Election 2020: “Stupid People from the Middle of Nowhere”

November 9, 2020

‘Sup, y’all?

It’s your favorite blogger here, reporting on the 2020 US election.

This will most definitely be controversial.

Ready?

Okay. So without further preamble…

The other day, down here in Gran Canaria, I met a friend for a beer. German guy. Cool cat. Does yoga and shit.

We sat at an aluminum table outside a downtown hotel with a long history you’d rather not hear about, ordered a couple of bottles of cheap swill, and talked. And at some point, he asked me for my thoughts about the (then upcoming) US election.

Of course, I gave him some sort of nuanced non-committal opinion, the details of which I cannot recall.

It was probably something along the lines of “I cannot fucking believe that the brightest and best political minds in my country can’t come up with a single candidate who’s not a cadaverous pussy-grabbing millionaire who long ago lost the ability to form a coherent sentence… and so I was forced to choose between Douchy Trump and Sleepy Joe.”

Something like that. But really, I don’t remember what I said at all.

But I do remember perfectly what he said next.

He, my German friend, said, in fact, and I quote, “Yeah, the problem with the US is that it’s just full of stupid people from the middle of nowhere.”

I actually thought it was funny. Hilarious, even. I’m still laughing about it, to tell you the truth.

Because… what a concise-yet-elegant way of expressing what so many people are thinking.

Still, 5 drinks into my afternoon bar crawl, what I said in response was…

“Hey – I’m a stupid person from the middle of nowhere. And I resent that statement!”

And I was joking and he was (probably, sorta) joking, but at the same time there’s a lot of truth to that sentiment. Which is what we’re going to talk about today.

election 2020

So, with that in mind, let me tell you a little bit about…

The lives of stupid people from the middle of nowhere

Because, in a way, I’m sort of an expert on the topic.

It turns out that hard-line Biden enthusiasts are already super angry about the election result: they won, but around 70 million people – mostly in the middle of the country – still voted for Trump.

How dare 70 million imbeciles from the sticks disagree with their strongly-held lefty opinions?

Do we (the coastal elites say to themselves) really have to share a country with these morons?

They try and they try to explain the continued popularity of the Republican party, but they can’t – at least not without having a temper tantrum and hurling insults.

Well, they can’t explain it, but I can.

I know about it.

In fact, I spend about half my life here in Europe feeling like I’m someone’s token “uneducated red-state friend”.

Listen: I grew up in Arizona. In the desert. Literally the middle of the fucking desert.

When I was younger, within walking distance of my house, there were about three “things” – or four if you count the cacti.

  1. A couple of evangelical churches.
  2. About 3 shitty prefab houses, built from mail-order kits.
  3. An ostrich farm.

Other than that, it was just sagebrush and various kinds of cacti, as far as the eye could see.

americans living in Spain

These days, people find out I’m from “Scottsdale” and say, “OMG, I love Scottsdale! I stayed at [name of some fancy resort] for three days and it was beautiful!”

Psh. “Scottsdale.” Whatever.

That “Scottsdale” is not where I grew up at all.

Because I grew up, quite literally, in the middle of the fucking desert, in an area that had nothing to recommend it except for the fact that it was a bit “greener” than some of the world’s other arid hellscapes.

Those people think they’ve been to Scottsdale, but if anything, I grew up cursing their pampered rich-person lives when I’d drive by that resort in my old, broken-down pickup truck.

And then, karma being karma, my pickup’s radiator would explode, and I’d have to call a tow truck and be two hours late to my job as a cashier at Safeway.

It’s cute that you (or at least someone you know) grew up in San Francisco, or Seattle, or – gasp! – New York, and have formed your opinions on life from that perspective.

Because listen: I wish I’d grown up there, too.

Every time I read a book about some famous person, and it starts off about how they grew up in Manhattan’s East Village, while their parents hung out with artists, composers, bohemians and revolutionaries, my blood just about fucking boils.

Because in my town, growing up, it was shooting things in the desert for fun, or it was nothing.

In fact – and cover your easily-offended costal elite ears if you’d like to – many of my fondest childhood memories involve shooting things with guns of various calibers in the desert.

On weekends during elementary school, my best friend and I would shoot rats with our pellet guns. His grandparents owned a junkyard, and they’d pay us a dollar a rat, for every dead one we brought home.

See, rats would chew through the wires and tubing in the junked cars, out there in the desert. So if your junkyard was overrun by rats, you couldn’t resell the spare parts that had been eaten.

