PBS NewsHour digs into Iron Range political dynamic

Last week I talked about the increased attention paid to the Iron Range amid Minnesota’s newfound treatment as a swing state. This week, much more of the same. 

Even as polls continue to show a consistent, significant lead for Joe Biden, media pontificators (and supporters of President Donald Trump) continue to argue a different narrative. In this story, rural voters, especially on the Iron Range, will flip so hard toward the president that they will outgun (perhaps literally) the steady gains by Democrats in the suburbs and fast-growing Twin Cities metro core. 

The dynamic on the Iron Range is not nearly as simplistic as it would seem, however. I talked about this on PBS NewsHour last week (click to view, or see embedded video above) and they put together a well-balanced package showing some of the different moving parts. I was also in this NBC News story about the presidential race in Minnesota, with many of the same points raised.

The results of this election will be an informative data point in the discussion about Minnesota’s political future. But most speculation about what will happen is colored by the modern notion of “narrative.” Do numbers influence narrative, or is it the other way around?




  1. I am so weary of being told I live in “Trump Country.” When the numbers flip in November, will they start calling it Biden Country?

    • That is a great point. I literally studied the vote from 2016 for the Iron Range, as it didn’t fit my perception. “Maybe it is me,” I thought to myself. I experienced some dissonance. Turned out, not just me after all. Turns out, the vote was no where near a unanimous Trump victory on the Iron Range. A lot of areas were not even Trump majorities. Can’t remember exact numbers.

      I feel it is wrong for people to continuously paint entire populations as one thing or another. I despise the digital, binary picture people describe. Life exists in gray, not black and white.

      Like, a lot of us left before or during the aughts. A lot of us are city people. I, and others, went from Iron Range to urban life and continued to exist among immigrants. The world of my childhood and my so called adulthood are strikingly similar. I still don’t know any suburb people.

      The other issue for me is our education. Maybe things are very different now? I don’t know? I distinctly gained a valuable education and preparation for modern life. My education was super based on global economies and a changing world. None of it was new.

      I was prepared for a pluralistic open society based on cooperation and understanding the views of others. Where the hell were these Trump people educated? Are these the people that didn’t pay attention? Did they not understand the material?

      Furthermore, my K – 12 education readied me to go Mesabi College then go CSS with no hiccups. All of it was seamless and appeared to me to be a very good preparation.

      So I guess we shouldn’t “Believe the hype” or whatever . . .

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