MSNBC, Paul Krugman Panic Over "White Rural Rage"

“Tom, I’ll start with you,” began Mika Brzezinski. “Why are rural white voters a threat to democracy at this point?”

As a Man Thinketh - Th... Allen, James Best Price: $5.00 Buy New $5.70 (as of 02:00 UTC - Details) Fastball delivered, University of Maryland professor and co-author of just-released White Rural Rage: The Threat To American Democracy Tom Schaller took a swing. He and Mika first complained rural voters should be supporting Joe Biden, given his roots — you’d have to be pretty high to call Scranton “rural,” but whatever — then Schaller read off small town America’s charge sheet: rural whites, he said, are the most “racist,” “xenophobic,” “anti-immigrant and anti-gay,” “conspiracist,” “anti-democratic,” they “don’t believe in an independent press or free speech,” and are “most likely to accept or excuse violence,” for starters.

White Rural Rage, which I made the mistake of reading, is a vicious manifesto in the anti-populist tradition nailed by Thomas Frank in The People, NoWhen rural voters in the late 1800s defied New York banking interests and demanded currency reform to allow farmers an escape from one of the original “rigged games” in finance, relentless propaganda ensued. Rural populists were depicted as dirty, bigoted, ignorant. They refused expert wisdom, represented a “frantic challenge against every feature of our civilization,” and waged a “shameful insurrection against law and national honesty.” A populist caricature in Judge magazine showed a violent, destructive idiot, a real-life Lennie from still-unwritten Of Mice and Men, standing over the defiled corpse of civilized America.

The theme is back, condescension multiplied. Despite a pandemic that just graphically demonstrated the social contributions of farmers, truckers, train operators, and other “essential workers,” the people working those jobs were demonized during the crisis as murderous horse-paste eaters and insurrectionists. Their chief crimes: protesting lockdowns and school closures that disproportionately affected them, and being consumers of supposed foreign-inspired “misinformation” that led them to refuse appropriate political choices offered them. Decades of Uplifting S... Keep Your Mind Young Best Price: $14.56 Buy New $14.90 (as of 02:00 UTC - Details)

Nobel-winning columnist Paul Krugman of the New York Times spent the last year telling “ignorant” Middle America its negative feelings about the economy are “demonstrably false,” because despite what their bank accounts or home evaluations might say, “Bidenomics is still working very well.” When White Rural Rage came out this week he rushed to review it, the intransigent refusal of yokels to accept his wisdom being his favored current hobby horse. “The Mystery of Rural White Rage” is remarkable on multiple levels, one being that after spending so much energy talking about the health of the economy, he pulls out an economic version of Sam Kinison’s classic “Move to the Food!” routine:

The decline of small-town manufacturing is a more complicated story, and imports play a role, but it’s also mainly about technological change that favors metropolitan areas with large numbers of highly educated workers. Technology, then, has made America as a whole richer, but it has reduced economic opportunities in rural areas. So why don’t rural workers go where the jobs are?

He answers his question: “Some cities have become unaffordable… and many workers are reluctant to leave their families and communities.”

Read the Whole Article