Many of the nation’s current pathologies are taking a heavy toll on the majority-white population living in rural America, which was severely impacted by the opioid crisis and has dealt with falling populations, job losses and rising suicide rates.
Why it matters: The malaise and discontent that President Trump has tapped into goes beyond the racism we’ve seen over the past few weeks and includes anger at a changing world and frustration at dwindling opportunities close to home. These trends are further entrenching the rural-urban schism that came to light in the 2016 election.
The big picture: Political and economic power is shifting to the cities, and 20% of the population — 46 million people — is being left behind in the middle of America. These communities face increasingly difficult barriers to education, wealth and health.