Many pundits have commented on the remarkable asymmetry of counties won by the Democratic Party (blue counties) and in 2016 and those won by Republican Party (red counties): the Democrats won big in heavily urban counties and the Republicans won most rural counties.
This visible division prompted numerous article such as this: Cities vs. Trump: Red state, blue state? The urban-rural divide is more significant. “Like most red-state cities, Idaho’s capital is remarkably short on conservatives. Last November, while Hillary Clinton mustered only 27.5 percent of the statewide vote, she hit north of 75 percent in some of Boise’s urban precincts. Politically, the city might as well be on a different planet from towns that lie a couple of exits away.”
The article follows a simple and superficially appealing narrative: the reason for the divide is cultural: cities are liberal, the countryside is conservative.
But there must be more to the divide than values and political culture; difficult social issues like addiction that once were defined as urban problems are now rural problems: American Epidemic: The Nation’s Struggle With Opioid Addiction (34:26 min)