Politics are divisive and reductive, and voters are squeezed into ill-fitting categories that rub, chafe, and restrict movement. The line between rural America and urban America is one that most presidential candidates straddle poorly, elevating the farmstead as true and authentic; and, on the flipside, rendering cities as elite and immoral.

For more on the town-country divide, check out this neat rumination on land use, demographics, and the election from the BLDGBLOG.

It would certainly be frustrating to think that a candidate doesn’t understand how a cattle ranch or an alfalfa farm operates, or that a candidate has no experience with a small town and its parent-teacher associations and so on – but it is extraordinarily troubling to me to think that a candidate doesn’t understand how, say, New York City functions – or Chicago, or Los Angeles, Miami, Boston, San Francisco, Denver, Seattle, Atlanta, or Phoenix – let alone the globally active and thoroughly urbanized economic networks within which these and other international cities are enmeshed.

Ends today: If you'd like to help CJR and win a chance at one of
10 free print subscriptions, take a brief survey for us here.

Katia Bachko is on staff at The New Yorker.