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Why Kansas Matters -- In These Times

Why Kansas Matters -- In These Times: "The new documentary What’s the Matter With Kansas? is a funny, smart and important look at the intersection of religion and politics in America today. Loosely based on the 2004 book by Thomas Frank, it tells the stories of several conservative Kansans who care deeply about hot-button cultural issues like abortion and gay marriage. According to Frank’s polemical thesis, Republicans succeeded in getting poor whites to vote against their own economic self-interest by focusing on these issues.

However, filmmakers Laura Cohen and Joe Winston devote little of the film’s 90 minutes to Frank and his argument, focusing instead on the lives and motives of their subjects. The documentary begins by following a Democratic canvasser who visits the home of a Republican who explains that he could never support the Democrats because they’re “pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, pro-gun control.” Then it shifts to a market where the Kansas Democrats booth can’t attract a crowd, while the “Choose Life” booth is busy signing up recruits and selling plastic babies for 25 cents."


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