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.
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