Donald Trump won North Carolina’s electoral votes because of the defection of white rural Democrats. This is ironic because when the Republicans took over the state in 2010, among the first things they did was defund the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center, one of the only government groups that was totally focused on helping rural people for the previous three decades.
Having been a consultant to the rural center on and off for 20 years, I observed many successful efforts by staff of the center to help rural communities. These included programs to help small banks, small business, new entrepreneurs, small towns, to renew family farming, to prevent land loss, to strengthen community colleges, to improve child care, to increase access to health care and many more initiatives.
One of the things I learned from that time is that there are no quick fixes but progress is possible. I am doubtful that either the Trump administration or our shortsighted legislature will support this kind of initiative, needed now more than ever.
I am worried about the consequences for the people whose hopes were raised only to be dashed by the brilliant but unreliable huckster who is our president-elect.