President Trump’s mega-rally in New Hampshire is an opportunity to highlight everything his administration is doing to help rural Americans in front of an audience that normally gets left out of that conversation.
Rural America has always been a stronghold of social conservatism, and has voted reliably Republican ever since the Democratic Party abandoned traditional American values. But even that doesn’t fully explain the enormous wave of support for Donald Trump in the hinterland that was vital to his 2016 victory.
For four years now, the media have been struggling in vain to understand what it was about this billionaire, born-and-bred New Yorker that appealed so strongly to rural America. The inability of the coastal elites to fathom what drove so many farmers, coal miners and small town people out to the polls to vote for Trump perfectly illustrates the disconnect between the urbanites of America’s newsrooms and the hard-working men and women out in the countryside.
In a sense, Donald Trump’s campaign was a revolt against the notion that underlies modern urban America’s worldview. As long as the GDP continues to grow, the conventional wisdom says everything is fine, even if that growth is concentrated among investors and professionals in coastal metropolises. President Trump, conversely, has made sure that our recent GDP growth has been broad-based, benefiting Americans in all professions and at every rung of the income ladder.
Another example — mass, unchecked illegal immigration sounds unthreatening to those who live in places where immigration merely means more tech PhDs moving in next door and the children of foreign elites attending prestigious schools and universities alongside local kids. Free trade and feel-good, ineffectual environmental regulations all sound good when it’s not your livelihood at stake.
The rest of the country, however, has endured stagnant growth and the constant off-shoring of local industry. Meanwhile, illegal immigration has flooded rural communities with poor, Third World farm laborers who undercut the wages of native born workers. Donald Trump was the first politician in a generation to take the problems facing rural Americans seriously, rather than sneeringly dismissing them as backward hicks who, as President Barack Obama so memorably put it, “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment.”
In office, President Trump has delivered on his promises to rural America. The Obama administration’s war on coal is over. The regulations that prevented wider use of high-percentage ethanol fuel have been lifted, as corn farmers had been begging the government to do for years. The president even signed an order to accelerate the expansion of broadband connectivity to rural areas
Real environmentalism — conservation of the American countryside’s wild places — is alive and well in the Trump administration. In March, President Trump signed into law the most significant public lands protection law in more than a decade. More than 1.3 million acres of wilderness, including areas right here in New Hampshire, will be protected from development and preserved for future generations. Additional legislation is already in the works to expand on that achievement, as well.
The mainstream media’s attempt to drive a wedge between the president and his rural base by harping on the supposed “trade war” with China is falling flat, as well. Farmers and natural resource workers understand that it’s worth a few temporary fluctuations in trade with China to get a lasting trade deal that allows them to compete fairly in the global marketplace for decades to come.
In the meantime, President Trump has committed himself to do whatever is necessary to ease any pain that farmers might experience due to China’s reluctance to agree to a deal.
The president’s return to New Hampshire provides a perfect opportunity to set the record straight on these and other initiatives that his administration has in the works for rural America. Considering that we used to be known as the “forgotten” men and women of America, this is a refreshing and uplifting change of pace for all of us.
Pamela Z. Tucker is a former Republican member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, representing Rockingham 23 from 2008 to 2016.
SIGN UP FOR DAILY E-MAIL
Wake up to the day’s top news, delivered to your inbox