Third Way on the Road: District Visits
It’s no secret that almost everyone in Washington, including us, missed something BIG in 2016. We decided to get outside the Beltway to learn more. So we’re on the road, listening to people in a range of places, with the hope of better understanding their anxieties, hopes, and values.
The congressional districts we’ll visit are all over the country, and they differ dramatically in demographics, economy, politics, and culture. You can follow our travels at #TWontheRoad to see the latest on where our team is headed and the interesting conversations they are having.
Our first visits were to IL-17, the Quad Cities area. It’s a classic “switcher” district—it’s predominately white working class, and it shifted by 16 points from Obama ’12 to Trump ’16. It also re-elected Democrat Cheri Bustos to the House by a wide margin.
We met with nearly 40 people during two trips. And no matter who they voted for, what they told us was remarkably similar. Here’s a short overview of what we heard:
You can take a deeper dive in our Medium article below that shares more on how residents view on issues like manufacturing, immigration, and education; what they think the future looks like for young people; and what they are looking for from leaders in Washington.
WI-3’s story is not one of industrial decay or a citizenry voting strictly out of anger, but one of an intense work ethic that binds the community together and helps it adapt to change. But for many of the Wisconsinites we spoke to, no amount of hard work can overcome one of their biggest frustrations: laggard government and partisan squabbling.
After two stops in the Midwest, we decided to head to a very different corner of the country for the third location of our listening tour. What we found were the complex and vibrant communities of Florida’s 26th and 27th districts, where both the landscape and the recent political trends diverge starkly from our first two stops.
Here’s a measure of how interesting we find Arizona’s second congressional district: we visited there in the middle of summer. We took two trips to AZ-2, visiting Tucson, Sierra Vista, and Bisbee. Here’s some of what we heard.• • •