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Rural Matters

Jun 26, 2020

In the final segment of our four-part series on rural poverty and the 2020 elections, developed in collaboration with and underwritten by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Michelle chats with Dee Davis, founder and president of the Center for Rural Strategies; Jonathan Rodden, professor of political science at Stanford University, and author of Why Cities Lose: The Deep Roots of the Urban-Rural Political Divide; and Pakou Hang, a trainer at Vote Run Lead, about the upcoming elections.  People vote on the basis of whether they think a candidate truly represent people like themselves, notes Davis. They vote more on the basis of candidates they like and whose values they support, rather than on policy issues, he adds. Hang discusses the important role of women in agriculture today, who tend to be the largest landowners, and are more interested in rural health, nutrition, and the ecosystem. Women in agriculture and in rural communities are coming together in social networks and exerting a greater influence than in the past, she explains. According to Rodden, the racial injustice movement has affected rural areas, which have become more heterogeneous, as well as urban areas. The episode concludes with insights about the importance of immigrants who are moving to rural communities for jobs (the majority of dairy farm workers are now Latino, notes Hang); whether democracy itself is in jeopardy; and the role of voting by mail in the 2020 elections. This episode is sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation,