That Trump-- And The GOP-- Are Beloved In Rural Districts Is The Ultimate Con
The video above was released the morning by Austin Frerick's campaign for an open Iowa state Senate seat. Austin isn't some starry-eyed Democrat hoping to win over rural voters by promising them better broadband, which rural communities desperately need and which Frerick will help fight for. Frerick's campaign, however, is looking at the problems facing rural communities at a more granular level. He talks a lot with rural voters about "a concentration crisis" facing rural America. "Traveling and visiting communities across the state," he wrote today, "I've seen how family-owned businesses and family farms have died off or consolidated into larger entities, seeing the negative impacts of this concentration. If we allow multinational, foreign-owned companies and out-of-state special interests to take advantage of our soil, our water, and our Local institutions, we allow them to take advantage of our communities. Without having Local leaders and business owners, we lose who we are as a community. I want to prioritize Local in the Iowa Legislature. I am running to
offer a new economic and agricultural vision for Iowa because too often, the visions of our elected officials do not prioritize Local. We need to stop prioritizing ultra-wealthy, multinational corporations and individuals and instead talk about what we can do to enhance Local communities. "
He wrote that part of his platform includes:
Serving local food in Iowa schools by workers paid a fair wage.
Enforcing a ban on corporate and foreign ownership of farmland.
Supporting a state budget that bolsters the middle class and the economy rather than cutting community services.
This morning, AP ran a much-discussed peace, 'The brand is so toxic': Dems fear extinction in rural US With candidates like Frerick, why would they be in danger of extinction? With candidates like Frerick, they wouldn't be. Candidates like Frerick are an exception, not the rule.
Peoples wrote that in places like rural Pennsylvania-- an area thoroughly Foxified and living in a world created by Hate Talk Radio-- the Democratic Party "brand is so toxic in the small towns 100 miles northeast of Pittsburgh that some liberals have removed bumper stickers and yard signs and refuse to acknowledge their party affiliation publicly. These Democrats are used to being outnumbered by the local Republican majority, but as their numbers continue to dwindle, the few that remain are feeling increasingly isolated and unwelcome in their own communities... The climate across rural Pennsylvania is symptomatic of a larger political problem threatening the Democratic Party ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. Beyond losing votes in virtually every election since 2008, Democrats have been effectively ostracized from many parts of rural America, leaving party leaders with few options to reverse a cultural trend that is redefining the nation’s political landscape."
Please take a minute to listen to this song and watch this video a farmer and singer/songwriter in rural Massachusetts, Jim Lough, wrote and produced for rural North Carolina congressional candidate Erica Smith, whose compelling progressive campaign is centered on revival for his neighbors.
Another Blue America-endorsed candidate, Wisconsin's Tom Nelson, the only viable Democrat running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Ron Johnson told me this morning that "Right when we thought we couldn't fall any further-- along came the 2020 election cycle. There are two townships in my county that went 18 percent for Biden. Think of that. On a typical country road, just one farm family pulled the lever for Joe Biden. It doesnt have to be that way. The solution is simple: Show up, listen and champion rural issues-- because they're not a lot different than those in the suburbs or cities. Consider: if there is income inequality in the 53206 zip code in Milwaukee; there is income inequality on the family farm in Clark County. If there is lack of access to affordable health care at Aurora in Milwaukee because it is too damn expensive; there is a lack of access to an actual hospital in rural Wisconsin because all the rural hospitals have closed! If there is a lack of access to clean drinking water in Racine because of lead pipes, there is lack of access to clean drinking water in Kewaunee County because of run off from large-scale farms. Oh, and by the way. Those are ALL progressive issues."
In Pennsylvania, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a leading candidate in the state’s high-stakes Senate contest, insists his party can no longer afford to ignore rural voters. The former small-town mayor drove his black Dodge Ram pickup truck across five rural counties last weekend to face voters who almost never see statewide Democratic candidates.
Fetterman, wearing his signature hooded sweatshirt and gym shorts despite the freezing temperatures, described himself as a champion for “the forgotten, the marginalized and the left-behind places” as he addressed roughly 100 people inside a bingo hall in McKean County, a place Trump carried with 72% of the vote in 2020.
“These are the kind of places that matter just as much as any other place,” Fetterman said as the crowd cheered.
The Democratic Party’s struggle in rural America has been building for years. And it’s getting worse.
