The Trump Divide: Rural and Urban


Trump’s victory was an empire-strikes-back moment for all the places and voters that feel left behind in an increasingly diverse, post-industrial, and urbanized America.


Walter Lippmann, the 1920s preeminent newspaper columnist, recognized that at their core these disparate disputes represented “the older American village civilization making its last stand against what to it looks like an alien invasion,” as he wrote in The Atlantic in 1927Lippmann had no doubt about which side would ultimately prevail: “The evil” that rural America believed it was resisting, he wrote, “is simply the new urban civilization with its irresistible economic and scientific and mass power.” Before long, the polyglot “urban civilization” established unquestioned dominance over the nation’s direction in culture, the economy, and ultimately politics, when it emerged as the cornerstone of Franklin Roosevelt’s lasting New Deal coalition. …
Bill Clinton was the last Democratic nominee to demonstrate wide appeal across that divide: In both 1992 and 1996, he carried nearly half of America’s 3,100 counties. But since then, Democrats have retreated into the nation’s urban centers. …Reeling from Clinton’s defeat, many Democrats have declared economic populism the key to restoring competitiveness beyond the party’s urban strongholds. But, as Bonier notes, the Democrats may have permanently reduced their ceiling of support in non-urban areas by unifying behind liberal positions on almost all social issues. …
The converse is that several big city mayors are already promising to fight Trump’s plan to accelerate deportations of undocumented immigrants, while other collisions with urban attitudes loom over his pledges to loosen gun laws and tighten surveillance of Muslim communities. The chasm between town and country that this election exposed will only widen as the already tumultuous Trump presidency unfolds.

39 thoughts on “The Trump Divide: Rural and Urban”

  1. I thought this was a really great article about the city vs country divide.

    Sounds like some of the Conservative party is playing this strategy to divide us too.

  2. Scot Bathgate said:

    This was a great article summing up the arrogance of Clinton and the Democrats.

    • That’s a great link to an exceptional individual – Glenn Greenwald is one-of-a-kind.

      When Obama gave a speech recently, the audience chanted – four more years. The majority of people in the world would have been in agreement and, after that, four more please.

      To get around this constitutional prohibition the Bush clan kept the presidency as the family business. Bush Mini Me picked up the sword dropped by dad and sent legions into Iraq – a criminal act, in the opinion of many.

      If Michelle Obama had been so inclined, odds are she would have won the election – and Barack, no longer front and centre, would still be the nucleus of the presidency.

      If Hillary had won, Billy the Willy would have been the stay-at-home in the White House dad. The Oval Office holds special memories for him.

      If she had won, while sitting behind the big desk, would she have wondered, where in the office, and how many times, he got hoovered while Commander-in-chief; like a wife who wonders where in the family home infidelities took place?

      Maybe familiy members should not be allowed to take over the most powerful office in the world – even if the majority clamour for it – there’s too great a danger of abuse.

      • It’s been reported that when one Hilary supporter said to Bill that it’s time to have a woman in the Oval Office, he replied, with a big grin and a wink, ” Been there, done that”.

  3. Thomas Beyer said:

    Much like BC actually .. most NDP voters are in the cities trying to mooch off the government while rural folks and interior BC folks appreciate hard work and sound fiscal policies more thus vote more “Liberal” !

    • bob tanner said:

      BOTH Rural folks & City folks want sound fiscal policies EXCEPT when it comes to THEIR roads ,hospitals,schools & other govt services. They cost more to provide in rural areas.

  4. Yet another OFF TOPIC nonsensical grudge pronouncement with no basis in reality by Thomas Beyer which cannot be defended as a right to an opinion! There is no right for an individual to constantly disrupt discussions, almost every discussion no matter what the topic with the same old hate filled messaging. Such behavior does not contribute to a discussion of the topic at hand.

    So my question to PriceTags is this;

    Why do you allow this individual to use this site as a platform to publish a derogatory commentary on nearly every subject that is raised here? Why? Why? Why?

