Article Lisa R. Pruitt

Penthouse Populist: Why the rural poor love Donald Trump.
Lisa Pruitt quoted in US News

US News, September 23, 2016

With roots in blue-collar Scranton, Pennsylvania, years as first lady of Arkansas and a 2000 Senate campaign that featured a “listening tour” of small-town New York, it’s not surprising that Hillary Clinton’s campaign website has a full page devoted to helping the rural poor, including a jobs and economic development plan.

“I guess I want to say it’s not terribly surprising,” says Lisa Pruitt, a faculty member at the Center for Poverty Research at the University California-Davis. “I would say it’s not terribly unusual.”

Trump “has this straight-talking way that does speak their language. And they look at an Obama who is very neutral – he has no accent. All this [speaks of] privilege,” Pruitt says.

Although Clinton spent more than a decade in Arkansas and worked on children’s education issues, a neutral politician “is who she has become,” says Pruitt. “And I think it’s very very hard for rural voters to relate to that.”