While my last trip to the Iron Range was doubly-immersive, acclimatizing to both the politics and the culture of Minnesota’s Northeast, this one took on more of a “business trip” feel. This was both good, because I explored the deteriorating relationship between Perpich and the DFL, and frustrating, because it provided fewer outlets when things really got confusing.
What do you do when you need some time off the road but still getting work done? Find an archive under 40 minutes away that has relevant papers!
In a few ways, North Dakota confirmed a lot of the cultural characteristics of the Midwest I’d long come to expect. In a few other ways, it was an entirely new world for me.
This was an unhealthy trip. And not because of the local beer, porketta, potica, and pasties.
When historians talk iron ore and the Midwest, we’re all familiar with the docks of Duluth and the radicalism of the Iron Range. But less often, we talk about the forgotten “twin” of the Twin Ports, Superior, Wisconsin.
Since I’m on this barnstorming tour for the remainder of 2017, I don’t need to live in Milwaukee until the spring, meaning I’m moving out of my apartment. That meant the unenviable task of cleaning it out but also provided the opportunity to use the Marquette University Archives, which play host to dozens and dozens of feet of relevant material from some of Wisconsin’s prominent politicians of the 1980s. There are 2200 words ahead, click on if you dare.
The 2016 elections, in addition to making what I am trying to get a PhD in about 100x more relevant than I ever could have done myself, have also led to a very, very obnoxious trend among national political outlets: a newfound fascination with rural or agriculturally-oriented Democratic interests, groups, and politicians. Take, for example, the Washington Post‘s breathless exploration in November 2016 of “Why rural voters don’t vote Democratic anymore,” in which they suddenly rediscover Collin Peterson (DFL-MN7). In the…