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.