That there was a crash course in junkyard economics…

You’re welcome.

Anyway, it was fun as hell, shooting rats, and I’m sorry that when you were growing up, your limited-ass Manhattan or San Francisco life didn’t have anything as satisfying in it as capping large rodents, execution style, inside the rusted-out chassis of a ’64 Chevy.

Guns, drugs and sexual intercourse

Later on, but not much later, my dad would take me out to some very remote locations to shoot real guns with his ex-military buddies. We shot at coke bottles, or targets shaped like animals or people, and – once again – it was fun as hell.

Oh, did you not spend your Saturday mornings as a kid visiting the houses of Vietnam vets with grenade collections and safes full of semi-automatic weapons on the way to the shooting range?

I feel terrible for you. Really I do.

And honestly, I’d ask you a couple of follow-up questions about that, but it turns out I already know everything about your life. What you don’t know is ANYTHING about my life, as, once again, I’m just a stupid person from the middle of nowhere.

Because – guess what – Hollywood and the New York Television-Industrial Complex spend billions every year making shows and movies about you. Not about me.

Anyway, later on, when I was a teenager, other kinds of fun emerged. There was sex, there were drugs, and there were video games.

I (eventually) had a ton of sex. But I also yearned to try drugs and video games. Unfortunately, my parents were anti-videogame, and – despite what I learned about peer pressure in high school “health” class, none of the cooler kids at my school ever insisted that I try lots of drugs with them.

And so, my teenage years passed, boring as hell, in the desert, with a life that was nothing like what you used to see on Saved by the Bell or Gossip Girl.

Eventually, I tried to get the fuck out of there. For a stupid person, I had pretty good grades and test scores, so I went off to a “nice” university in a place where my parents couldn’t possibly drop by for a weekend visit.

Initially, I was hopeful about the college experience, but once there, I found I was surrounded by rich East-Coast kids who I had nothing at all in common with.

After a year, I dropped out, because I decided couldn’t afford it.

Actually, that’s not entirely true. I dropped out of college because I did the math and decided that graduating with $40,000 in debt was a terrible idea. So I moved back home, and got a job as a cashier, and drove that pickup past the expensive resorts on my way to my supermarket job.

Never worked in a supermarket?

I feel sorry for you. It’s an experience that’s guaranteed to broaden your horizons, just like getting a liberal arts degree… Well, not “just like” getting a liberal arts degree. But trust me, it’ll definitely broaden somethin’.

And if you’ve ever complained about your student loans, yet you still feel superior to people who don’t have a degree, perhaps you should take a look in a mirror for a glimpse of what an actual “stupid person” looks like.

Because – and, of course, I’m just guessing based on what the media says about you people – all you’ve ever accomplished in your life is to spend a bunch of money on daddy’s credit card while going to keg parties at frat-houses.

After several years of that, you took your degree back to your old room at your parents’ house, complained about being an unpaid intern for a few months, got a couple of badly paid jobs (oh, poor you), then whined to all and sundry about how #adulting is so hard, etc…

And finally, after all that time feeling like life is unfair, and delicately ensconced in your cocoon of moral superiority, you voted for Joe fucking Biden last week and now you feel all great about what a wonderful person you are.

And I’m sure you are wonderful.

But like I said, I’m just a stupid person from the middle of nowhere, and my opinions are naturally suspect. I could be wrong.

You might actually be the intolerant asshole in this conversation, and not even know it.

Because guess what – I didn’t choose to be born in the middle of fucking nowhere, and if you’re ready to write me off based on my demographics, well…

You’re the one who don’t know shit about shit.

And yes, that’s how I really talk.

Fun fact: I learned how to pretend to be an “educated” person in my 20s, so I could keep you people happy.

But you don’t know shit, about shit, and (while I’m at it) you ain’t shit. At least you ain’t shit in my part of the world. But you LOVE to judge, dontcha?

Back in the middle of nowhere, I had a bag boy job. I worked as a cashier, and as a barista. Customer service.

It was miserable.

But I learned a couple of things: for example, I saw all y’all’s lame asses come into the places I worked, freshly moved into your McMansions from New York or Whereverton, California – and I saw how you looked down on us, the locals, from your superior social positions.

All of this is to say: if you’re tempted to call people from my part of the country ignorant bigots, or racists, or hate-filled hicks, who (according to several of my Facebook friends) need to be “educated in basic human decency” – and you think that’s going to persuade someone to vote for your candidate – then you’ve got another thing coming to you.