    • Thomas Beyer said:

      Because I am a tax payer AND an informed citizen who contributes BALANCED opinions and not just the “the BC Liberals are bad .. cars are bad .. give me more money for public infrastructure” mantra espoused by far too many people on this blog.

      The right to an opinion is not allowed anymore ? Why is that ? Why ? Why ? Why ?

      Why is it off topic to compare the US divide with a very similar divide in BC ? Why ? Why ? Why ?

      • If your opinions are presented as fact, and a quick google search can show those facts are incorrect, sooner or later you are going to wear out your welcome in an online community where logic and reason are held in high esteem. Your tax status for instance, has no bearing on this. Your cliche’d characterizations of those who don’t share your political stance are unnecessary. Present your arguments with corroborating evidence and a modicum of manners and examine the results.

        Are you inviting a rehash of all the claims you’ve made that are incorrect? That might answer the thrice-asked Why.

    • The question has been put to PriceTags not to Thomas Beyer. Why? Why? Why?

      • Thomas Beyer said:

        Because Gordon Price and others know me personally, and know that I am an utterly reasonable (but opinionated) citizen that has valued opinions on a variety of topics discussed on this blog.

        A blog thrives on diversity of opinions as a society is complex & diverse, and as such any issue must be viewed from multiple angles, not all rational. Many issues are subjective such as food. You might be a vegan and I might love meat, yet others love pizza or fish. Some restaurants as such specialize to some group (I used to own a vegetarian restaurant, for example) and others cater to everyone. Similar in a city where some areas are for the rich, some areas more for families, other areas only industrial and yet others are mixed use.

        As such, if I perceive some people as moochers I do not expect you to agree to this (intentionally pointed) statement, but I expect you do understand that in a society some people contribute more than others and that the political class is more than happy to cater to some to buy votes, along the lines of “Vote for me, I buy you candy”. That is why we have ever growing debt.

        Some people support Trump, some do not. We all have to therefore understand each other better and a blog is one way to exchange ideas. How boring if we all agreed. You can always chaos to not read my commentary if I incite you so much.

        • “but I expect you do understand that in a society some people contribute more than others and that the political class is more than happy to cater to some to buy votes, along the lines of “Vote for me, I buy you candy”. That is why we have ever growing debt.”

          And that is an opinion, that you have presented as a fact. And that is the point that you appear to be missing.

          You are free to say you love fish. If you state a dolphin is a fish, then you can’t expect people to respect that opinion — because it is patently incorrect.

        • Thomas Beyer said:

          We have ever growing debt because of the inherent weakness of democracy, namely vote buying with other people’s money, specifically the future generation.

          Borrowing to invest into subways, bridges, highways, tunnels, schools etc that yield a dividends for decades makes total sense, but borrowing to keep the lights on (i.e. “operational deficit”) like the current Federal Liberals makes no sense whatsoever to me !

          As to eating dolphins: I’d say we could create dolphin farms or require more young dolphins to be released into the water or increase breeding of dolphins. How is this fundamentally different than eating a cow, a pig, a deer or a horse ? I assume it has to do with taste and efficiencies. We eat more cows than horses, so presumably it is easier to raise cows and they taste better. Ditto with halibut vs dolphin (I get it that one is a mammal and one not).

        • I guess if you want to equate a halibut with a dolphin that’s your business. My caveat to you would be that one should think long and hard about how often to play the fool. Eventually people decide it’s not an act.

        • Thomas Beyer said:

          Are you now telling people what to eat and what not to ? What gives you that right, but not me or the person eating ?

          Coming back to the original topic: most NDP votes in May 2013 in BC came from Vancouver and Victoria, both URBAN areas .. and most Liberal votes came from suburbs and more rural areas. The only exception are Gulf Islands and some very remote coastal regions that chose between greens and NDP. That is why I used the term “similar”. You have a problem with this fact ?

