The nation’s rural reckoning of 2016


Aaron J. Brown

Aaron J. Brown is an Iron Range blogger, author, radio producer and columnist for the Hibbing Daily Tribune.

When the founders crafted our Constitution more than two centuries ago, they enshrined the rural agrarian roots of the United States. Country gentlemen trusted city folk about as much then as they do now, and for largely the same reason: power.

For who would rule this nation? The farmers and loggers of the country, or the paper pushers and machinists of the city? Even in the late 18th Century, the rise of cities and advent of social equality and technological change frightened the old order.

Thus, to this very fateful month in American history, the founders bequeathed us the Electoral College. This institution demands that America’s president should be selected by roughly proportional slates of “electors” from all states, rather than the collective popular vote of the entire country. The Electoral College gave deliberate weight to rural and slave-owning states, whose votes were necessary to pass the Constitution.

For most of our history, the Electoral College meant very little. Electors and voters almost always agreed. In the 21st Century, however, the Electoral College has meant everything. Two of the three presidents this century — first George W. Bush, and now Donald Trump — arose from the will of the electors, not that of the popular vote.

More importantly, the cleavage is increasingly driven by the very rural vs. urban divide foretold in our Constitution. Mathematically, that’s precisely why the electoral/popular vote split happened twice in five elections. It’s certainly why this year’s gap between the two was so yawning: Trump with a 7.5 percent lead in the electoral college; Hillary Clinton with an almost 2.5 million vote lead in the popular vote. Indeed, Clinton got more votes than any candidate in American history except Barack Obama and yet lost. Why? Because Trump swamped the rural areas of swing states like Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

The most predictive demographics in 2016 were whether you lived in a city and whether you had completed a four-year college education. Rural vs. Urban is not the only division this country has to worry about, but it is significant. Dense, urban areas rack up millions of “blue” liberal votes, while large states with smaller population density run up “red” conservative tallies. This rural reckoning manifests in countless cultural, economic and political conflicts.

This same dynamic repeats all over the world. I met the Swedish writer Po Tidholm here on the Mesabi Iron Range when he was working on a story last year. He covers northern Sweden, a rural logging and mining region very similar to Northern Minnesota. In a Nov. 24, 2016 column “The Call of the Wild,” in Sweden’s largest morning newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, Tidholm explains why voters in rural America went with Trump. He says rural Swedes overwhelmingly back far-right nationalists in his country for the same reasons.

“Both policy and the market have for a very long time focused on the dense [urban] environments,” writes Tidholm, translated from Swedish. “The market wants to be in the city because it is more profitable there, and policy focuses on the city because thats where the market and the voters are. And it rolls on. Other platforms are overshadowed. Rural areas are forgotten, or expected to possibly deliver picturesque vacation experiences for the urban class.”

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

“Farmers, industrial workers, and the ordinary rural population take the chance to get revenge when offered the opportunity,” writes Tidholm.

It’s not because rural voters necessarily think far-right nationalist candidates will fix everything (though some do), it’s that they reject the system in its entirety. The most unbearable thought is the status quo. And though a simple analysis, this seems to carry the most weight in my post-election conversations with Trump voters. As I’ve written recently, the status quo offers little to places like the Iron Range.

We now have a two-party system in which the parties endeavor to represent different parts of our geography. Northeastern Minnesota Congressman Rick Nolan now becomes one of only five rural Democrats in Congress. Three of those rural Democrats are from Minnesota, including Nolan, Southern Minnesota’s Tim Walz and Western Minnesota’s Collin Peterson. All three barely survived tough re-election contests.

Christopher Ingraham interviewed Peterson for the Washington Post in a widely circulated article last week. Peterson laments GOP redistricting efforts that have created dense urban Democratic districts and large rural Republican districts. The lack of swing districts creates more partisans and less mutual understanding.

“[My constituents] have a different view of the world than people do in these urban centers,” Peterson told Ingraham. “They have a different lifestyle, and they don’t want to change it.”

Historians will regard the opening of the 21st Century as a time of great change in the United States. The rise of the Great American City was met by howling resistance from the vast but waning corpus of Rural America. The Texas rancher George W. Bush was followed by the biracial community organizer Barack Obama, followed by rough-spoken TV businessman Donald Trump. It could bounce back and forth like this for some time, rattling around lives and national interests like spent cans in the back of a pickup truck.

