years old and I’m old enough to remember that it wasn’t always this way.
There is no party that represents the people. It is a case of dueling billionaires each side with a different brand. The neoliberal, imperialist democrats composed of the Professional Managerial Class represent the slick silicon valley financial creative set touting identity issues. The neoliberal, imperialist GOP represent the more industrial and extractive fossil fuel set touting family values, religion, Americanism. They are one party appealing to different demographics but sucking up all the wealth into their pockets for the past 40 years, privatizing and monopolizing as they go along. We are turning into a corporatized totalitarian nation. America, Inc. The closest we got to a real representative of the people was Bernie Sanders but the corporate democrats were not having that. The last real democrat presidential candidate was George McGovern. The successors were moderate democrats, Clinton and Obama. Liberals used to serve as a safety value for capitalism to keep it from getting too feral. Meanwhile in Antarctica…drip…drip…drip.
“Why Should We Vote for a Party that Holds Us in Contempt?” Yes, Ann Morrison, many of your comments are right-on, but, your question misses the point. The Democratic Party right now is where the struggle is taking place, it is split and the fight is whether progressives will prevail and displace the one-percenters who now control levers of power. Your fight and Bernie’s fight isn’t over. Ann Morrison, you are the one, exactly the one, who should be running for office in Vernon County as a Democratic (If you aren’t running already!)! As you know, we will not win without you. I, like you, look back at the things we achieved when FDR was president – but remember, he would not have accomplished much without the deep and powerful progressive movement pushing him, people like you, progressives, democrats, socialists, communists, leftists of all types, colors, persuasions, cultures, and yes, classes. Right now the fight is inside the Democratic Party. “We Should Rebuild a Party We Can Vote For, Candidate by Candidate, Program by Program.”
You speak truth and you do it well. As a 70 year old Alaskan I can say much the same has happened here across numerous former ‘backbone’ industries that have been engulfed by privatization on the corporate scale.
Thank you for your impassioned articulation of what ails this nation from the ground up. Warm regards to you and yours.
This is exactly the type of woman who likes to pretend she’s just salt of the earth, oh shucks – but dig beneath that and she’s really not.
She doesn’t like what Hillary said, about deplorables? This woman says exactly the SAME THING. Hillary actually said that 30 or 35 % are deplorable, this woman agrees (she pegs it to 30%), but she has to lie about Hillary so she can still hate on her.
I voted Bernie… hell, I canvased for him – so I’m no Clinton lover – but I could see the GOP for who they are. To pretend that Hillary’s economic plan for the Midwest (yes, she had one, and it was public and she gave good speeches bout it) to pretend that didn’t happen – I don’t know, how do you explain that level of untruthfulness.
I get really tired of this… I know all the problems with the Dems and NAFTA, and they’re real, but what is the GOP actually offering? Who is talking health care, minimum wage hikes, worker protections, etc, etc.
Yeah, corporate dems suck – but if you truly hate corporate dems, then you must really, really hate the GOP -because they’re corporate through and through without a progressive branch to try and right the ship.
I’m so tired of us pretending that people who hate on corporate dems, but then go an vote for corporate GOP, have some sort of wisdom to offer. They’re just liars.
If you think anything rational is deciding US elections, you are mistaken. For the vast majority of the electorate it’s a purely emotional decision. One lady voted for Trump because she likes his smile. That’s what we’re looking at. You can talk about trade deals or policies all day, but most voters couldn’t pass a 101 test on it. They don’t actually have a clue. Third way democrats turning on labor and dumping the new deal to adopt their woke bs pushed the GOP into white identity politics. Really it was the dems moving right that opened up room for this new dark age post Gingrich GOP to emerge and slowly start eating its own tail as a generation of true believer nutjobs replaces the previous generation of cynical opportunists pushing a line they themselves know is nonsense. Identity politics as it’s traditionally thought of is ineffectual in US politics. The real identity politics, the one that wins elections, is the GOP’s white version. And ironically that racial hostility is driving minorities into the Democratic party, not the democratic party’s own woke act but fear of an angry white mob. And that’s exactly why nearly 7 out of 10 white men nationally voted Trump. The 3 who didn’t probably have post graduate degrees and enjoy sous vide and fancy wine.
Thank you, Ann. My family had a dairy in Illinois for several generations. It was just as you described…a small, family-owned farm. My uncle first took me to see it when I was just six years old, and I remember him showing me the cows and the pastures and the milking barns. Now, I drive past one of these new, industrialized dairies, see the cows resting on heaps of manure, surrounded by foul-smelling retaining ponds, and I want to gag! Could there be any better metaphor for what our country has become?
