City votes vs. Rural Votes
As a pencil mark on a ballot tally sheet, a rural vote looks just like a city vote. But the reasoning process that goes into a rural vote may be entirely different from the reasoning process that goes into a city vote.
Some background: Our Founding Fathers took care to see that values and mores of those living in rural America would not be overwhelmed by the expected waves of immigration crowding into what actually did become our "teeming" cities. They did this by allocating two U.S. Senators to each state, irrespective of a states population. For balance, they based the allocation of seats in the U.S. House of Representative on population.
This balance between the interests of rural "geography" versus urban "population" protected the interests of rural America until 1962 when the Warren Court decided the case of Baker v. Carr in favor of the plaintiff, Carr, who claimed the State of Tennessee, was failing to faithfully execute its own statutes governing reapportionment. Prior to Baker vs. Carr, the Supreme Court of the United States held that political district reappointment within a state was a political matter for the states to decide and, therefore, out-of-bounds for intervention by federal courts. By six to two, the Warren Court ruled the federal courts can overrule the individual states with regard to how their internal political boundaries are drawn.
Baker vs. Carr is known as the "one-man, one-vote" ruling. While the sentiment has a warm and fuzzy ring to it, the impact of Baker vs. Carr was to put Americas urban population at the steering wheel of government and Americas rural/small-town population in the back seat. Today, about 60-percent of Americans live in cities while only 40-percent live in rural/small-town America.
Recently, the novelist, Peter Grant (AKA the Bayou Renaissance Man), invited our attention to the differences between urban thought patterns and rural thought patterns. Grant recalls meeting a city-dwelling woman with a college degree who was reduced to tears when she was told the steak on her dinner plate came about due to the slaughter of an animal. But that woman was not alone. Many urban dwellers think their food just comes from the super market. Period. Conversely, the people in rural and small-town America are financially dependent on their ability to produce food and they understand our farm-to-market economy full well.
Unless hit directly by a tornado or flood, weather is not much on the minds of urbanites. But weather can fill or empty the pocketbooks of farmers and ranchers. City dwellers are surrounded by hospitals, first-responders, law enforcement, and welfare services. They live within an artificial cocoon, depending on others to provide for their needs. For the most part, rural and small-town Americans must rely on themselves. Consequently, urbanites tend to vote for big government while many rural/small-town folks just wish big government would leave them alone.
When it comes time to cast their ballots, the urbanites tend to vote for the Democrats while rural and small-town Americans tend to vote for the Republicans. So, while the pencil marks on ballot tally sheets may look the same. The thinking behind those marks can be vastly different.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, is a laureate of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame, and is a recipient of the University of Nebraska 2015 Alumni Achievement Award. He was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the Army Language School, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.
©2016. William Hamilton.
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