It’s a reckoning. That means we must all face hard truths. In the cities, more awareness of the labor and resources of rural America is overdue. Rural America must share the prosperity of the nation. Yet, those of us who want rural places like Northern Minnesota to thrive in this changing nation must also reckon. We need to find ways to build values and community, rather than merely lamenting their decline.

In all this, we must somehow preserve our union. This is why founding father Ben Franklin said “A republic, if you can keep it.” One of the very few city-dwellers in the Constitutional Congress, Franklin knew this wouldn’t be easy.

Aaron J. Brown is an author and college instructor from northern Minnesota’s Iron Range. He writes the blog and hosts the Great Northern Radio Show on Northern Community Radio. This piece first appeared in the Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016 edition of the Hibbing Daily Tribune.


  1. I appreciate the article and am aligned with the hypothesis. I have one question, though, unrelated to your story: who made the image? I really like it.

    • Hi Austin — It was something I created using the app Prisma. Prisma creates advanced screens for pictures that make them appear like paintings, comics or other visual art forms. This is based on a picture of the old Cooley location near Nashwauk that I took last winter. You can still find a mining research laboratory there.

      • That is pretty cool. If life as a journalist doesn’t pan out, you can try selling work made via Prism. You’d have at least one customer.

        Anyways, thanks for bringing up the good conversations on the Range. I enjoy reading.

  2. Take out California and Trump also wins the popular vote also. The vast majority of the country doesn’t want to be ruled by Californians. Those that do should move there and leave the rest of us alone..maybe they sucede?

    • And “take out” 90,000 people in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania and the electoral vote goes the other way. I’d ask you to consider that many millions of Americans feel THAT way.

      You again show your confederate, treasonous views, which crop up whenever you feel cocky. God save the Union.

      • Just continuing to celebrate the massive electoral win along with winning 30 of 50 states and 87% of the nations 3142 counties. My God what a landslide/mandate!

      • Treasonous? Come on Aaron. Now….your new leader Ellison proposing the creation of a new “Black State”, what shall we call that??

        • On point 1 — Land doesn’t vote. People vote. Trump won a “land” slide, but not a landslide in terms of human voting patterns. You know that.

          On point 2 — I’m not Keith Ellison’s flack, but he’s never proposed anything of the sort. That’s a racist fantasy pushed by conservative internet trolls. I suspect you know that, too. I can never tell whether you’re trying to be funny or if you actually believe these awful things you say.

          • From the “it’s not fake news” Clinton News Network…

            WASHINGTON — Several Democratic members of the Congressional Black Caucus Tuesday refused to denounce Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison’s call for a black state. One congressman stated, “I don’t see anything really objectionable.”

            Minnesota Rep. Ellison wrote under several columns under a pen name, Keith E. Hakim, while in law school. In one of them he called for a black state in southeastern American states.

            Under the name Keith E. Hakim, Ellison wrote: “Finally, blacks would have the option of choosing their own land base or remaining in the United States. Since black people toiled most diligently in the southeastern section of the United States, this land, quite naturally, would be most suitable. That means Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi. Blacks, of course, would not be compelled to move to the black state, and, of course, peaceful whites would not be compelled to move away.”

          • David Gray says

            Actually, based on how Senate seats are allotted, there is a sense in which “land votes.” It wasn’t a strange notion until the SC mistakenly told states that they couldn’t organize their legislatures the same way that the federal government did.

  3. Alan J Zemek says

    The rise of the disintermediated, intermodally globalized information-centric world economy has made this vestigial remnant of 18th Century mistrust between rural agrarian and urban mercantile values and interests almost insurmountable to the functioning of shared-governance for mutual common cause.
    We’re in for a bumpy ride.

  4. Good writing Aaron.

  5. I grew up in northern Cass County, one of the poorest counties in the state. I live in a larger city now but work in a small town (<3000 ppl). Where I live has become heavily integrated in recent years by newcomers to our country. The town I work in is still 98% white and decidedly rural in its perspective. It makes for an interesting contrast.

    That being said, I'll think back a few years now, to when Katherine Lanpher was at MPR, and she hosted a show from a popular North Minneapolis eatery (Lucille's?), where she was joined by people from a NW Minnesota cafe, of whom one of the guests was then-state representative Rod Skoe. It was interesting to listen to her try and find the common ground between two groups of people who could not have seen more disparate. At times they agreed. At times they did not. One point they did agree on was that they felt "left behind" by the economic recovery of the time.

