NPR visits Madison, Indiana, to talk politics

NPR visited Madison last week to look at the latest political trend… folks living in rural spaces are, at least temporarily, bolting the Republican Party.

In past decades, rural areas have been distinctly red. Indeed, when the non-partisan Center for Rural Strategies poll showed rural areas split even between the parties it was considered a shocking poll. However, the October edition of the poll now shows the Democrats now picking up substantial rural support. This is indeed a rather interesting development that does not bode well for the Republicans this election. (note: links are pdf docs)

This in and of itself is news, but when National Public Radio covered this poll they visited a restaurant around the corner from where we live. Journalist Howard Berkes files a story where he interviewed patrons at Hammonds Family Restaurant on Main Street. Here’s a snippet:

Donna Saylor is a postal worker in Madison, Ind., a town on the Ohio River between Cincinnati and Louisville. She considers herself an independent voter who crosses party lines to vote for candidates she considers best. Rural independents have been important to the Republican majority in rural places in recent elections. Saylor won’t disclose her choice for the upcoming election, but she says health care costs and the war in Iraq are among her top issues.

“I’m not happy with the war,” Saylor notes, as she sips her morning coffee at Hammond’s Family Restaurant in Madison. “If Bush wants the war,” she adds, “send his family, too. You know, when he gets his family over there, maybe he’ll change his attitude.”

I couldn’t have said it any better. Her top concerns are exactly the same as mine.

I also find it interesting that Madison is getting into the news more often. It would take time to document, but Madison has been featured on public radio and in wire stories a number of times in the past couple of years.

Being a beautiful rivertown in the middle of the nation’s hottest Congressional race doesn’t hurt, but I suspect it goes beyond that. Visually, Madison is what many people think has been lost in America. In this case, a wonderful small diner on a old fashioned Main Street. You can’t get much more American than that.