A Conservative Respite in Flyover Country

Flyover country may not be the battleground for the presidential election, but there are many lessons the candidates could learn from the Midwest.

Over Labor Day weekend, I traveled through South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa. I found almost everyone I talked to held conservative viewpoints.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise, but I only speak in whispers about my viewpoints in my home of Philadelphia, a city dominated by leftists.

At a party, I met someone whose business card proudly displays his email address from reagan.com. At the same soiree, I talked with two old friends from high school. One of them is a prominent businessman in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The other is a pediatrician in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Neither one embraces the candidacy of Donald Trump but will likely vote for him given the alternative.

The businessman complained about the government’s heavy hand in regulating his huge enterprise, which started as a string of pharmacies and now has dozens of retail stores throughout the Midwest. He’s amazed at how ineffectively the government performs its duties and how it spends money without much planning. If his operation were so inefficient and costly, he said he’d be out of business.

The physician noted that his practice saw fewer patients because the doctors spent so much time meeting government regulations. He has to prescribe numerous unnecessary tests just to protect himself from lawsuits.

Both of them asked me why colleges cost so much to attend. The problem at my school and others, I told them, was similar to their complaints: excessive government regulation. The administrative structure has almost doubled in the time I started teaching because of government oversight and rules. Because of their inefficiency, some colleges may be pricing themselves out of existence.

The presidential candidates would be well served if they actually listened to the issues on the minds of people in flyover country. Whatever the case, I certainly felt energized by my visit.

Christopher Harper, a longtime journalist with The Associated Press, Newsweek, ABC News and The Washington Times, teaches media law. Read more at www.mediamashup.org