A tiny town in upstate New York - Crown Point. When I lived there, the population was about 1500. I graduated high school in a class of 27. And we weren’t the smallest around, either.
It’s a strange beast, rural New York. It’s largely untouched by state and national politics. Most people don’t even know it exists - when I tell people I grew up a 2.5 hour drive north of Albany, they think I’m talking about Canada. Few people fit very neatly into any political category, because their concerns are largely focused on a lifestyle that exceedingly few people lead, and that involves a lot of isolation.
So, you get into odd political discussions that are very hypothetical because none of the issues out there actually touch this place. The town was full of casual racism and literally 0 black people. I overheard a classmate once complaining about black people taking jobs, and another classmate literally called them out - “what black people?” It was true. Most people develop political affiliations and ideas in a vaccuum, and these ideas are never really tested or challenged.
The vast majority of politics in the town are centered around the town supervisor, and ages-old clan-like family disputes. Some native identity too, which struck me as odd, but there it is.
Poverty was pretty nasty there. Essex county is in the lowest quarter of New York counties in terms of median family household income. About a quarter of Crown Point lives below the poverty line. The only source of significant employment was the International Paper plant in nearby (ish - like 20 miles away) Ticonderoga.
Really, this chunk of New York has more in common with northwestern Vermont and Quebec than it does with the rest of the state. I knew about Bernie Sanders ages ago, because he was actually a relevant figure in regional politics.
That extreme isolation from the consequences of politics, I think, creates a situation where people treat their votes as meaningless. Nothing ever changes for you, so why not toss your vote at something impossible, right? You’re safe, so you can fuck it up for everyone else and just keep on living your hopeless, depressing, poverty-stricken life.
I miss the scenery, but life there was soul-crushing.