Because we stupid people from the middle of nowhere don’t think of ourselves like you think of us. And we don’t think of you like you think of yourselves.

There’s a huge perception gap between the red states and the blue, and a large part of it is because y’all can barely locate our states on a map. Trust me. I’ve met plenty of of New Yorkers who only know that Arizona is “one of those square states” they fly over to get to California.

But like I said: we know all about you. The media humanizes you, constantly.

It treats us as mostly cultureless rednecks who are only useful as the butt of your jokes.

So let’s be real: you’re the one who has the choice here. You wanna talk about time for healing?

Do some fucking healing, then. And try being civilized to your fellow Americans.

Because let me tell you: being insulted or treated condescendingly by all y’all “morally superior” folks from the coastal cities isn’t going to convince a single goddamn person to vote Democrat in 2024.

So if it’s that important to you that Democrats win every election, all the time, so you can feel like you’re firmly in the majority, guess what…

You and your lil buddies in Washington are gonna have to figure out what life is like in my part of the country, and what our values are like, and what keeps us awake at night.

We’ve got problems too, and it seems like the coastal-elite political and media mafia is intent on completely ignoring them, in favor of issues that don’t matter at all to people who are struggling to get by, out in the middle of nowhere.

You think you’re the bigger person?

Great.

Then be the bigger person.

‘Cause we’ve insults got for people like you, too.

And you can bet your sweet coastal-elite ass that hearing them from some “stupid person from the middle of nowhere” wouldn’t make you suddenly decide to vote Republican.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for today.

Sorry about the swearing.

Hopefully – about the future of America, and the world – yours,

Mr Chorizo AKA Mr Daniel.

P.S. Okay, for the sake of brevity, I lied earlier. I didn’t want to go off on a tangent about that one time where I might or might not have done acid, but I did technically get offered drugs by slightly cooler kids back in high school. It just wasn’t enough for it to be a thing.

P.P.S. I know it doesn’t sound like it in this article, but I actually do have a sense of humor. And so I’ll leave you with this list of redneck jokes which I consulted while doing research. It’s the best thing (except Pfizer’s new Covid vaccine) which has happened to me this week. Enjoy!

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About the Author Daniel

How did I end up in Spain? Why am I still here almost 20 years later? Excellent questions. With no good answer... Anyway, at some point I became a blogger, bestselling author and contributor to Lonely Planet. So there's that. Drop me a line, I'm happy to hear from you.

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  1. Germans knowing everything and being morally superior to the rest of the world. Not all of them, of course but after having lived there for 8 years, I can perfectly understand what you felt that night. 😂

    And about the elections, I totally agree. In fact, I literally couldn’t believe how practically the entire spectrum of Spanish media brainwashed us all about how beautiful life would be now that uncle Joe had reach the White House.

    1. It wasn’t that my German friend offended me, it’s just that he perfectly expressed the attitude a lot of people have towards the current division in US politics.

      And hey, didn’t we get a vaccine for Corona literally 3 days after Biden was declared President Elect? Maybe we ARE in a perfect Democrat utopia already… 🙂

  2. What I get from your article is a huge dose of rage/jealousy/chip on the shoulder towards the coasts where the money, education, and cultural power are concentrated.

    But other than as a giant middle finger, what is it about Lil Donnie Dictator’s actual political platform that is so appealing to people from Scottsdale or other small towns/rural areas? Do people in the desert not need abortions? Do they not want a decent minimum wage or access to healthcare?

    As much as you paint it as a culture war, Trump doesn’t get 70 million votes just from redneck country. Trump won all men, college-educated or not. Trump won all voters age 45+. He won all people who earn $100K+. He likely won many suburban areas where people don’t shoot guns every day.

    I don’t have a simple explanation – people follow right wing media? They vote with their church? Want to pack the court with conservative judges? Rich people who want lower taxes?

    Anyways, voting for an immoral New York businessman / fake billionaire doesn’t seem to align with the attitude of resenting big city folk…

    1. Hey American! My conclusion from the last several years is that, in fact, people don’t know or care much about actual policies. They’re voting to belong to their group. Most Republicans vote Repblican because they’ve ALWAYS voted Republican. It’s just part of their identity and self-image. Which is exactly the same reason that Democrats vote Democrat. So yeah, I’m pissed at the liberal elites, because the liberal elites look down on people like me and tell us to “educate ourselves” if I disagree with anything they say. Beyond that, I don’t really care. I think everybody’s policy pretty much sucks. Thanks for commenting!

