Political divide fueled by ‘grievance’ of ‘resentful rural’ GOP voters, claims Washington Post report
A Washington Post report claimed that “resentful rural” Americans vote Republican because they feel they’re not respected by the more urban, affluent and better-educated Democrats of the country.
The piece provided an in-depth analysis as to why these rural voters harbor such grievance against the rest of country, a dynamic the outlet pointed to as contributing significantly to the political divide in America.
The resentment comes from their perception that urbanites, politicians, and the media look down on them, the report found.
The Washington Post piece began with the observation that “Over the past 25 years, rural areas have increasingly voted Republican while cities have increasingly voted Democratic — a dividing line that has replaced the North/South divide as the nation’s biggest source of political friction.”
Detailing this division, the outlet claimed, “disproportionately White, older, more religious, less affluent and less highly educated voters who live in rural areas are more likely to hold socially conservative views generally championed by Republicans.”
It added, “Meanwhile, urban areas are filled with younger, more racially diverse, more highly educated and more affluent people who hold the more socially liberal views generally championed by Democrats.”
Though rural voters harbor a feeling of “geographic inequality,” the Post noted, describing it as “the idea that rural areas receive less than their fair share from the government, are ignored by politicians, and are mocked and derided in popular culture. Without these beliefs, the urban-rural political divide would not be as vast as it is today.”
The piece continued, presenting this dynamic as a highly evident trope among these voters. “Anyone who has spent time studying rural communities knows that rural residents hold deep and pervasive grievances about how they’re viewed.”
Providing further detail, it said, “That can be resentment about their unfair treatment by the government, dismissive comments from politicians, or media portrayals that either simplify country life and its problems or flat-out ignore ‘flyover country.’”
The report confirmed, “Our research has involved numerous national surveys — and we find that rural beliefs about geographic inequity, or what we and others call rural resentment, are widespread across the country.”
The outlet further delved into why such voters go for Republicans. It cited political scientist Katherine Cramer, saying, “many of the purported sources of rural grievances — including the government and media elites — are psychologically associated much more strongly with the Democrats than with Republicans.”
It then explored whether resentful rural voters are justified in their grievance and thus their GOP votes. “Certainly, rural areas are sicker and poorer than nonrural America. And rural areas have undoubtedly lost many sources of meaning, money and respect over the past three decades.”
Though the Post claimed that rural voters have plenty of political power, stating, “rural states have more power than their numbers would warrant in institutions like the U.S. Senate and the electoral college. At least in politics, rural voices are already amplified.”
Ultimately, the paper claimed this grievance, which drives rural voters to GOP candidates, is based on “perceptions, not facts.” It wrote, “But voters form judgments based on what they believe to be true. And most rural voters resent what they perceive to be real geographic inequity. Perceptions, not facts, drive political behavior.”