I grew up in a tiny Indiana town, where, each political year, we bonded over a latent jealousy toward Ohio for its constant visits and stump speeches and attention; all we got were the commercials, since our TV channels came from Cincinnati.
Of course, this all made sense. Politicians and reporters ignored Indiana because, as a state, it had already cast its ballot. (This year may prove to be an exception, which is why we’re getting covered.) But this doesn’t mean that every county and town mirrored the state’s worldview—Bloomington, I’m looking at you—and I’ve long held the theory that there’s just as much to learn from a man-on-the-street piece on Indiana as from one on Ohio.
A few weeks ago, Culture11 gave me a chance to turn theory into praxis. I don’t live in Indiana now, but the same principles should apply to a true-blue state like Connecticut. Check out my dispatch from North Branford, one of that state’s independent small towns.
UPDATE: If my story inspires you to do some electoral digging of your own, check out this Google map, which includes the results from the last seven presidential elections. Unfortunately, it stops breaking down the results at the county level, so you’ll have to trust me on North Branford. (h/t Marc Ambinder)