    I wonder if anyone would try that again, what would be the results?

  6. Resolution 54 against essentially all metallic mining in Minnesota being voted on by the DFL brings this whole thought process to the forefront in Minnesota. It also shows where the DFL is headed, very different from it’s roots. Yes, the slatey layer of taconite has a measurable amount of iron sulfide in it.

    • I am referring you to an article in the Duluth Reader, Minnesota DFL State Central Committee tables pro-water resolution, by Carla Arneson. From this article, “Some sulfur exists in the form of iron pyrite (FeS2); it is considered waste rock because the iron cannot be extracted economically, and when combined with oxygen the sulfur ion turns to sulfate. …Iron is typically obtained from oxide ores such as hematite and magnetite. These ores occur in much larger accumulations, the iron is easier to extract and the metal is not contaminated with sulfur, which reduces its strength.(
      On August 6, the DFL State Central Committee, eyeing Minnesota’s upcoming election, tabled the sulfide mining resolution once again.
      I remind the DFL State Central Committee that participants in respective DFL caucuses knew exactly what they meant when they wrote and passed resolutions opposed to sulfide mining.
      Resolutions opposed to sulfide mining were passed in Lake, Cook and St. Louis County within the 3rd Senate District (representing three quarters of the operating units in the District), as well as by more than 45 units throughout the state. At the State DFL Convention the resolution was voted upon, despite being pulled for discussion, and passed with more than 60% support.
      What Minnesota needs is political courage, not game playing. ”

      For more information, read the entire article.

      • Thank you for posting this clarification on Resolution 54. It is totally disengenuous and disheartening to have so many leaders of the MN DFL try to justify abandoning this resolution by saying it is opposed to all mining. It is not. The Range economy is not going to miraculously recover because the resolution is ignored. The DFL party loses when it caves to lies and distortions.
        I agree:
        “What Minnesota needs is political courage, not game playing.”

        • So – Iron pyrite contains sulfur and it very often needs to be mined to get to hematite or magnetite, and this resolution is against mining of any rock that contains sulfur, but somehow this resolution isn’t applicable to taconite mining? If the DFL really wants to force this resolution through, they better write it to only be interpreted the way they intend.

          Even if the split is 60/40 on something, I believe the DFL party loses way more than it gains by trying to split their membership over taking sides on a powder-keg issue.

          • Independant says

            The DFL will soon find itself as a metro area only party. Good luck wining statewide governor and senator elections in the future. Actually in the long run this might be the best thing that ever happened for mining in the state as people won’t feel obligated to vote DFL and a republican controlled government can take over.

          • Northeastern Minnesotan says

            If there were a way to economically mine pyrite, they would be mining the Virginia Formation, which is next to the taconite mines on the edge of the Duluth Complex.

            No one is mining for pyrite.

            Taconite is mining OXIDE ores. Not sulfide ores. Pyrite might be removed to get at the oxide ores containing hematite and magnetite, but it is NOT mined. It is waste rock.

            There are no sulfide ores where taconite is being mined.

            Sulfide ore mining means sulfide ores are being mined for the sulfide metals the ore contains. The metals are part and parcel of the sulfide ore.

            Resolution 54 refers to sulfide ore mining; the ending of the resolution, “and should not be allowed in the sulfur-bearing rock of Minnesota,” refers directly back to the subject “sulfide ore mining.” There is nothing that refers back to taconite.

            However, the resolution could read: “Oppose sulfide ore mining, which is significantly different from taconite mining, poses unacceptable environmental risks, threatens multiple watersheds (Lake Superior, BWCA/VNP, Mississippi) and should not be allowed in Minnesota.” However, MINING interests have refused to make the change.

            Which proves this is not about ‘separating’ taconite from sulfide mining. This is about getting sulfide mining permitted in Minnesota, no matter what a majority of the people in the state want. It is without doubt silencing the voices of a majority of the people in the Democratic Party.

            It is putting power before the health of our waters and the health of generations of children who will be negatively affected. It does not matter to power who gets hurt.

