(The Center Square) – If Illinoisans in rural areas of the state had their say, President Donald Trump would be spending another four years in the White House.
That is the opinion of Dr. John Jackson, a professor from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute who recently took part in a University of Illinois extension program called “2020 Presidential, Congressional Elections: Rural America’s Impact and Stake.”
“Trump and his campaign very effectively mobilized and energized the voters in those rural areas,” Jackson said. “They apparently recruited a lot of first-time voters and those first-time voters disproportionately turned out for the president.”
Jackson says rural areas of Illinois were a major reason Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s graduated income tax amendment failed during the election. Only five downstate counties had a majority of voters favor the amendment: Champaign, Cumberland, Wayne, Hardin and Alexander counties.
Jackson feels Joe Biden’s handling of foreign affairs will take a different approach than the previous administration.
“I do not think he will be enthusiastic about using tariffs to try to bend other nations to our will,” he said. “It hasn’t worked that well with China.”
Jackson said the two main issues in this election were the economy and the pandemic. Those concerned about the economy voted for Trump, those concerned about the pandemic voted for Biden. Jackson adds that Democrats did not do as well as they had hoped in the election, especially in the House races.
Jackson, a former SIUC chancellor, is a frequent contributor to local, state, and national media coverage of government and politics. He has had a four-decade career as a teacher, administrator, and researcher at the Carbondale-based university.