We all know all about the Midwest – right? Or do we just think we do? Every four years the media focuses intently on this region, which can swing the election one way or the other. But often they just recycle cliches about rural values, white identity politics, and declining economies. For the past four years, the Midwest has been seen as the home of the stereotypical Trump voter. But the polls this time – which show Trump trailing in practically every Midwestern state – suggest there’s a lot more to the picture. We need to think again about what the Midwest means.
That’s why for today’s show, I wanted to talk to a prominent voice of the Midwest – Art Cullen. Art is a newspaper editor in a small town in Iowa who won the Pulitzer Prize for challenging agricultural corporations linked to pollution in the state. He later wrote a book about how Iowa has been changing, and now writes regularly for The Guardian about the politics of the Midwest.
I enjoyed this interview with Art because he challenges the cliches we often entertain about the Midwest. He talks about how immigration has reshaped his town. He talked about how farmers’ intimate understanding of the land and weather could lead climate change to reshape the politics of the region. It’s a great conversation, and I hope you enjoy listening.