"They were willing to overlook some of the really horrendous things about the candidate who got elected," she told me, "because he said a lot of other things about what they were feeling." Specifically, things Trump said about trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and how awful they are.
At first, it surprised me to learn this. I knew that Trump was critical of trade deals, of course. But I have always thought of farmers as big fans of free trade, since the US exports a huge amount of food. Farmers turned against Jimmy Carter because of his grain embargo on the Soviet Union, for example, and farm lobbyists are forever pushing for opening up trade with Cuba.
But these days, things are different. The way Perry tells the story, family farmers are now in the grip of a handful of immensely powerful international food companies, and the trade deals our government has been agreeing to for decades have only helped to strengthen those corporations at their expense.
Then there was Obama himself. None of us city folk remember it today, but in 2008 Obama was regarded as a savior by certain aggrieved small farmers.
Unlike nearly every other national politician, Obama seemed to get it back then: he promised to enforce antitrust laws against big food conglomerates and to do something about corporate livestock operations. "He really ran a campaign that related to agriculture," Rhonda Perry recalls. "Part of his platform," she continues, "was about reining in the corporate power and the monopolies that these companies have - it was about ensuring that there was going to be fair and competitive markets. None of those things happened."
What did crop up persistently when I talked to this group was a disgust with the perceived moral haughtiness of liberals. More than one member of the club referred to himself as one of Hillary Clinton's "deplorables", for example. There was resentment of "Ivy League graduates" who felt entitled to "micromanage the rest of the country". The man who told me that - a fellow wearing a US Army Retired cap - also told me that "if you want to be an obnoxious slob, you have a right to be one".