Katherine J. Cramer, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, recently wrote a book about this. The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker came out just last March. It’s based on research she did from 2007 to 2012, when she essentially kept inviting herself to informal but regular gatherings of people in more than two dozen rural communities around the state—and listened.
For decades, Wisconsin has been politically malleable, but the window for Cramer’s work ended up being particularly fascinating and telling. When she started, the state had a Democratic governor and two Democrats in the U.S. Senate, and its voters had picked a Democrat for president in four straight elections; by the time she finished, Democrat Russ Feingold had lost his 18-year spot in the U.S. Senate, and Wisconsin’s governor was Scott Walker, a union-busting, public-employee-attacking Republican. In her book, she wrote about “rural consciousness” and “multifaceted resentment against cities.”
Read the full story in Politico Magazine.