        • I’m telling you that the man who equates a halibut with a dolphin will be thought a fool. Don’t put up straw men.

          When I started reading this blog you had a lot more credibility in my eyes Thomas. You squaundered that implicit trust with idiotic comments that were inaccurate and silly. I’m sure you don’t care. That’s fine.

    • What a sad comment. Thomas’s comment was neither off topic nor hate filled. Every time I come to this site I see hate filled rants directed at him because he refuses to be part of the echo chamber that this site is. You guys hate him because he has a mind of his own which is a dangerous thing in your world.

  5. I don’t think his claim is even partic. accurate looking at historical voting patterns and federal voting results. Certainly characterizing capitalism as a parasitic bug on the corpus wageslaverus would elicit howls of protest from TB, which would be a reasonable corollary to words like ‘mooch’. Note that when it comes to tax breaks, it’s only good business to take your entitlements. But god forbid a single mom in the city might cash a social assistance cheque I guess.

  6. Drew Rothley said:

    Many focussed on some of Trump’s nomination assertions – especially sound bites – mostly as cheap gossip. Odd that the same minds ignored Ms. Clinton when she asserted that voters of Trump & the Republicans were a “basket of deplorables.”

    Have a fascinating listen here; this is the guy who was the opening act for Trump’s campaign speeches.

  7. We do ourselves great harm by thinking that the recent election reveals a cultural divide between the country and the city. This simply is not the case, the media in all its forms is ubiquitous, everyone in the western world is a full participant in this cultural truth.

    The recent American election campaigns do however reveal that the American electorate can be divided by the demagoguery of a Donald J. Trump. When decent men of good conscience fail to condemn racism, bigotry, xenophobia, incitements to violence, then outright lies and distortions of the truth soon rule the day.

    This is why derogatory commentary cannot simply be ignored nor can it be excused as “they let me do it.” It must be challenged and it must be condemned, it must be deleted, its author must be banned from the company of good men.

    • I’m getting excited with the prospect of a society that bans what you say is contravening the standards. As you say, “There is no right for an individual to constantly disrupt discussions, almost every discussion no matter what the topic with the same old hate filled messaging.”

      Where do think we should start, so we can keep all discussion uninterrupted with incorrect and misleading commentary? We must devise strict editing to weed out anyone and any comments that don’t follow ‘normal’ thinking.

      How shall we police this?

      • “Where do think we should start, so we can keep all discussion uninterrupted with incorrect and misleading commentary?”

        For most of us… with a mirror.

        • Thomas Beyer said:

          My mirror this morning tells me “You are awesome, a net contributor to this world among many moochers and the salt of the earth”.

          With that, Chris, I wish you an awesome day too ! May you also be a net contributor and not a moocher !!

        • Thomas Beyer said:

          Why do you want to ban people who contribute ? Just because you disagree with their opinion , such as the one I “dared” to do here in this very topic that the US election divide between rural and urban IS VERY SIMILAR to the last BC provincial election where most NDP votes were from Victoria and Vancouver, whereas most Liberals votes were from suburbs and exurbs of MetroVancouver and rural BC ??

        • Jeff Leigh said:

          “My mirror this morning tells me “You are awesome, a net contributor to this world among many moochers, and the salt of the earth”.”

          That isn’t your mirror, it is your ego.

      • I suggest that you begin by reading the PriceTags Comments Policy found at the top of the Home Page. Then you might ask yourself some questions about its application. For example, has it been changed without notice? Or why is it that items 1&2 are seldom enforced?

        As the policy states;” in some cases, it is necessary to control comments and occasionally a specific commenter.” I take this to mean that a commenter can be banned.

        • Jolson, you might want to try another blog, if you seek purity of ideology in an echo chamber without the taint of dissension. I know our dear friend and inveterate bus spotter Stephen bans those he doesn’t feel are keeping his vessel on the correct track. This blog is open to all opinions. Do you want your money back?

