• On the midterm race in Washington's (rural-ish) Third Congressional District

    This is the feature, "The Midterm Race that Has it All," on the front page of yesterday's Sunday Review in the New York Times, written by Michelle Goldberg.  Here's an except focusing on the rural and working-class elements of the story: The question of how you win an election in Washington’s Third Congressional District — a stretch along the southwestern border with Oregon that’s been reliably Republican, voting for Trump by four points in 2020 but still considered fairly moderate — is not just...

  • Shortage of sheriff's personnel in rural California

    The Union-Democrat of Sonora, California reported last week on a severe shortage of personnel in the sheriff's office of Tuolumne County, population 55,000.  Alex MacLean writes:  Tuolumne County Sheriff Bill Pooley revealed on Tuesday that he’s currently unable to use half of the beds at the county’s new $51 million jail because one-third of the positions in his office are vacant, forcing him to send inmates to Calaveras County at a cost of $28,000 per month.If the staffing situation in the...

  • On Fetterman's continuing commitment to show up in rural Pennsylvania

    Julian Routh of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports on the recent visit of U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman (D) to Indiana, Pennsylvania, population 13,564 (but part of the Pittsburgh metro).  For Democrats here at the intersection of several bright red counties, the running joke to political outsiders — according to the county party chair — is that the last Democratic presidential candidate to visit Indiana County was John F. Kennedy.It’s not often that a big name comes to town, as...

  • On Chuck Schumer's rural exposure

    A New Republic story published last week about Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Leader, was titled "How Chuck Schumer Finally Got His Big Breakthrough" and included this paragraph:  Schumer’s actions as paterfamilias of Senate Democrats are often informed by his New York sensibilities. A lifelong Brooklyn resident with the accent to prove it, Schumer is pleased by any suggestion that some of his high-touch, extroverted style is at least partially attributable to his cultural ethos as a New Yorker....

  • "Okie" meets Mexican, in the Los Angeles Times

    The inimitable Gustavo Arellano writes in today's Los Angeles Times under the headline, "‘Okie’ was a California slur for white people. Why it still packs such an ugly punch."  Here's an excerpt from his column:  They flooded into California fleeing poverty in their homeland. The public denigrated them as dirty and crime-prone — a threat to the good life.Authorities harassed the newcomers out of city limits, forcing thousands of families to crowd in enclaves and take low-paying jobs. And when...

  • How the rural-urban split is putting the United States' democracy at risk

    David Leonhardt's "Democracy Challenged:  Twin Threats to Governing Ideals Put America in Uncharted Territory" appeared on the front page of the New York Times over the weekend.  I'm highlighting here just the references Leonhardt makes to rural America, explicit or implicit.   The economic frustrations and cultural fears have combined to create a chasm in American political life, between prosperous, diverse major metropolitan areas and more traditional, religious and economically struggling...

  • A Powell's "City of Books" in rural Oregon

    The Oregonian reported out of Condon, in the north central part of the state, on the Washington state line.  The headline is "How a Powell’s Books outpost ended up in Condon, population 760."  Here's an excerpt: The Powell’s outpost more than 150 miles from the famous City of Books can be found at the rear of the Condon Local, a retail store, coffee shop and cafe in the tiny downtown of Gilliam’s county seat.But the name Condon Local is a recent change. For 34 years, the shop was known as...

  • More excellent reporting on rural and exurban California, from Joshua Tree to the State of Jefferson

    I've written several blog posts here about the gentrification of Joshua Tree and surrounding environs in Southern California, in what we call the "Inland Empire."  I've written even more about the would-be State of Jefferson in the far northern part of the Golden State, with a focus on the region's metropolitan hub, Shasta County, where political turmoil has run (especially) rampant in recent months.  Now, two big features in the last few days echo those themes.  The first is in The Guardian, by...

  • Seen in Sonoma County, California: Dahle for Governor and "One Nation Under God" banner

    I saw these signs this afternoon on Coleman Valley Road, between Bodega Bay and Occidental California, in Sonoma County, which is part of the North Bay.  It's only the third Dahle for Governor sign I can recall seeing since he declared his candidacy for California governor a number of months ago.  The other Dahle signs I saw a few weeks ago about 20 miles south of here, on the Petaluma-Tomales Road where Sonoma County meets Marin County.  Those were on the fences of what appeared to be working...

  • New York Times on falling child poverty rates, including in rural America

    Jason DeParle reported earlier this week for the New York Times on recent drops in child poverty, due largely to the government safety net, in particular SNAP (formerly food stamps) and tax credits (including the Earned Income Tax Credit or EITC).  DeParle reports from three locales, depicting three racial groups. The first, which I'll focus on here because it is the most rural, is a white family in Marlinton, West Virginia, population 1405, in the eastern, Appalachian, coal-producing part of...

  • More from a Mary Peltola fan girl (yep, that's me)

    I continue to follow Mary Peltola's Twitter feed with rapt attention and appreciated this Tweet today, as well as the responses it engendered: And here are just the first three responses: These evince a perspective beyond the, shall we say, generic rural and moves into something much more distinctive--even unique--that is the great 49th state.  These also remind me of the rural bashing on display a dozen years ago when infrastructure investment to connect Ketchikan, AK, and its airport were at...

  • On what makes Mary Peltola and her campaign distinctive

    This is from Katrina van den Heuvel's column in the Washington Post, after she notes how rural Alaska is by saying that Democrats' flipping Alaska's at large congressional seat "doubled the amount of land the [party] represent in the lower chamber of Congress":First, Peltola’s success demonstrates the value of putting a genuine effort into regions where Democrats have historically not invested enough. Although Alaska hadn’t elected a Democrat to the U.S. House since 1972 — and it’s one of the...