Princeton University professor Robert Wuthnow (@RobertWuthnow), author of the book The Left Behind: Decline and Rage in Rural America, joined Ana (@anamariecox) this week to talk about his research. He and Ana began by exploring common misconceptions of rural America, and how rural Americans often conceive of themselves. Although he often found a perceived sense of “we-ness” within rural communities, that dynamic broke down when people shared their true opinions about things like marriage equality or a woman’s right to choose. Although many people held similar beliefs, the group was much less homogenous than they may have thought. Ana asked Robert about how the group dynamic can change, and he explained that the boundaries of the groups get complicated, because the divide between us and them is never as obvious as people may think it is. Ana also asked whether Robert had foreseen the rise of Donald Trump (spoiler alert: he hadn’t). Yet, he wasn’t surprised that people in rural America supported a Republican, as it merely continued a pattern established by the anti-abortion movement.
Then, former Mayor of Minneapolis Betsy Hodges (@BetsyHodges) joined Ana to answer a listener question about allyship from Teresa, a listener who joined them on the line.