Red State Blues: Stories from Midwestern Life on the Left

Edited by Martha Bayne 

Much was made of the 2016 electoral flip when traditionally Democratic states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Ohio tipped the presidency to Donald Trump. Countless think pieces explored this newfound exotic constituency of blue voters who suddenly swung red. But what about those in the Midwest who remain true blue?

Red State Blues speaks to the lived experience of progressives, activists, and ordinary Democrats  who are pushing back against simplistic narratives of the Midwest as "Trump Country"—a narrative that has erased the region’s rich history of grassroots, progressive politics. They've been living there all along, and as the essays in this collection demonstrate, they're not leaving anytime soon.

Edited by Martha Bayne (Rust Belt Chicago, The Chicago Neighborhood Guidebook), the collection includes work from:

  • Sarah Kendzior, author of The View from Flyover Country
  • Kenyon College president Sean Decatur
  • Pittsburgh city councilman Dan Gilman
  • Phil Christman, and many more.

A nuanced look at the true complexity of a region that has always refused to submit to stereotypes about it. 

"Instead of seeing this collection as a gathering of frustrated liberal voices eager to be heard above the nativist din, Red State Blues is closer to a blues lament." Chris Barsanti, Rain Taxi Review of Books

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Martha Bayne is a senior editor with Belt Publishing and a Chicago-based freelance writer. Her work has been published in regional and national outlets including Buzzfeed, Eater, the Chicago Reader, the Chicago Reporter, the Baffler, and Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism. She is also the editor of Rust Belt Chicago: An Anthology and The Chicago Neighborhood Guidebook, both published by Belt, and the author of the narrative cookbook Soup & Bread Cookbook: Building Community One Pot at a Time (Agate, 2011).

See also:

See also:
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