When George Bush defeated John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election, the outcome didn't just hand the second-term president political capital, as he put it. It also seemed to confirm the thesis put forth by Thomas Frank in What's the Matter with Kansas?,
the book that came out earlier that year. In it Frank explores why Kansas has become an increasingly conservative state despite having a long history of left-wing populism. Frank believes that's in part because people stopped voting for pocketbook or economic issues, and started voting their values – where they stood on abortion or marriage or evolution.
Laura Cohen and Joe Winston decided to follow-up on the premise in Frank's book. Their documentary by the same name is being screened beginning Friday at the Gene Siskel Film Center. Alison Cuddy talked with Laura Cohen, Joe Winston and Thomas Frank about the film and the book.On screen:
What's the Matter with Kansas?
Gene Siskel Film Center