What we are seeing is a reaction to a rapidly changing world. A world that is becoming more connected. A world that is more diverse. A world where education and skills are necessary for good jobs.
Change has not been kind to the Midwest and rural America.
And rather than embrace it, rural and white working-class Americans are twisting and turning, fighting it every step of the way. We will never return to the days where a white man could barely graduate high school and walk onto a factory floor at 18 and get a well-paying job for life. That hasn’t set in for much of the Midwest.
This doesn’t mean that coastal Americans can’t empathize more with their fellow Americans and try to find solutions to these problems (nor does it mean that there aren’t many struggling working-class people in coastal states). And it certainly doesn’t mean coastal Americans haven’t contributed to this divisiveness.
Patrick Thornton, “I’m a Coastal Elite From the Midwest: The Real Bubble is Rural America”, Roll Call (10 November 2016) [http://www.rollcall.com/news/opinion/im-a-coastal-elite-from-the-midwest-the-real-bubble-is-rural-america]