Eureka! Finally a book that manages to be original and not controversial!
Despite frequents jabs against his own home state, Mr. Frank manages to give us an outstanding introduction to how Kansas turned from the most progressive state in the Union to one of the most conservative and (in the eyes of the authore) most backwards states.
And the reason is: elitism!
Would you have thought that possible? Mr. Frank traces the average Kansan and finds out that the class warfare that made Kansas lean to the left is a thing of the past: there are not enough workers to make a majority anywhere.
Instead, what used to be a money thing changed into a knowledge thing; instead of being oppressed by money, Kansas started to feel oppressed by elites. What pitted haves against have-nots turned into bitter rivalry between the knows and the know-nots.
Indeed, one can easily follow the rhetoric that pits the knowledge-centric coasts against the work-centric core of the Land. Despite best effort, education is still a class issue: rich people can afford it, poor people can’t.
Rich people that don’t afford it (like the President of the United States) hence belong with the real folks. The rich-of-intellect, on the other hand, are the bad guys, and nobody knows better than Kansas (with its somewhat invisible college circuit).