Wednesday, July 13, 2016

BBC Goes to Bakersfield

"If there's nothing going on at the oil fields, then there's not much going on here," says Edmondson. "That's our customers."

Black gold is the lifeblood of this blue-collar, conservative county - the heart of California's billion-dollar oil industry. This is the home of country music legends Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, who sang of the working man's blues.

Thousands of "nodding donkey" oil pumps dot the flat, blistering hot landscape.

It's a place where young men could earn a decent middle-class living in the oil fields without a university education; where the many orange, almond and grape fields have provided work for transients since Dust Bowl migrants came here for refuge in the 1930s.

It's also a place where Donald Trump's promise to "Make America Great Again" resonates.

"We need to bring companies back to America," says Dwain Cowell over breakfast at Zingo's. Regular customers nod in agreement as Cowell rails against the loss of the US iron industry to Vietnam, China and Japan.

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