"What's the matter with Kansas? Nothing under the shining sun!"
-- William Allen White, Emporia Gazette, 1896.
Every two years, voters in blue states join with the mainstream media and wonder what in the world is wrong with all those red-state, GOP loyalists?
To many coastal Americans accustomed to vacationing in exotic locales, driving across red-state America is more daunting than climbing an Alp or ballooning across the Masai Mara. Put a New Yorker or a Californian in a Prius in the middle of the country, and the takeaway on places like Kansas and Nebraska is simple: It's really big and nobody's home. But if you really want to understand red-state voters, you have to find the Republican River, which rises in Colorado then follows the Nebraska-Kansas border until it reaches Fort Riley, Kansas, near Kansas City. Those from blue electoral precincts know nothing at all about Republicans, let alone the Republican River — except that it flows through the mysterious heart of the country. In the middle of America, the Republican River is the main stream.
Beyond the caricatures and stereotypes created in the national media, democracy in the middle of America is something Alexis deTocqueville would have quickly recognized. And if you've never been there but wonder why Midwesterners vote the way they do, this book is a perfect visitor's guide for those who decide to head for the unknown, agrarian center of the country.
Greg Gutfeld, Fox News co-host of The Five, interviews Denis Boyles, author of The Republican River. Listen here.
Praise for Denis Boyles and Superior Nebraska: "A conversational, amusing, instructive look at a landscape too many Americans merely fly over or—if they think of it at all—misunderstand." — Kirkus Reviews
Topeka, Kansas: State senate meets in 1905 to make new education legislation.
Cuba, Kansas: City Council fixes the sidewalk. © Jim Richardson