The Tea Party first blamed union-friendly liberals for Rust Belt woes. In swept a host of GOP governors who promised austerity and fiscal responsibility. Deregulation would make Made in the USA competitive again because labor, not management, killed the goose that laid the golden egg.
If any state represented Sun Belt in the Rust Belt, Indiana does. Manufacturing still dominates there like no place else. All the polity needed was some middle class common sense ample in the sprawling, booming South. Baseline Indianoplace, "Downtown...was once so desolate that men armed with shotguns hunted pigeons on Sundays among empty buildings and a trash-strewn river canal."
Fair to say, Indianapolis is an exception to the Rust Belt city rule. Perhaps Richard Longworth is right to hold up the Sun Belt playbook for America's Middle West. Not. So. Fast. "Workers 'Devastated' by Carrier's Plan to Move Indianapolis Facility to Mexico":
"It's pretty damn bad when you've got people that figured they'd be able to retire there with some dignity and due to no fault of their own, now they're finding out they're not going to have a job," Chuck Jones, the president of United Steelworkers Local 1999, told RTV6 Tuesday.
Donald Trump gives voice to people like Chuck Jones. Manufacturers and Republicans promised workers some dignity in exchange for their vote. The GOP (and its subsidies) failed, miserably, to deliver. 2016 is the reckoning.