One piece from the podcast really jumped out at me; perhaps it wasn’t in the book, or maybe I just missed it. Either way, Monica shared this related to how Trump voters might think:
So, a bunch of folks from King County had ideas in their heads about people who voted for Trump must hate the environment, must hate gay people, must hate–you know, name your thing. And, among the things we learned was there’s more variables we didn’t consider. Right? That if you’re in that frame of mind, there’s other things you didn’t consider. And, these farmers, many of them brought up this thing we’d never heard of, the Waters of the United States rule. Had you heard of that?
Monica goes on to explain what the “Waters of the United States” is about, and how that can shift voting ideals:
Well, and it’s this part of our law that determines when the federal government can kind of claim regulation authority over a body of water. And, for a lot of farmers, if there’s a really heavy rain in a valley and suddenly there’s a pond where there wasn’t one, could the government come in and say, ‘Okay, that’s our land. We have to regulate that. Bye.’ And, it sounds absurd, but there’s actually been some really close calls and pretty weird stuff going on in that.
It’s easy to think that someone may love/late a certain policy based on who they voted for and while that may be accurate, it often isn’t. There are undoubtedly many Republicans that support LGBTQ+ causes and there are certainly Democrats are pro-life when it comes to abortion. Votes are rarely about a single issue, and this example was one that I never even know existed.
It’s very possible that some of those farmers believed in many of the liberal principles on issues, but when you’re a farmer running on super thin margins, issues like the Waters of the United States might be the tipping point to vote Republican. If I was in their shoes, it would absolutely add more to the “you should vote Republican” side of my brain.
If you know someone that votes differently than you, it can be valuable to take time to understand why they vote that way, as the core reason might not be something you’ve ever taken the time to consider.