      1. How would you feel about voter reform? I do not like either party and I think that there needs to be a complete overhaul of the system.
        It seems that you have fallen into the trap of “US vs Them”. I think that it is time for people to step off the two-party rat wheel and start looking at things differently, stop generalizing, and work on finding common ground to improve instead of focusing on differences. Of course, there are intelligent and reasonable people everywhere, but Brain-drain is a real thing. People in rural areas with more intelligence are often drawn to more populated areas because there are more opportunities to study and for employment. Secondly, education is not a guarantee of excellence or of being right, but would you want to be treated by a doctor with or without an education in an acute situation? “Experts” can be wrong, but I would prefer most jobs to be done by experts, especially ones that are willing to admit when they are wrong.
        Following this logic, educated voters are more likely to understand the issues of economy, world politics, etc better than uneducated voters. They are also less likely to just read headlines or be mislead by fake news. These are just generalizations, that is why I use the word “likely”. That being said, do the democrats address the issues of rural America? No. Do Republicans address the problems of urban America? No. BTW, my upbringing was similar to yours. I came from a poor white family, started to work when I was 12 and I was the first to graduate from College… not by plan, just by luck.

        1. Hey Troy! Thanks for commenting.

          About voter reform, I’m sure something can be done. Get rid of gerrymandering, for one. And I don’t see what’s stopping the US from having a national ID card like Spain and (I assume) a lot of other countries. It’d get rid of some of the “John Smith who died in 1996 somehow voted in the 2020 election!” stuff. Anyway, I’m not an expert.

          About Us vs Them, one of the points of the article is that most of the deep think pieces about how elections turn out are written by people who work for the New Yorker and have never been past Western Connecticut. They get assigned to rent a car and go to Nebraska to interview some Trump voters and that’s all the East Coast liberals end up knowing about the middle of the country. So the point I was trying to make (badly, of course) is that people like me can also treat people from the coasts like idiots, and that it’s not going to convince anybody to “switch sides”.

          Anyway, I could say a lot more about all of this, but I’m trying to stay away from actual “policy” discussions.

          Thanks again!

          1. The problem of “sides” would be partially solved with deep political reform. People could start to care about specific problems and solutions and see that they are not so different on most issues. The media and the parties have tricked people into believing that rural and urban are very different, but they are just playing a power game. Most people do not know that the two parties are in bed together (sometimes literally…Trump and Clinton were at “parties” together at the home of the now-dead pedophile. Trump gave more money to Democrats than Republicans and his own family could not vote for him in a primary because they had not registered as Repuplicans in time. His choice of party had nothing to do with beliefs… pure calculation.
            The voter ID thing actually gets to the core of what I was saying. The idea of “freedom” is so ingrained in society that neither side wants IDs but for different reasons. It is a good example of one-issue voters being blinded to support their party when they would also fight for the opposite (yet same thing). An example of how the parties use these issues to rile up people is the ID issue. The right complains that there are no IDs to fight voter fraud and to catch “illegals”. This will never happen since the right is really against IDs because of the “live free or die” mentality and things like national gun registration that would be connected to the ID and the fact that the feds (big-brother) would be able to track movements.

            BTW, IDs do exist, but at the state level. Anyone can go to DMV and get an ID that looks like a license.

            This article sums up many of the reasons for the ID issue from both sides:
            https://www.aclu.org/other/5-problems-national-id-cards

        2. Wow, I love what you wrote and by implication, what and how you think. Thank you for saying what you said, I wish I could express myself as well, concise and illuminated as you

      2. Hey Daniel,
        I agree so much with your whole explanation!!
        I do realize that most people vote party, but for Trump, many people broke from the Democratic party, because he showed a concern for where the country was heading, with the loss of jobs, and China taking over. Many of the establishment Republicans became Trump haters, creating the Lincoln Project…whatever, only to show up now, as a totally corrupt group, who mostly used the funds raised for themselves, and ignore their major predator.
        My husband and I with our 3 children, have lived in many states (Pennsylvania (we met in Philadelphia), New Jersey, Virginia, California, and now Colorado) and have vacationed in many states, including all over Arizona, except Scottsdale (hahaha!!). We have always found people mostly good and decent and we never paid attention to their party affiliation, giving us a reason to have enjoyed people, even when our points of view were different and had different religious beliefs. We are committed Christians, but believe everyone is entitled to make their own choice, as long it is not hurting others or the country.
        I was born in a small town in the province of Almeria and moved to Brooklyn with my parents and brother in 1956, when things were much better among the 2 parties that they are today.
        It does hurt terribly when both parties have stream revels that have cost so much heartaches to so many Americans

