Why There’s No Trump in ‘Moundsville’

I have an essay in Sunday’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that tells the story of premiering Moundsville in Moundsville, WV. It also tackles the T word. One reason journalists got obsessed with telling stories about small-town America is, of course, the 2016 election. Explaining why people in places like Moundsville moved to support Donald Trump was something we thought we’d be doing, too, when we started making Moundsville. And, when we filmed the movie, we asked every single person (around 40, total) we interviewed about who they voted for in 2016, and why. I’m guessing a bit over half voted for Trump. (In the whole county, it was 73%-22% for the president.) There were some interesting surprises. But when it came time to edit tens and tens of hours of interviews into a 74-minute movie, almost all the material about Trump was boring. People were basically saying stuff they had seen on cable news. And why not? How else would they get information? They don’t live in Washington. What they knew about was Moundsville and what had happened there. Talking about Moundsville is when our subjects sounded smartest and most thoughtful, and we wanted all our subjects to sound smart and thoughtful. And that’s why there’s no Trump in Moundsville.

John W. Miller

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