Katherine Cramer, a political science professor and director of the Morgridge Center for Public Service, spent five years popping into small Wisconsin towns to chat with citizens. What she discovered was a growing sense of bitterness. Her book, The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker, explores that feeling of being overlooked that many media have since cited as one reason behind the rise of Donald Trump to the presidency.
Coverage from around the country:
"These rural residents tell me that no one is listening. A look at the conditions of many of their towns, and at the evidence that poverty and unemployment are higher and household incomes are lower in rural Wisconsin, suggests they may be right."
"It’s just been harder and harder for the vast majority of people to make ends meet. So I think that’s part of this story. It’s been this slow burn. Resentment is like that. It builds and builds and builds until something happens ... If you’re wondering about the widening fissure between red and blue America, Kathy Cramer is one of the best people to ask."
"The perception among these voters is that the federal government is more and more guided by coastal elites concerned with providing benefits to people not like them. It is perhaps in that way that race became a focus of the election — not in any new form, but because Trump activated long-standing underlying racial prejudices about “who should get what,” says Cramer."
"For decades, Wisconsin has been politically malleable, but the window for Cramer's work ended up being particularly fascinating and telling ... even Cramer was surprised by the extent of the resentment stemming from a growing rural-urban divide, and now its consequences."
"Kathy Cramer’s journey to the center of the political landscape began with road trips to corners of Wisconsin many people only drive through — if they drive there at all."