    2. Hei American in Madrid, please forgive me because I am actually sure you have a very good reason for not putting a picture of you in the space reserved for it but it is something I can´t help myself from feeling that those who are not willing to be recognised are hiding something from themselves as well as from others. But now to the meat of my response to you…….I am a Spaniard in Covington VA and it can hardly be a more rural town (it calls itself a city), we have one small size Walmart where I am a cashier (I am 77 and graduated from James Madison University with a BA in 1975, then went to graduate school at the University of Virginia from September 1975 to June 1978) politically and in mind and soul I was a very liberal person and an atheist from a religious point of view. I was a full blown hippy doing all the things real hippies did including drugs. I voted for JFK and for Johnson and also for Barack Obama the first time. The second time I voted for Trump as I did this past week. I am fully aware that it is practically if not impossible to unconvince a person who is totally convinced that what they believe and what they see is right and the truth, so I am really not writing this to convince you of the things I see from what you have written, that I believe to be misinformed. Abortion is needed everywhere that has people who want abortions and I personally believe abortion should be legan everywhere and not controlled by those who see it as a sin. By the way, I became a deeply Christian believer in 1978 but it is my Christianity which tells me that abortion is a matter between those wanting to have an abortion and God, not between those persons and those who think it is something to be legislated. I don´t particularly like many things Trump does or has done, but I do think he is a very good president and the best for this nation which I love more than I even love Spain. I am sure that there is something you see which I don´t that makes you think that Donald Trump is a little dictator but I can tell you that what I see does not in any way correspondes to that thought.I have a very decent wage , I started working at Walmart two years ago starting at 11 dollars an hour which from my perspective is a very decent salary. About the healthcare, that is one other thing I am still very liberal about since I do believe we should have the same healthcare system all europe and I think, but am not sure, the great majority of countries have and I certainly think Spain does have a very good healthcare system even though Spain is a capitalist country with socialist ingredients.I actually follow both right wing and left wing media but am in agreement more with the right wing than with the left wing. I almost forgot to say that from a very, very small town in the province of Almeria I went to live in Brooklyn NY for 7 years and then in Philadelphia for 6 years from where I went to live in Charlottesville Virginia and then to Harrisonburg Virginia and then to Covington Virginia where I have lived since 2003. I am genually asking you to forgive me if I have offended you in any way.

      1. Hello Tony,
        I don’t understand your comment about the “American in Madrid” not having a picture with her comment. If you notice, I don’t, and there are others who don’t.
        My disagreement with that answer to Daniel’s thoughts, is how she thinks that the rage/jealousy/chip is what motivated him to totally express himself, after a true description of how the coastal elites think so high of themselves, and absolutely look down on those who are not Liberals, and as of now, EXTREMES.
        I, being a conservative, am very concerned about government control, because they think people are not able to know what is best for them, which is what the Biden administration is getting into more and more.
        Here in Colorado we have a Governor, 2 Senators, and the Mayor of Colorado Springs, all Democrats, who I did not vote for. The Governor and the Colorado Springs Mayor are doing a very good job caring for the people and doing a good job with the vaccination, unlike the coastal elites. The Senators, I disagree with, because that part of the government is very “party line’ on both sides, although I mostly agree with the Republicans, and independent Rand Paul.

  3. Great read. Very illuminating and makes a really important point that resonates in the UK with Brexit voters from misunderstood and demonised parts of the country and society. I’m curious to know what led you to vote Democrat, given that your argument seems to be about why people from where you grew up voted Republican?

    1. Yeah I don’t know anything about British politics but I’m sure the Brexit / Remain divide is something similar.

      About my voting Democrat, it was because back in High School and such, the more liberal people were nice to me, and the more conservative people were dicks. In the last 20 years, the political scene has shifted so much that it’s the Democrats who are usually dicks, and the Republicans seem to have chilled out. Or at least that’s my impression.

      Honestly, as I’ve said in dozens of comments now, I think basically nobody understands policy or the actual issues… I certainly don’t. They’re mostly just voting based on tribal affiliations, to feel like they’re on one team or another.

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