Back when the first presidential election was held in 1788, the United States was an overwhelming 95 percent rural. That number today is around 19 percent, with rural voters constituting an even smaller percentage of the electorate in the 2012 election than that. This week you've got the Secretary of Agriculture warning that rural areas are becoming less relevant, pointing to the failure of Congress to pass a farm bill as evidence of rural America's waning political power. It's an interesting trend to think about, given how rural areas shaped American politics for so long. From Jefferson's yeoman farmer to Lincoln and the GOP's Homestead Act (even as industrialization was winning the war for them) to Bryan's prairie populism. Even after the country became majority urban in the early 20th century, rural America continued to be politically important--think of the importance of farmers to the New Deal coalition. But rural American has continued to shrink. And now we've even got a genuine "urban" President (wink, wink). Times change.