THE PLAINS OF south-west Kansas are so flat that, looking towards the horizon, it sometimes seems possible to detect the curvature of the Earth. This is a place of mile-long freight trains, cathedral-like grain silos, occasional tornadoes and homages to “The Wizard of Oz”. The town of Liberal is said to have been named for an early settler famous among travellers for being free with drinking water. Liberal is conservative in a moderate Midwestern kind of way. It is also changing fast. Its big National Beef Packing plant relies on Hispanic migrants. Four-fifths of the children in Liberal’s public-school system are Hispanic. This should make the town receptive to Democrats, but Mr Trump easily won the county of which it forms part.

Hello. What is the meaning of the selected part. Can you paraphrase this please?

3 Answers 3


Liberal is a city in the administrative county of Seward. It is part of that county. In the 2016 election the electors of Seward County voted by a clear majority (57% to Clinton’s 37%, making it an easy win for Trump) for Trump as president. This is what the text refers to.


It seems as if you did not understand the point of this (complicated) paragraph.

There is a background that perhaps you did not understand. You need to understand two points which are not made explicit in the passage.

  1. The opening description of Kansas is of a rural, agricultural Midwestern state with conservative minded citizens, which will in general oppose social reform and so have a republican majority.

  2. Immigrants, including those of hispanic origin, in the majority of cases will tend to vote democrat (because many are disadvantaged in some way and approve of social reform). Moreover, the fact that eighty percent of the school population is hispanic would lead one to expect that the town of 'Liberal' (aptly named, ironically) would be majority democrat. But that is misleading: it only ,means that the influx of hispanic inhabitants has been two recent to have a corresponding majority among adults; they are a generation away from that.

So despite the large proportion of school children in the urban population, there is still a republican majority in the county as a whole.

This is not an attempt at a paraphrase, but my poor attempt to explain what lies behind it.

  • I only answered the question but I really enjoy the extra information you provided on background, so I marked up. Better luck in Liberal next time perhaps.
    – Anton
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 16:56
  • @Anton Glad to be of use: ELU is, after all about improving understanding, not about scoring more points than somebody else. Thank you, all the same.
    – Tuffy
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 17:19
  • Agreed. Points don't matter but it is nevertheless nice to know why tokens of approval (and disapproval) are given :)
    – Anton
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 17:22

Trump easily won the vote in county C. Liberal is a town in county C.

I've used the term county C, because I don't in which country Liberal is. Or in other words, of which it, Liberal, forms a part.

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