          • Independant says

            However you want to spin it the bottom line is that the current DFL party in Minnesota is anti mining, short of the local Iron Range representatives. This will take care of itself over the next few years and after the DFL looses what remaining outstate seats in the legislature they still have we can get back to reality and move forward with responsible utilization of our local natural resources.

          • Northeastern Minnesotan says

            I have always referred to those with different opinions on this issue as pro-water and pro-mining. Since you insist on using anti-mining, I guess the correct term to respond with is anti-water. So, you must be anti-water? Water is a natural resource too, the most important one that Minnesota has, and there are better uses for our waters than to pollute them for perpetuity with sulfide mining. That is what water treatment “indefinitely” means in PolyMet’s EIS, it started out as “in perpetuity” until it was changed to indefinitely. Any one who says sulfide mining can be done responsibly in the middle of our lake country has not done adequate research, or does not want to. Those who are opposed to sulfide mining are opposed because we value our waters more, for no other reason. And, facts are not “spin.”

          • Independant says

            NE Minnesotan,
            Isn’t the whole point of the environmental review and permitting process to develop a safe mining and operation plan that meets the very stringent environmental policies of the state of Minnesota and the Federal Government? If the engineering and environmental professionals in the DNR, Forest Service, Amy Corps of Engineers, MPCA and many others have all been a part of putting together a plan that meets these requirements should we not be able to mine the minerals we all use everyday? Maybe some of you feel it is better done where there are no environmental protections or labor laws in another country? A country far away so we can pretend we are great stewards of the earth because we pushed it to a different corner of the globe with no oversight all while personally utilizing more of these minerals each year in your phones, computers, vehicles, etc.?

          • Northeastern Minnesotan says


            Polluting our waters for perpetuity is not going to save another country’s water resources. Mining companies are the ones doing the damage; lay the blame where it belongs. Minnesota should never have let Antofagasta. Glencore, RioTinto, or Teck in the door because of their environmental and human rights abuses worldwide. Mining companies should have resumes. They need to mine to best practices, not to a regulation or lack thereof. It’s called ethics. Why would you ask me to trust companies with our waters that do not operate with ethics no matter where they mine?

            Do I think that consumers are part of the problem? Yes I do. Yet the mining industry in Minnesota promotes gluttony consumerism. Have you seen Mining Minnesota’s cartoonish fat baby, surrounded by all the resources it is going to use in its lifetime? As if it is something we should be proud of? As a society we need to conserve and recycle the world’s resources, not be one of the biggest users and abusers. Copper for instance, as you probably know, is 100% recyclable.

            As to PolyMet’s EIS, anyone who has really looked at the document from its inception knows that it never should have made it this far. Perhaps I was luckier than most because I had friends who worked for the DNR, MPCA, Forest Service and EPA, people who could help me with questions, information, and fact checking. I know there are many good people working in the agencies. However, the agencies as a whole are not doing their jobs. It should not be up to citizens to watchdog agencies charged with our protections. As for those strong protections (regulations), they are a myth; we have companies operating with expired permits, variances, and with contaminant limits deliberately left out of permits.

            DNR Land and Minerals in particular is problematic. Without copper-nickel sulfide mining, when taconite mining ends, the existence of Land and Minerals is largely unnecessary. Quite a conflict of interest, not to mention Barr Engineering (generally employed by the mining companies) doing unbiased research for PolyMet’s EIS.

            And since you seem to feel that I am busy buying gadgets at other peoples’ expense, I will add that I still use the first cell phone I brought a decade ago, the same computer I bought just as long ago (which is no longer supported, another industry promoting waste), and I drive a Ford Ranger that is 20 years old with 277,000 plus miles on it (of course that could be because I cannot get another one).

          • Independent says

            NE MN,
            So… if the mining companies comply with all environmental regulations they still shouldn’t be allowed to mine based on your personal feelings and expertise on the subject. You driving an old pickup and making calls on a Motorola flip phone doesn’t change the fact that we as a country use more copper, nickel, etc. than ever before and that is not likely to change.

          • Northeastern Minnesotan says


            Perhaps you need to reread what I wrote. I was responding to the personal opinions you expressed. My opinions differ from yours. And I was also pointing out, with a bit of humor, that it is not wise to assume you know what someone else’s lifestyle may be like.

