Acentury and more ago, farmers and the other people of rural communities were in an almost riotous protest. They were being abused by powerful interests and social forces, these things could be addressed by p0litics, and they knew it, and they acted accordingly. They formed political parties, they did battle within political parties, they got leaders of major political parties (William Jennings Bryan, for one) to pay attention and take up their cause. They got radical and they got uppity. And partly as a result, their lot gradually improved in the early 20th century.
Much of rural America in a condition no less dire today, and a good many of the reasons are external and attributable to decisions made by politicians and leaders of various powerful interests. And where is the protest today in rural America?
You could argue that much of rural America is depopulating; compared to a century and more ago, there is simply a lot less electoral clout there. But that's not equally true everywhere; in some parts of the country, farm towns still have a lot of impact. One of the best places to consider this, and it the impact a rural revolt could prospectively have, is in Washington's 5th congressional district. (more…)