In 2016, Rural voters swung for Donald Trump hoping for change. Instead, they found frustration.
Former President Barack Obama left a booming economy that expanded across all segments of U.S. markets. New data from the Brookings Institution suggests that, since 2010, big and medium cities have been doing quite well in terms of job growth, while rural areas and smaller towns less well, but improving.
When Trump came to power, he promised to restore prosperity to the American hinterland, blasting politicians who have been grabbing the economic goods for themselves: “Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth,” he said in his inaugural address.
But, is Trump actually helping the forgotten men and women who got him elected? The analysis from the Brookings Institution suggests that the answers are: No.
The new Brookings data illustrates regional disparities in employment growth data, broken down by population density. In recent years, beginning in 2010, the largest metropolitan areas have pulled away from the smaller and non-metro areas in terms of percentage of employment growth.
As noted by The Washington Post, this trend continued largely unabated during Trump’s first year:
As you can see from the graph, there’s no sign that Trump has turned around this trend, which continued steadily through 2017. As Greg Sargent, who requested the Brookings analysis, writes, “there isn’t any particular reason to think that [Trump’s] tax cuts — or the new tariffs — will make a big dent in these regional disparities.”
The analysis underscores a basic truth about our politics in the Trump era: The areas of the country that continue to capture and drive the largest share of the nation’s prosperity, amid the digital and information revolution, are the ones that, generally speaking, did not support Trump for president. The areas of the country that supported Trump overwhelmingly are the ones that are being left behind economically.
Ron Brownstein has referred to this as “the prosperity paradox” of the Trump era, in which “the nation’s economic growth is being driven overwhelmingly by the places that are most resistant to him.”
With this revelation and every new scoop related to the Russia scandal, and every businessman who gets hired (then fired) from the White House, you can’t blame Trump voters for missing Barack Obama in the White House.
In fact, according to a newly released poll conducted by Public Policy Polling, a vast majority of voters, 53 Percent, wish that Barack Obama was still the president.
In that survey, fourteen percent of self-identified Republicans who voted for Trump said they wished Obama was still leading the U.S.