One thing that a lot of liberals don’t understand is “How could people in rural areas have such wrong ideas about Trump and Clinton?”
I lived in a rural area for some years. One thing that rural areas lack is access to information. Internet access is slow or non-existent. There might be a weekly newspaper published in the county seat, but it is mostly advertisements for people’s services. If I want to know who to call to dig new field lines for my septic tank, I’ll get that out of the weekly newspaper (plus by talking to my neighbors, of course, which is how I actually found the guy to dig my field lines). But real news about what’s happening in the world? Nope.
Without information, it’s impossible to make informed decisions. Without information, notions of what the rest of the world is like become vague and distorted. I had an example of that after I moved to California. A few years later a relative from back home came to visit. I took him to San Francisco on the train, and took the Muni light rail downtown and then the cable car to Fisherman’s Wharf. We then walked west towards the Marina District towards where the next bus, the one that was going to haul us to a museum, was going to stop. At one point, we’re walking past million dollar townhouses and Fort Mason. Suddenly he turns to me and says, “why are you taking me into this kind of neighborhood? We need to go back.” And I say “why?” and he says “look around?” I did, I just saw a typical San Francisco street scene, people of all races and colors walking along. I said “What?” And he said “This is a bad neighborhood!” I tried to reassure him that these were million dollar townhomes we were walking past and that most of the people he saw on the street probably made more money in a month than he made in a year, but he was absolutely convinced that brown people in big cities all wanted to rape / kill / murder white people and that we were going to be set upon at any moment by these well dressed ordinary citizens of San Francisco. We were, of course, perfectly safe — this is an affluent neighborhood with pretty much zero crime.
I have other stories like that, like when I took him to the beach in Santa Monica and he freaked out over the homeless, absolutely convinced they were going to attack us in broad daylight. But the point is that the distorted view that he’d gotten in rural America was that our cities were nightmare lands of crime and violence, and that he had to be on guard every moment or we would be killed by dark-skinned people who wanted everything we had. Granted, there are neighborhoods like that. But they aren’t the kind of neighborhood I would have ever taken my relative, and they’re fairly easy to avoid since there’s no reason for me to ever go to those neighborhoods in the first place.
When people have such distorted views of reality as that, I don’t know if “uneducated” is the word. But “ignorant” definitely is. The question is how to remedy that, given the limited sources of information in rural areas — and worse yet, the lack of desire on the part of people in rural areas to learn about the outside world, given that they already think they know what everything outside their insular bubble is like. I don’t know how, but I do know that if it’s not done, things are going to get even worse. The Bible says “The truth shall set ye free.” But if there is no truth to be found in an insular bubble with few sources of information, it’s hard for that to be.
– Badtux the Knowledge Penguin