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Cramer Book: Politics of Resentment | Review

1588 words (6 pages) Essay in Politics

18/05/20 Politics Reference this

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Cramer Book: Politics of Resentment Review

During the time of Cramer’s study the gubernatorial election in 2010 saw Republican Scott Walker became the 44th governor of Wisconsin. In this election conservatives and liberals created a tremendous social rift in between Wisconsinites, cramer noted “People in casual conversation, are treating themselves like enemies. And this is in a place in which people are notoriously nice” [1]. But how did out of all places Wisconcin come to this?

The main root behind these political problems lay with the war between geographic backgrounds in this case being urban vs. rural. The people of the rural communities feel as if the bigger cities have overshadowed the small rural counties which has left these countries economically challenged by the prioritization of industry towards the more populated southern and eastern portion of the state. Plus attracting tourism in the northern half of the state, virtually letting the less populated central, northern, and western portions of Wisconsin became economically starved forcing its inhabitants into perpetually lower wages.

These economic hardships have led to a creation of a sort of rural conscience amongst the more agricultural and lumber related communities, in her book cramer said of rural consciousness “Besides place identity, it encompasses perceptions of power, values and lifestyles, and resources”[2]. As per their perspectives those of rural communities view that they have received the lesser end of the economic system, they themselves believe that they are the victim of injustice brought by the stupidity of the bureaucrats and public servants in wisconsin’s major cities. With those of the country say of urbanites as having a “lack of listening skills, exhibit a chronic lack of respect for the rural way of life, and regularly ignore rural communities”[3].

Educational matters are also a concern of most communities but those of rural communities find they’re situation more dire. Concerns have also been raised towards that of  primary and secondary education, many in the disadvantaged rural communities believe that their taxes are being sent to Madison and deployed elsewhere to metropolitan schools. The astronomical cost of college and university levels of education poses a problem to disadvantaged areas as where the median income of households is rather low, it would be nearly impossible to send children to school. These as well as recruiting efforts of some universities have left communities distrusting the big universities and feeling distanced by how educational matters are dealt with.

Race also plays a specific role in discontent in Wisconsin politics such an example can be seen in the African American population “Wisconsin, which is extremely racially segregated. Only 29% of the state’s African American population lives outside the Milwaukee and Madison metros, and most of the state has little to date with latino immigration”[4]. However the underlying racial problems lie between that of whites and native americans, Cramer mentioned that in 1983 when Wisconcin gave rights to native americans for the use of spearfishing and and an unlimited amount of fish natives can harvest. This greatly angered the rural white populations and staged numerous protests, relations between whites and native americans have been greatly diminished.

Healthcare also proves a great problem for the residents of the economically disadvantaged, many of the people in rural communities cannot afford healthcare with their low income jobs. As a result many want more government sponsored healthcare but know that if the state or federal government could provide healthcare for them then the already high burden of their taxes would increase making day to day life even harder for them. These people would also perceive that wherever their taxes go instead of coming back to support themselves and their community it would rather be whittled down to nearly nothing through underpaid state employees and dysfunctional programs[5].

.

Most of what Cramer collected in her studies can accurately describe the political climate of today. What Cramer noticed during the rise of Scott Walker is remarkably similar to conditions of the 2016 Presidential election and the subsequent election of Donald Trump. Across Wisconsin with the election of Walker a noticeable socio-economic and geographic divide became evident Walker would use this divide, become elected governor in 2010 then ride this wave of support to survive a recall in 2012 and be reelected in 2014[6]. However, Walker’s dream stopped short when he lost his bid for a third term in 2018 and leaving office in January of this year. During his term in office Walker consistently managed to tarnish and weaken the powers of the Democrats.

But where did the president get his loyal core of supporters from? Like how governor Walker received his base, President Trump went after the politically disenfranchised of rural communities. In these communities the underlying cause of what they perceive their problems are race. In 2015 and 2016 the Trump campaign specifically targeted immigration and economics.  Trump drew the lines between the impact on influx of immigrantation from latin America and the Middle East to lowering wages and raising taxes for white Americans. Trump argues that the increased amount of refugees, which means that taxes of the working people go to providing free housing and meals for people who shouldn’t be here and are taking away rightfully american jobs out of the market.

 Some politicians however have been trying to help people in rural areas like farmers but they’re attempts are mottled and in some cases can actually hurt farmers. With Trump’s trade war with China the uncertainty and fluctuation in the market from Trump attempting to “get a better deal”[7]. Has ended up hurting the agricultural sector and has put people’s lives at stake and has increasingly made some of Trump’s supporters frustrated and anxious.

As a conclusion what can primarily be described as what fuels resentment in rural communities is racial fear mongering, this is used to use hatred to keep electing the same politicians who keep power time after time to keep the uneducated uninformed. Politicians further use they’re influence to control where educatucations funds may go and the salaries of those who are apart of the educational process.  However other politicians are elected who holds the ideas of the people close to them but they themselves have no knowledge of the lifestyles and livelihoods of rural people. This leads to politicians inadvertently making policies against the people they’ve sworn to defend and unfortunately the continuation of the politics of resentment.

Bibliography

  • Cramer, Katherine Jean. The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker. Chicago ; London: University of Chicago Press, 2016.
  • Rubin, Jennifer. “Most Americans Agree: President Trump Is Divisive.” The Washington Post. WP Company, January 17, 2018. https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/01/17/most-americans-agree-president-trump-is-divisive/.
  • Cohn, Nate. “Scott Walker’s Electoral Record Is Less Impressive Than It Looks.” The New York Times. The New York Times, March 5, 2015. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/06/upshot/scott-walkers-electoral-record-is-less-impressive-than-it-looks.html?searchResultPosition=4.
  • Balz, Dan. “The 2020 Electoral Map Could Be the Smallest in Years. Here’s Why.” The Washington Post. WP Company, September 1, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/the-2020-electoral-map-could-be-the-smallest-in-years-heres-why/2019/08/31/61d4bc9a-c9a9-11e9-a1fe-ca46e8d573c0_story.html.
  • “On Politics: Trump’s Visits Stoke Divisions.” The New York Times. The New York Times, August 8, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/08/us/politics/trump-visits-el-paso-dayton.html?searchResultPosition=1.
  • Smith, Mitch. “Frustration Mounts Among Farmers as China Trade Talks Break Down.” The New York Times. The New York Times, May 10, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/10/us/trump-china-trade-talks-farmers.html?searchResultPosition=1.

[1] Cramer, Katherine Jean. The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker. Chicago ; London: University of Chicago Press, 2016, pg.45

[2] Cramer, Katherine Jean. The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker. Chicago ; London: University of Chicago Press, 2016. pg.57

[3] Cramer, Katherine Jean. The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker. Chicago ; London: University of Chicago Press, 2016. pg.66

[4] Cramer, Katherine Jean. The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker. Chicago ; London: University of Chicago Press, 2016. pg.85

[5] Cramer, Katherine Jean. The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker. Chicago ; London: University of Chicago Press, 2016. pg.146-148

[6] Cohn, Nate. “Scott Walker’s Electoral Record Is Less Impressive Than It Looks.” The New York Times. The New York Times, March 5, 2015. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/06/upshot/scott-walkers-electoral-record-is-less-impressive-than-it-looks.html?searchResultPosition=4.

[7] Smith, Mitch. “Frustration Mounts Among Farmers as China Trade Talks Break Down.” The New York Times. The New York Times, May 10, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/10/us/trump-china-trade-talks-farmers.html?searchResultPosition=1.

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