There are statistics, maps and numbers—and then there are people. Getting into the minds of voters is exactly what student journalists and instructors set out to do less than three weeks after Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States in a stunning victory that not many saw coming. One of the biggest swing areas sits along the Mississippi River Valley, a series of counties that voted for Barack Obama in 2012, and in some cases had been Democratic for decades. So, why the unexpected flip? The journalists traveled to Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota, states symbolic of the entire Rust Belt, on a mission to visit cities and towns, farms and businesses. Stepping into homes, taverns, streets and bingo nights and traveling to the one county that swung the most heavily for Trump in the entire United States, the journalists took photos, listened to stories and recorded emotions from one the most historic elections in history.

Click the menu in the upper right-hand corner to navigate to the three states, our documentary, photo galleries and more. Also, see our introductory video below.

By Media Milwaukee staff. Narrated by Brandon Anderegg.