            However, my assessment of PolyMet’s EIS is based on science and what is missing or misrepresented in its EIS, not my personal opinion. Saying that PolyMet would meet regulations is meaningless when they actually would not be meeting them, when testing methods skewed results, when there are no limits or data for certain contaminants, or when there is no mention of significant toxicity. Minnesota is being lied to about the safety of sulfide mining in our state. So, no, PolyMet/Glencore should not be allowed to mine in Minnesota.

            The Berkeley Pit, recently in the news, is a prime example. Thousands of snow geese landed on the flooded pit of the closed copper mine. Thousands of snow geese died from being exposed to the toxicity of the acidic waters, either immediately or shortly after they flew away. There will never be a way to get an accurate count. The Berkeley Pit is a preview of PolyMet after closure. The north wall of PolyMet’s East Pit would expose the Virginia Formation. Its flooded pits would become a toxic soup no matter what interventions are attempted, another Berkeley Pit, and there is no mention in the EIS of what they will do when it inevitably happens.

            Our waters are more important than the metals.

    • B – Glad you added a post regarding Resolution 54. Mining policy and in general environmental policy is probably the biggest rural vs. urban issue in the state of Minnesota and possibly the rest of the United States. Whether it is or it isn’t, it very much has the feel that the urban areas are interfering with the rural areas’ way of life and their ability to make a living.

  7. Aaron, is there a link to english translation of Po Tidholm’s The Call of the Wild you can provide?

    • No, not a proper link. What I did was use the built-in translator in Google Chrome. It’s a crude translation, but you can read the context. You can also feed the text through Google Translate. Same deal. It’s worth a read. Po has been writing about this urban/rural divide concept in Sweden for some time and has some very relatable theories about it.

  8. I use Google Chrome. Right click on the page , and a menu will give the option of translating the page.

  9. “Historians will regard the opening of the 21st Century as a time of great change in the United States. The rise of the Great American City was met by howling resistance from the vast but waning corpus of Rural America. The Texas rancher George W. Bush was followed by the biracial community organizer Barack Obama, followed by rough-spoken TV businessman Donald Trump. It could bounce back and forth like this for some time, rattling around lives and national interests like spent cans in the back of a pickup truck.” Interesting observation, nicely put. We probably should not expect our favorite political philosophies to win once and for all. We need to let go of that fantasy and start finding common ground.

    • Common ground is a terrible goal. When all liberal philosophies have no merit, it would be ridiculous to “blend” foolish ideas with what’s right. It would simply continue to water-down America, keep us on the “America is no better than the rest of the world” path that Obama put us on.
      Common ground? No way. “We won!”

  10. We’ll see how the Trump voters feel when his administration comes after their Social Security and Medicare , and kicks millions with pre-existing conditions off Obamacare.

    • You’re clueless as to the good Trump will do / already is doing Jackie.

    • David Gray says

      Not that this reality will likely matter to you but every single proposal I’ve seen from Republican or conservative sources to replace the pathetic ACA includes coverage for pre-existing conditions. And for better or worse Trump explicitly, during the campaign, said hands off Social Security. Hopefully he just meant for current recipients. I’m eligible relatively soon and the fact is we can’t sustain the program on its current trajectory. I’d be willing to absorb things like means testing and adjustments on ages in order to stabilize the program. I’m not sure Trump is though.