Wow! She nailed it! I voted for Hillary too, but had to suppress my gag reflex while doing so. The corporate Democrats don’t have a clue and they don’t give a goddamn either. I knew who Trump was so that anyone voted for him galls me. The GOP have gone off the edge to the extreme right and they don’t care either, they just stoke the culture war while servicing the wealthy and the oligarchy. The whole political system makes me sick.
Wow, this woman is truly impressive. Thank you, Ms. Morrison, for this contribution.
I’ve been convinced for quite some time now that Democrats as a whole actively do NOT want rural votes. The record since the Clinton presidency clearly indicates that the party has cast it’s lot with the financial industry and globalists. I hold the party in contempt, as do many Americans at this point.
It should be noted as well that if the once-in-a-century pandemic had not happened, Trump most likely would have been re-elected in a landslide. Let’s not forget this.
Everyone who isn’t a lilly white WASP wonders the same thing about the GOP.
Let’s be real, the demographic breakdown is incredibly clear. It breaks down right on racial lines. Race alone is basically deciding US elections these days. Nearly 70% of white men and 55% of white women are down with Trump. There’s your most pivotal demographic variable right there. What’s the next variable you think? Income? Gender? Nope. It’s education. The educated are fleeing the GOP in droves.
True. And this meshes well with what Ms. Morrison is saying. Why should white rural voters who have been slammed materially and rhetorically for decades by a thoroughly corrupt and contemptible Democratic Party vote for Democrats? How would that make any sense?
Yes, the more highly educated are fleeing the GOP. But that’s partly because the Democrats have turned themselves into the party of the wealthy. (BTW, education is no measure of intelligence. Two recent studies have shown that people with advanced degrees are the most likely to buy into the loopy Qanon conspiracies. People with high school diplomas or less tend to have better sense.)
I’d like to see the data set and methodology used to make that determination on the q-anon thing. It sounds pretty counter intuitive to me. Based on my experiences it’s largely the under-educated demographic, personified by stereotypical high school dropout. Obviously that’s a stereotype and extreme example. I’m aware of the documented correlation between basically higher levels of educational attainment and what amounts to essentially open-mindedness, openness to ideas and possibilities which are often seen as taboo, unacceptable or otherwise forbidden. I just don’t think it fits with the q-anon example. Have you actually tried to interact with these people? I have, quite a lot actually. They are truey some of the dimmest individuals I have ever met. Functionally illiterate, and often displaying obvious signs of pathological personality disorders. etc. As a cohort they come off as a bunch of illiterate, under-educated, under-employed rubes with nothing better to do, desperately clinging to any meaning or purpose or community they can find in an otherwise devoid existence. By virtue of lack of education and real understanding of anything, they’re desperately thirsty to learn as well, but they just don’t understand basic ideas like critical thinking. That thirst is part of what makes them so vulnerable. They just don’t have the tools, they’re not equipped, to deal with modern social media based influence operations. They’re basically helpless in the face of a marketing and indoctrination machine. Everything from carnivore diet to Christian fundamentalists pushing covertly promoting “no fap.”
I think you are perpetuating elitism and understandably, unable to provide documentation for it.
People, who have lost their farms, their livelihoods, have no health insurance are not anti-intellectuals. That may fit with in your own framework of ordering the universe. But it doesn’t parallel with Ms. Morrison and many other people who voted in the election.
Qanon? True, there are people on the right that believe in it. And then there are the Qanon blue cults that STILL believe that Trump was a Russian agent. Although, even the gov’t proved it otherwise over and over again.
The manipulation by the media is awful. But the idea that we can scapegoat one group or another – is poor analysis. The truth is that the USA needs structural reform in health, banking, energy, educational and both parties are using the media to intensify divisiveness.
It’s not an IQ-linked thing. I think it’s more likely an attempt at self-affirmation to believe in conspiracy theories. The less control one has in one’s life, the stronger the impulse to convince oneself that one has control. Assembling ostensibly coherent patterns out of random statements gives a person the illusion that they are powerful because they are knowledgeable.
Just admit it.
You hate poor people.
That’s not true about white men. According to Newsweek and other sources, the 2020 Trump percentage of white men was 58%, down from 62% in 2016, white men being the major cohort where Trump lost support.
So the attitudes expressed in such comments are often both factually inaccurate, and verging on what Ann Morrison talks about – “Why Should We Vote for a Party that Holds Us in Contempt?”