Nik Refsland: National Guard Recruiter, Trump voter

ED: What’s your take on the riot at the US Capitol on January 6?
NIK: I do not think that Trump incited the violence, but I do think he turned up the heat.
ED: What about the guy carrying the Confederate flag into the US Capitol?
NIK: I would have punched him in the face. Continue Reading →

Janet Clark: Author, Trump voter

Like many voters, Janet believed the 2016 Democratic primary was rigged to assure Hillary Clinton’s victory. She was deeply disappointed that Sanders eventually endorsed Clinton. “I voted for Trump because, between him and Clinton, I felt he was the better of the two candidates — that and I think that both Clintons are extremely corrupt,” she says. Continue Reading →

Joel Brown: Former Democratic lawmaker, Trump voter

Joel’s interest in politics is driven by two key passions: decentralizing the economy and freedom of speech. “The first speech I gave as a lawmaker was on a bill to extend First Amendment protections to student newspapers, protecting students from school administrator censorship,” Joel told me. “In my mind, that’s a big part of what the Democratic Party was all about.” Continue Reading →

Steve Hickenbottom: Organic farmer, Trump voter

Regarding climate change, Steve says it’s definitely a concern. He’d like to see us invest in research to develop better batteries for electric cars. “Let’s start working on cars that get 100 miles per gallon. We’d burn less fuel, reduce the need for pipelines, and maybe slow climate change. But we can’t make the cure worse than the problem. Take Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) for instance. That was pushed, and now DEF is showing up in the water supply, and it’s toxic.”

Steve’s also concerned about coal-fired power plants: “Worldwide, I don’t think we’re the biggest problem. China is putting up hundreds of new coal plants. If we turn the US 100% green, we’re still not going to get the results we’re after. We’ve got to get the rest of the world on board.” Continue Reading →

Kim Houlding: Veterinarian, Trump voter

In the early 2000s, Kim talked about running for office — as a Democrat. “I grew up in a Democratic family. My grandfather ran a union print shop in Minneapolis and my dad was in the printers union.” Kim voted for Obama in 2008. With waning enthusiasm, she voted for him again in 2012. She went with Trump in 2016 and 2020 — casting a vote not so much FOR Trump but against Biden and the Democratic Party. Continue Reading →

Hannah Bacon walks coast-to-coast for climate action

Since the Mojave, Hannah has been blessed with many displays of kindness and hospitality — camping at a retreat center, a Greek Orthodox monastery, an urban farm in Phoenix, and at many private homes. There have been hardships as well, of course. A crippling case of blisters after the first day’s march due to inadequate shoes. Portions of her route blocked by wildfire damage, requiring a thirty-mile reroute. A dog bite that forced Hannah to receive rabies shots — administered on four separate occasions at four separate medical facilities. Continue Reading →

Building bridges in the Heartland

Joshua Barr, Director of the Des Moines Civil & Human Rights Commission, joins us with positive news about Breaking Bread, Building Bridges — an initiative bring people together, one-on-one, to talk through their perceived differences and discover common ground. Pairings include a young man who was very anti-police with a woman police officer. The short video is encouraging and worth watching. Continue Reading →

Year-end review, and our 2021 plans

I reject the rhetoric that most Trump voters are racists, misogynists, and “deplorable” — as Hillary Clinton referred to half of Trump’s supporters in 2016. That’s not helpful.

I know from personal experience that good people, for various reasons, voted for Trump. We need to understand why and work to identify shared challenges. Beyond that, if the Democratic Party has any hope of regaining relevance in rural America, it has to begin with listening, not lecturing. Continue Reading →