The 2016 election might be remembered as the year of the rural revolt.

After an eight-year recovery in which urban areas saw most of the economic growth, rural Americans demanded change, voting overwhelmingly to put Donald Trump in the White House, where he said he would fight for them.

This was just as true in Maine, where, for the first time in history, the more rural 2nd Congressional District split its electoral vote from the state’s overall majority, voting for Trump over Hillary Clinton, running up big majorities in communities that had gone decisively for Barack Obama four years ago.

Rural voters have said that neither political party has been adequately listening to them, so they went with Trump, who might be listed as Republican on the ballot but has made clear that he has no commitment to party orthodoxy.

So now that everyone is listening, what are the concerns of rural America, and what are the policies that are likely to address them?

The obvious problem is the loss of manufacturing jobs, which were the lifeblood of many communities, like Maine’s mill towns. Since the 1990s globalization, new technology and a strong dollar have hollowed out the industrial base, making the good-paying jobs that would support a family on one person’s paycheck a thing of the past.

The impact has been more than just a loss of income. Rural Americans are experiencing a number of health and social problems that are feeding the frustration.

Chronic conditions like heart disease and high blood pressure are more common in rural areas, due in part to behavioral causes.

Tobacco use, the leading cause of preventable death, is far more common in rural areas, according to the American Lung Association. Not only is cigarette smoking more prevalent, but smokeless tobacco use is twice as common, too.

Obesity rates are also higher in the country. Alcohol abuse is higher in rural areas, and illicit use of opioids, once considered an urban problem, is making inroads in less-populated places.

The teen birth rate is nearly two thirds higher in rural areas than in urban America.

Perhaps the most troubling statistics relate to suicide rates, which are twice as high among youth in rural areas as in metropolitan areas.

In Maine, the highest poverty rates are in the most rural counties. The stress of growing up in poverty disrupts a child’s ability to learn.

These problems are related. It’s not just the jobs that disappeared – communities have been undermined as well.

And the critics are right: Neither party has proposed much that would change the picture.

When Democrats talk about economic development, they usually come around to the problems of paying for college. While that is an important priority, it does not mean much to a 50-year-old laid-off mill worker with a family who needs help right away.

When Republicans talk about cutting tax rates and reducing the size of government, they are not offering help to people who would benefit from government programs to expand access to health care.

And when Trump makes empty promises about bringing back manufacturing by erecting trade barriers and limiting immigration, he’s only delaying real action on the underlying problems.

The old economy is not coming back, but that doesn’t mean that a new one can’t replace it, just as the industrial economy replaced the agricultural one a century ago. It’s a matter of creating an environment where small businesses can start up and grow, and displaced workers are given the support they need to make it through the transition.

This election put the problems of rural America on the agenda. Now it’s time to do something about them.

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