What the mind of most rural white Americans looks like.
What the mind of most rural white Americans looks like. Charles Mudede

The narrative being pressed at this moment is: Do not blame working-class rural whites for voting for a president who is going to make their lives even worse (and we can say rural whites because Trump didn't even lose the suburban vote). Who is to blame then? Apparently the city and its minorities. That's the conclusion of this NYT story "Where Were Trump’s Votes? Where the Jobs Weren’t." Blacks, Asians, and Hispanics, so this story says, voted for Hillary because they experienced the benefits of Obama's long recovery. White workers in certain parts of America totally missed it. During the Obama years, they actually lost jobs—700,000 to be exact. So, do not blame Republicans, despite the fact they "use cultural issues like abortion, guns and gay marriage to gain the votes of struggling workers who nonetheless stand to lose the most from the Republicans’ small­-government agenda." This is a Dem problem. They need to connect with these rural whites.

But here is the thing. Places that had net increases in jobs are for the most part not represented by Republicans. The GOP has the rest of the population under lock and key. Not only are they imprisoned by representatives who cripple their economies, but they consume information that keep them voting for their real oppressors. When I visited rural Oklahoma in 2011, I could not find a bar or fast food joint that did not have Fox News on a screen. These whites are getting cooked by the people they elect and there is no way to help them. None.

We on the left must not kid ourselves. Rural whites are a dry loss (a loss you can't even lick). I don't say this with happiness. It is a very sad situation. But all of these articles about whites who have been left behind in the rural areas are trying to make us shift important political resources to an area of American life that is now irredeemable. They are, in short, trying to make us waste our time.

Lastly: white people on the left, these kind of stories are designed to attract your sympathy, your white sympathy. Instead of telling the truth (Trump excited rural white racism by blaming job loss on Mexicans), they want you to do the soul searching. They want your soul to see these rural whites in a more sympathetic light. This is a trap. Do not fall for it.