Red-State Heartland Politics

photoOnce upon a time Kansas was a leftist's dream, writes Harper's Monthly essayist Thomas Frank in his new book, "What's the Matter with Kansas?" In the 1890s, Kansas embraced the Populist movement fervently, electing Populist mayors, governors, senators, and Supreme Court justices. In 1908, when Socialist crusader Eugene V. Debs suffered a crushing defeat in his bid for the presidency, Kansas was home to one of the four counties he won.

Today, that Kansas is unrecognizable, or in the language of political pundits, a rock-solid red state. The heartland state consistently sends conservative Republicans to Congress, and is better known for its state school board's attempt to remove evolution from science textbooks than for its progressive roots.

Click the "Listen" link to hear Thomas Frank talk about red-state politics and culture wars.


Thomas Frank, founding editor of The Baffler and author of "What's the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of Anerica."

This program aired on June 21, 2004. The audio for this program is not available.


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