        • Eric, if truth is an ideology then we are all in huuge trouble!

      • That is not what you said Thomas Beyer!

        This is what you wrote;
        “Much like BC actually most NDP voters are in the cities trying to mooch off the government while rural folks and interior BC folks appreciate hard work and sound fiscal policies more thus vote more Liberal”!

        And that is why you are called out for posting yet another OFF TOPIC nonsensical grudge pronouncement with no basis in reality.

        • Big government or smaller government ? Entitlement spending on education & healthcare in about 70% of the provincial budget. NDP voters usually want even more spending here which leads to either higher debt or higher taxes. Spending constraint is the name of the game in light of limited government revenues. That is very VERY similar to the US Democrats which is why I mention it in this very ON TOPIC commentary. The topic is rural vs urban divide is it not ? I merely commented on it to show the similarities. No need to fly off the handles. Look at BC”s performance in the 1990’s under the NDP. A disaster. Here are a few FACTUAL links to refresh your memory.

          But I do get it that many folks prefer others to pay for their healthcare, education or social welfare and thus vote left, ie NDP in BCs case or Democrat in the US. I use the term moochers. I understand that many disagree with this opinion, or this term. They prefer the term progressive or in the US, liberals. Some mirrors reflect the world in different color or with different words. I get that. That makes the world ( or this blog ) an interesting place.

          Are you an NDP voter ? You see no parallel between BC and the US election ?

        • Who am I you ask? Seriously?

          You don’t know by now?

          I have been around for thousands of years.

          I ask the questions while you gaze in the mirror.

          I am the writer, I am the words

          the words on the wall and inside the cells.

          I am the words you cannot erase.

          I am the words

          the words





  8. Michael Kluckner said:

    In Walter Lippman’s day, the revenge of the country on the city was Prohibition. Country folk could make their own cider and berry wine if they chose. FDR’s victory in 1932 returned a balance to the country that continued more or less until Trump.

    • Trump hasn’t even been sworn in it and you’re declaring that Trump is going to screw over cities to favor rural areas. Why would he do this? Instead of only listening to your own ill informed rants you guys need to broaden your depth of knowledge on this topic and then reanalyze your viewpoints. I’ll even help you out by pointing out some easily verifiable facts. A big reason Hillary lost is because the Dems got cocky in states they thought they would win for sure and thus felt they didn’t need to campaign much in them the last few weeks of the election. If they had done so the odds are high that she would have been able to get enough votes in places such as Milwaukee and Detroit to have won WI and MI, respectively. She and her campaign team also messed up big time in courting Sanders’ supporters. You can’t insult people for months and then expect them to vote for you just because you represent the same party. The Electoral College is not why Hillary lost. She lost because her team and the Democratic party totally misread how many in America felt and because they bought their own propaganda thinking that there was no way Trump would ever win this election.

      To me the saddest part about this election is how both parties ended up selecting the worst possible candidates possible. Trump won the election cleanly and we all have to live with that result. Same would have applied if Hillary had won.

    • FDR’s victory in 1932 is precisely the point. It is the candidate that makes the difference not the party, not the territory, not the electoral system, not the method of representation. It is the candidate that makes the difference in America. That is why “honest Abe” lamented the day when a demagogue would arise, and now Donald J. Trump has appeared whipping up fears, making false charges, peddling lies, trafficking in conspiracy theories. Democracy is a fragile relationship among citizens. Deception is always its enemy. False news reports, spin doctor interpretations, the pundits, the pollsters, the proclamations of the FBI, it all enters the fray.

      Democracy requires an educated public to sort it all out.

      • Thomas Beyer said:

        ” False news reports, spin doctor interpretations, .. it all enters the fray. ” . indeed. The media bias was profound.

        ” Democracy requires an educated public to sort it all out.” .. and it did not ?

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