  11. Reality? You two and several million other dupes bought a pig in a poke and you still haven’t opened up the poke to see it’s empty except for that weasel with rabies. Believe me, said the scammer and you fell for it, hook, line and sinker. You should be getting a clue he doesn’t mean a thing that comes out of his mouth looking at his team of advisors and his appointees so far made up of Goldman Sachs and other huge bank ceos, billionaires, vulture capitalists, generals (didn’t he say he knew better than generals?), grifters, incompetents, people with dicey connections with Russia, conspiracy and fake news disseminators. Tell me you wouldn’t have been very suspicious, if not apoplectic, if a Democratic president-elect deliberately chose an inner circle like this gang. Tell me it wouldn’t bother you if Hillary Clinton or another Dem nominee had a huge conflict of interest refusing to cut his/her business ties here and with foreign countries.
    If you’re worried about your health care coverage whether it’s ACA or Medicare/ Medicaid, Tom Price is probably one of the last persons who should be head of HHS. He has a long history of writing plans to gut healthcare coverage. Last summer he said Republicans would pass Medicare privatization in a budget reconciliation 6 to 8 months into 2017. He has said he wanted to repeal Medicaid with no replacement. He wants Federal government out of the health care issue and let the states try to come up with the money which most states aren’t able to. The GOP has had 7 years to come up with a viable ACA replacement plan and failed. If GOP managed to repeal ACA, they say it could take a few years to “replace” it.
    Dec 6, The Urban Institute came out with report, “Implications of Partial Repeal of the ACA Through Reconciliation”:
    The number of uninsured would rise from 28.9 million to 58.7 million in 2019, increase of 103%. 82% working families, 38% age 18 to 34, 56% non-Hispanic whites.
    Of the newly uninsured 29.8 million, 22.5 million become uninsured due to eliminating tax credits, Medicaid Expansion and individual mandate.
    Additional 7.3 million become uninsured due to near collapse of non group insurance market.
    12.9 million fewer people with Medicaid or CHIP in 2019, disabled, elderly and children.
    Financial burden on state, local governments, hospitals, clinics, doctors and drug manufacturers will significantly increase due to uncompensated care of $1.1 trillion from 2019 to 2018.
    Our rural/small town communities, already stressed, and states would take a huge financial hit and health care coverage is only one of the major issues we need to worry about for ourselves and our country with the robber barons in charge.

    • “Robber barons?, robber barons??” – Get in the 21st century kissa.

      Robber barons – “an unscrupulous plutocrat, especially an American who acquired a fortune in the late nineteenth century by ruthless means”.

    • Oh, and kissa….eliminate your link to the Urban Institute. It’s well known it’s nothing but fake news.

    • Sorry, somebody who voted for Clinton or Stein doesn’t get to call any human being a “dupe.”

  12. We always have such pearls of wisdom from Tweedledum and Tweedleee when they are defending the indefensible. (ranger and David , for those who may be new here).

  13. Tweedledee

    • David Gray says

      So Jackie, how do you feel now that you know that nobody is going to take away the ability to get coverage for existing conditions? Chastened? Or do you have the swagger of Bill McNeal?

  14. Robber barons, plutocrats, oligarchs, we’ve got them all in the 21st century. You live a very secluded life, Ranger, if you haven’t noticed. You always dismiss information you don’t like, don’t understand and never heard from your oh, so reliable sources.

  15. GOP plan to repeal ACA without a replacement will give the wealthier of us a tax break of $346 million over ten years. There’s always, always a tax cut for the well-off when ACA, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits are cut. Rob the working class to give to the fat cats.

    • The GOP is indeed fortunate to have opponents like you. If it faced sober minded individuals with a command of the facts it would face a much stiffer challenge.

  16. Kissa tend to preen as if they know better than the poor average American citizen….and do it under the banner of being “progressive”.

    Over a century ago, so-called progressive experts in government bureaucracies, the Federal Reserve, and the judiciary took decisions away from the electorate and their representatives, just as Obama and his minions have done. They pushed eugenics, prohibition, and other federal measures to “protect the deplorable people” from themselves.

    The re-incarnation of progressivism in recent years suffers from this same elitist mindset. i.e. – making noise over issues that few care about and are sick and tired of hearing about….transgender bathroom access, bakers not baking cakes for gays, pipe line routes, being told guns kill vs. people kill people, black lives vs. all other lives, fake news, the UN global warming medicine show and on and on. Their all-knowing progressivism has increasingly caused them to become disconnected from regular people….regular people’s concerns.

    It’ll be fun to watch as the now tarnished (again) term “progressive” has exploded in their faces and what new term they’ll replace it with. And no doubt, it’s great to have the kissa’s and Keith Ellison’s of the world as opponents.

    • Oh…and how could I leave out….referring to someone who’s in the U.S. illegally as simply being undocumented. That one really takes the cake.

  17. Media headlines yesterday:
    The House GOP Just Revealed It’s Plan to Gut Social Security
    How the House GOP Social Security/Doomsday Machine Works
    GOP Plans Major Social Security Cuts
    Are Republicans Crazy Enough to Go After Social Security
    The Whole Enchilada

    • Fake news kissa, all fake news. I told you to quit clicking on the Urban Instititue….or CNN or ABC or NBC (including MSNBC – Brian Williams, that demoted fake can’t get two words out without lying) or CBS or NPR.