Barack Obama won 875 counties nationwide in his overwhelming 2008 victory. Twelve years later, Biden won only 527. The vast majority of those losses — 260 of the 348 counties — took place in rural counties, according to data compiled by The Associated Press.
The worst losses were concentrated in the Midwest: 21 rural counties in Michigan flipped from Obama in 2008 to Trump in 2020; Democrats lost 28 rural counties in Minnesota, 32 in Wisconsin and a whopping 45 in Iowa. At the same time, recent Republican voter registration gains in swing states like Florida and North Carolina were fueled disproportionately by rural voters.
Biden overcame rural losses to beat Trump in 2020 because of gains in more populous Democratic counties. Perhaps because of his victory, some Democratic officials worry that party leaders do not appreciate the severity of the threat.
Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee, who recently announced he would not seek reelection to Congress this fall, warns that the party is facing extinction in small-town America.
“It’s hard to sink lower than we are right now. You’re almost automatically a pariah in rural areas if you have a D after your name,” Cooper told The Associated Press.
Cooper, a reactionary corporate whore and Blue Dog, once represented a rural area but abandoned it when he had the chance to move to a safe blue seat (Nashville). Corrupt Democrats like Cooper are part of the problem, not part of the solution. Rather than face a tough gerrymander, the multimillionaire, out-of-touch conservative is slinking off into political oblivion. When you are experiencing extinction yourself, it's very easy to make headlines by telling the AP that the Democratic Party is facing extinction because it failed to turn itself into a pre-Trump GOP.
Peoples went to even worse corporate shills than Cooper for his story. He wrote, "Even if Democrats continue to eke out victories by piling up urban and suburban votes, former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota fears her party will have 'unstable majorities' if they cannot stop the bleeding in rural areas. 'Democrats have the House, they have the Senate, the presidency, but it’s an unstable majority. By that, I mean, the narrowest kind, making it difficult to advance ideas and build coalitions,' said Heitkamp, who now heads the One Country Project, which is focused on engaging rural voters. She criticized her party’s go-to strategy for reaching rural voters: focusing on farmers and vowing to improve high-speed internet. At the same time, she said Democrats are hurting themselves by not speaking out more forcefully against far-left positions that alienate rural voters, such as the push to 'defund the police... We’re letting Republicans use the language of the far left to define the Democratic Party, and we can’t do that,' Heitkamp said. 'The trend lines in rural America are very, very bad... Now, the brand is so toxic that people who are Democrats, the ones left, aren’t fighting for the party.'" I can't believe People missed an opportunity to speak about this with Claire McCaskill, another loser from a state with millions of rural voters, desperate to blame her loss during Democratic wave election on something other than her own myriad shortcomings.
Hank Linderman is a Democratic candidate running on a fully progressive platform for Congress is a blood-red Kentucky district (KY-02). He told me he's "focusing heavily on outreach to rural communities." He has plenty of credibility to do so as chair for Kentucky's Rural Council, where Democrats discuss strategies to reconnect the party rural voters without abandoning the party's values or principles. "Whether or not I win," he told me last week, "I want to use this race to make Kentucky's Democratic Party reach out to rural and working voters again, and hopefully start a similar trend across the country."
This morning, after reading Peoples' article, he told me that "Democrats stopped investing in rural and small town America decades ago; it meant they had resources to run in other places they thought they could win, but it also meant they weren’t even in the conversation in 2016. Winning isn’t the only reason to run for office, you run to make your party’s case, to listen to the people, to find the way forward. Right now, the way forward for Democrats is to have something to say to rural and small town America, and that really begins by showing up and asking what’s on your mind, treating each other like human beings instead of adversaries. There’s a lot of agreement between Republicans and Democrats, but only Republicans get heard because they are the only ones speaking in these districts. There is virtually no Democratic messaging in Kentucky’s 1st, 2nd, 4th, and 5th Districts. Activists, separate from the Democratic Party, have advanced Fairness ordinances in very conservative areas, but in the absence of messaging about how we keep your rural hospital open, raise pay for people who work, support small farmers, or get broadband to your door means that most rural and small town Kentuckians thing all Democrats care about is social justice. On the other hand, the success of the Fairness activists proves that if you put the work in, you will get results."
Hank Linderman-- and all of the other candidates on this page-- are running in districts Trump won. They need some help flipping their districts, help most of them are not getting from the Democratic Party nationally or even locally.