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The Reality of Rural Resentment

One of the biggest themes to emerge so far from the 2016 U.S. presidential election is a widening rural vs. urban divide.
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Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Donald Trump’s victory in Wisconsin last week marked the first time a Republican presidential candidate has won there since 1984. The seemingly massive political shift that took place in this Midwestern U.S. state on Election Day, particularly in its rural counties, has since been thrust into the national spotlight.

In trying to better understand what happened in Wisconsin, and for that matter in the outcome of the election nationwide, one of the first people I wanted to speak with was Kathy Cramer. For almost a decade, the political science professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has been inserting herself into the casual political conversations of smaller rural communities in her state—listening, asking questions, and ultimately identifying the common threads she’s been able to uncover.