Yesterday’s article in MinnPost by Walker Orenstein, entitled What the report on Democrats’ troubles in ‘factory towns’ means for Minnesota, offers an insight to the shifting political changes on the Iron Range and other communities in Greater Minnesota.
We have witnessed the hollowing out of what we would call, “Industry Towns,” over the course of the last 50 years. Checks & Balances Publisher Shawn Towle’s family migrated to the Twin Cities from Duluth in the late 1960’s and saw other family member from Range Towns do the same throughout the decades. This reality sets up a dichotomy between those who leave to attend college and then fail to return compared to those who remain. It effectively causes a malignancy between the different groups and where the ones who left, or got out are viewed positively versus those who stayed in the mines and were not wise enough to leave.
This then creates an adverse relationship between those who left and those who stayed and their political perspectives in turn become reflective. The bitterness felt by those who remained is palpable and is often evident on holiday weekends when those who departed return to visit family.
The ability for Donald J Trump (R) to capitalize on the angst and sense of loss is merely feeding off of the misfortune of others and effectively picks at the bones to score political points and incense the electorate. It is quite simply mean-spirited divisiveness and causes a pitting war of us versus them all the way down to the microcosm of the family unit.
One offset to the posit in this article is College Towns, which are the thorn in the sides of Republicans, because of the more left-leaning bent of the faculty and the campus residential population which has a differing political philosophy than does the neighboring communities. Because students only reside there for a short-time and don’t pay property taxes, their political impact is far greater than their investment and skew the local political landscape.
We will attest, this is a fact in regional centers in Greater Minnesota as well, because population centers need to create a political climate, which embraces diversity and change rather than be soaked in the muck and mire of the past.