  18. Should be How the House GOP Social Security/Medicare Machine Works

  19. Just curious, ranger, what are YOUR news sources?

  20. I use the Washington Post, the Washington Examiner, the Washington Times, The New York Times, Politico, the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian, the Strib, the Pioneer Press, Red State, Real Clear Politics, and the Brainerd Dispatch with regularity.

  21. I’m waiting for ranger’s list.

    • OK….very, very similar to David’s with the addition of Breitbart, GR Herald Review & occasionally the Aitkin Age (just to straighten out their communist blogger Halverson).

      You ought to add these to your favorites. Before long, the scales will fall from your eyes.

    • What’s your list Jackie?

  22. I subscribe to the print Star Tribune daily, the Duluth print on Sundays , and online otherwise, and my local paper 2x weekly. I also read/ skim 20-30 newspapers/blogs online daily, including the NYT, Washington Post, Pioneer Press, Slate, Rolling Stone,Media Matters, Raw Story, Common Dreams, Crooks and Liars, Huffington Post, Salon, Alternet. Hullabaloo, (love that one) Charlie Pierce(Esquire), Minnesota Network for Progressive Action,MinnPost, Bluestem Prairie,The Smirking Chimp, Real Clear Politics ( really annoying). These are the ones I try to check out first….oh, and Aaron’s blog. I listen to MPR in the mornings , early afternoon, and off and on the rest of the day.
    When my daughter lived in Brainerd for 25 years, i would occasionally read the Brainerd paper to see what the crackpots were writing that week. They seldom failed to spew their bile.

    • Northeastern Minnesotan says

      To all those concerned with how much Trump cares about the little guy, I suggest they get on line and watch “You’ve Been Trumped.” It came out long before the election.

    • No ideological balance to Jackie’s choices. It helps explain a lot.

      • Northeastern Minnesotan says

        To all those concerned with how much Trump cares about the little guy, I suggest you get on line and watch “You’ve Been Trumped.” It came out before the election.

  23. When one side is clearly unbalanced , i see no particular values in reading all their claptrap. I do read Powerline on occasion , and there is more than enough of the “other side” on Real Clear Politics. And of course, there are all of those ugly, ungrammatical comments on various websites , which are a big tip off as to the mindset of so-called Conservatives.

    • That reply should really embarrass you. What you essentially said is that when one side disagrees with you there is no point in seeing what they have to say. And yet your list has a number of full mooner sites on it that make Alex Jones look like Copernicus.

  24. I think the sites I mentioned ,which include major newspapers, give me a very good picture of Consevratives/Republlicans. I mentioned the ones I always check ,which you well know have articles by Republicans . There are many more. I’m surprised you haven’t mentioned Faux News. I can’t imagine you don’t follow it religiously.

    • That’s because you have no imagination. Relying on television as a primary news source is problematic regardless of network. But you obviously must stay in your bubble.

  25. Let’s see how YOUR bubble works out. It doesn’t look good …not good at all.

    • That is a dull witted comment. As you can see I regularly read left wing papers like the Guardian. Whatever else I may or may not be doing I’m not living in a bubble.

  26. I have refrained from calling names, but so much for that. You may try to impress with your claims to be well-rounded in your information gathering. However your rank ( I do mean rank) opinions always line up with the Conservative crazies, who also appear occasionally in the so-called liberal press.
    I do not understand how a person who professes to be a Christian can support the vile, ignorant person elected as PE. How shameful this idiot is going to represent our country. How did you explain to your children all the horrible things he said during his campaign, attacking minorities, the disabled, and women?
    I realize you are salivating in the hope Roe V Wade will be overturned, which apparently means everything else that fool may do is of no consequence. I keep reading that we will get the country we deserve. Well, the Trump base is certainly going to reap the fall- out from their votes , and sadly, so will the rest of us.

    • Does this mean you now understand what the word “bubble” means?

      Yes, I certainly campaigned aggressively for Trump, didn’t I. ***********.

      (for the very slow among us that would be no, I never advocated for Trump during the election)

  27. I don’t hang on your every word , as far as whether you advocated for Trump , or not, but it is quite evident you are fully in the Republican camp. And what DID you tell your children about the “leader” of the party you apparently embrace?

  28. “I don’t hang on your every word”

    Then don’t be a moral leper and try to describe who or what I support.

