Aug 26, 2019
Michelle chats with Jonathan Rodden, professor of political science and senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Rodden is also the founder and director of the Spatial Social Science Lab and author of a new book, Why Cities Lose: The Deep Roots of the Urban-Rural Political Divide. Geography matters in the United States, Rodden says, because we’re divided into electoral districts, which can be a good thing but has a downside in being a major determinant in who wins an election. The rural vote will be critical in the 2020 election, but economics will not be the only determinant as social issues, such as abortion, gun rights, race, and immigration, will also play a part, according to both Michelle and Jonathan. The Democratic presidential primary battle revolves basically around urban voters, but after winning the primary, there is more incentive for the nominee to focus on rural voters, he notes. Even if an independent commission decided district boundaries, he says, it wouldn’t necessarily prevent the continuation of the urban-rural divide. Gerrymandering does add to the problem, Rodden asserts. The bottom line: Yes, geography does matter when it comes to public policy. This episode was sponsored by Bryan Telemedicine, https://www.bryanhealth.com/services/telemedicine/; REC Foundation, roboticseducation.org; For the Win Robotics, frw-robotic.com; and the Rural Assembly, ruralassembly.org.