Thomas Frank at The Guardian:
Liberal Americans like to think we know the answer to a lot of things – including why those who live outside liberal bubbles chose Donald Trumpover Hillary Clinton.
Small-town people, we liberals think, are Republican people. At their best, they are pious, respectful, and conservative; at their worst they are smug and self-righteous, small-minded and yet capable of broad prejudice. People in the hinterlands, we think, are just different: all the adults are church-going puritans with a neatness obsession, and all the kids long to escape and finally be themselves.
But there’s another way of looking at it, and it is just this: small towns are dying.
Donald Trump doesn’t really reflect the moral values of middle America. He is a consummate city slicker, a soft-handed, foul-mouthed toff who lives in a 58-story building and has been identified with New York City excess his entire life. But people in rural areas are desperate these days. Many of them chose Trump, despite his vulgarity and his big-city ways, because he promised to make them “great again”.
Watching movies won’t help you to understand this. You need to see the thing itself. And what you will discover, should you choose to undertake this mission in the part of the midwest where I come from, is this: ruination, unless the town you choose to visit has a college or a hospital or a prison in it.