    >And what DID you tell your children

    I told them we had two awful candidates and that one hated Christianity and the other had no idea what it was.

  29. Nice dodge.

    • It isn’t a dodge to point out that you, by your own admission, were making statements about what other people did without having a clue as to what they did. And you were inaccurate to boot. You should be ashamed.

  30. Don’t condescend to me. You may not have advocated for Trump , per se, but it is quite evident you are willing to fall right in line with the rest of the threatened white men. You leave clues all the time. “Moral leper”… my how creative.

  31. my,

  32. “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on it’s shoes”, Mark Twain.
    We have a fake news epidemic spread by profit and propaganda agents. Fake news stories show up in trending algorithms. Changes to the algorithms moves links up search results pages. All SEO’s, search engine optimization experts agree that they include relative click through rates, CTR, from search results in ranking patterns. More clicks than expected get higher CTR and usually get a higher ranking. User behavior signals, clicks also reward fake news. Even months after a fake news story has been debunked, it will still rank higher. Non-false search queries can can generate fake news results. You can be searching for legitimate statistics and frustrated with all the fake news sites popping up. Google auto complete suggestions now actually predict you are searching for fake news when you might not be. Search algorithms increasingly reward search results based on how likely you are to click on them. In the three months after GOP and Dem conventions, more fake news than real news on Facebook. Social media sites have been slow to combat this.
    People in US can make a lot of money making up stories (ads). Horner interviewed by Washington Post in Nov was making $10,000 a month and he’s not worried about google cracking down on Adsense. Horner says he’s got 10 other sites ready to go. Horner who made up Amish committing their votes to Trump, Trump rally protestor getting paid $3,500 which were retweeted by Corey Lewandowski and Donald Trump, Jr. Horner said his fake news was picked up by Trump supporters all the time. “They will post everything, believe anything.”
    More than 100 pro-Trump sites run by teens and young men in Macedonia have been identified. They don’t care about Trump, they do it for the money and they are not the only foreigners who are making money from Americans who can’t get enough of fake news. And there is propaganda. “Russia employed thousands of botnets, human internet trolls and networks of web sites and social media accounts” to insert false content into online political talk and amplify posts from rightwing sites to erode faith in the US government or US interests.
    Trump is notorious for tweeting fake news and conspiracy theories as is the people/team surrounding him. General Michael Flynn deleted tweet link to “U decide-NYPD blows whistle on new Hillary Clinton emails: money laundering, sex crimes w/children, etc. MUST READ” after North Carolina man shot off gun in DC pizza place victimized by fake news about children held in back room for pedophile ring. Fortunately, no one was killed or injured….this time.
    People who eagerly latch on to and pass on fake news don’t care if it is entirely false or causes great harm to others or to our own country. Right wing media is downplaying Russian hacking even though the RNC was also hacked and Republican voters views of Putin have become more favorable. Astonishing and disturbing.

    • Kissa
      Fake news has existed since Eve was told – “you shall not die”, and we humans have mutated lying ever since, trying to perfect it. Now…since Lying Hillary failed miserably at telling the truth and was told to go away, you liberals in your pompous all-knowing wisdom are going to relieve us deplorables of the burdensome task of determining lies from the truth? Your surely being funny kissa. It’ll make for a great SNL skit.

  33. Oh, really, Mr. Gray, get a grip.

  34. I think that Ranger 47 and David Gray read Aaron’s blog because then they get to post all their crazy spewings about liberal vs. conservative and fake news vs. real news, and which media sources they use . The entire planet has major problems regarding changing weather/climate patterns, mass extinctions of species, poor quality foods, rising health issues and health care costs, over-use of resources, droughts, water shortages and contamination, crime, genocide, militarism, jobs being lost to machinery/robotics and outsourcing, marketplace turmoil, cyber threats, political corruption, etc., etc. So are we ever going to solve any of these problems, or just keep arguing about them? Whether you are liberal or conservative, urban or rural doesn’t matter since it appears that we are all going down the tubes together.

    • Elanne
      You summarize very well the deep, ugly hole Obama has led us into. Fortunately, we all came together on November 8th, 2016 and took a major step towards addressing many of the problems you cite. Some aren’t problems, only a figment of your utopian liberal imagination, but that will become clearer also.

    • Your fantasy does not create my political imperative.

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