In 1978 and 1980, on the Sundays before primary and Election Day, voters in some Midwestern states returned to their cars after church services to find a flyer tucked under their windshield or an activist waiting on the sidewalk just off church property to hand them a flyer whose message was unequivocal.
How do you run an authentic, progressive, populist campaign that empowers grassroots activists across a state as geographically, occupationally, and (occasionally) ethnically diverse as Minnesota?Go to Northfield to find the answer.
In 1985 the South Dakota Legislature voted to put all 105 of them, plus the governor, on chartered planes to Washington, D.C., to lobby Congress for action on the Farm Crisis. (Got all that?)
As my students work on their final Citizen-Historian Project (read more here), I feel like it’s only fair that I participate with them. So let’s hit the Internet, hit our bikes, and log some New Deal sites around Minneapolis for the Living New Deal project!
Far from being an isolated or parochial political movement, the progressive populists of the 1980s Farm Crisis had a wide-ranging vision to reform American agriculture and foreign policy. And to find out how? Go to Ames! Or click “Read More”!
Two of the biggest symbols in my dissertation are Paul Wellstone’s green bus and Russ Feingold’s painted garage. But they tapped into a deeper tradition of symbols and rhetoric in Midwestern liberalism, and I needed to go to southern Illinois to trace that backwards.
Abortion, tensions with Native Americans, anti-labor sentiments, and rurality…and northern Wisconsin stayed in the Democratic column from 1969 until 2011. Why? I headed to Stevens Point, in part, to fill in my dissertation with two striking figures in Wisconsin political history, Dave Obey and Lee Dreyfus, known for different reasons: longevity and disruption, respectively.
Recapping my three trips (from November 2017 to August 2018) to Fargo and Moorhead, I’m committing one of the sins that I swore I wouldn’t commit during the fits and starts of this Barnstorming series — lumping interstate city clusters together. I held off for Duluth-Superior, in part because of the wide disparity in political experience between the Twin Ports (and in part because I wrote nothing for Duluth…yet). But we turn to sugar beet country, and time and tide…
We talk a lot in today’s day and age about the rural-urban divides that plague American politics. But where do those divides come from? Can we pinpoint their genesis?
All these posts throughout my little “Barnstorming” series had me curious where I’d been (and how much I’d written): twenty-seven cities, thirty-plus archives, and almost 22,000 miles on my Ford Focus later. [Update: Happy 2019! I’ve added a few cities and a couple blog posts. Oh, and the car is about 500 miles shy of 70,000 that I’ve put on since May 2017. Enjoy!]