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Fmr. Dem Senators: “Without Rural Voters, Democrats Will Flatline in 2020”

Fmr. Dem Senators: “Without Rural Voters, Democrats Will Flatline in 2020”

Heitkamp: “[U]nless we do a better job engaging rural Americans, Republicans will have a massive head start in every race for a Senate majority”

In April, former Senators Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Joe Donnelly (D-IN) launched the One Country Project. They developed this project as an effort to help Democrats win back the Senate and White House in 2020.  The focus of the project is on rural America and its “forgotten” voters who turned out in droves for President Trump in 2016.

They are now sounding the alarm and warning Democrats that winning the Senate in 2020 is an uphill battle.  And they’re not wrong.

KVRR reported on the group’s launch at the time:

Two former Democratic senators from red states who lost re-election bids in 2018 are leading a campaign to help their party win back votes in rural America.

North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp and Indiana’s Joe Donnelly are starting an initiative called the One Country Project.

Its website states that Democrats need to “reopen the dialogue” in areas where people have traditionally voted Republican.

The group aims to get Democrats on board to retake the White House in 2020.

The One Country Project’s focus on rural voters is unmistakable on their website.  Their stated mission is as follows:

The One Country Project is dedicated to reopening the dialogue with rural communities, rebuilding trust and respect, and advancing an opportunity agenda for rural Americans.

They have also posted the following graphic showing the importance of the rural voter in presidential elections:

Additionally, they feature “In the News” stories focused on issues of concern to rural voters whom Democrats have ridiculed, insulted, and ignored for decades.

Heitkamp is among the few remaining Democrats who knew all along that “deplorables” vote, too.  Donnelly, not so much.  Nonetheless, they’ve joined forces to turn out the rural vote for Democrats . . . and in warning Democrats that they may not win the Senate in 2020.

Axios reports:

Republicans have a significant head start in the race to keep control of the Senate, per this group’s analysis.

  • Because of their stronghold in rural areas, and based on previous presidential election results, the GOP has a 40-seat, “built-in base in the Senate.”
  • Compare that to just 26 Senate seats that Democrats are best positioned to win.
  • That’s prompting some Democrats — like former North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, who’s a founding member of One Country Project — to sound the alarm ahead of 2020.

“[U]nless we do a better job engaging rural Americans, Republicans will have a massive head start in every race for a Senate majority and a lock on enough seats to stand in the way of a Democratic president’s agenda,” Heitkamp said. “If nothing changes, Democrats will never have more than a hope and a prayer of eking out a slim Senate majority — at best.” [emphasis in original]

While Democrats in 2020 are defending only 12 Senate seats to the Republican 22, they are facing a disadvantage because the majority of the Republican seats are in states that went heavily for Trump in 2016.

Axios continues:

Those “built-in” advantages are based on each party’s “base” states, where they won the presidential vote by 10 percentage points or more in the last election.

  • Democrats won 13 states by that measure in 2016, which translates to 26 Senate seats.
  • Republicans won 20 states by that measure, which gives them an advantage in 40 Senate races.
  • In 2020, there are 22 Republican incumbents up for re-election compared to just 12 Democratic senators.
  • Conventional wisdom says that the GOP should be more vulnerable given those numbers. But since these Republican incumbents mostly come from states that heavily support President Trump — and considering Senate results increasingly match presidential results — this could pose another challenge for Democrats.

The Democrats could make modest gains, but it seems unlikely, at this point, that they will retake the Senate.  Indeed, they could conceivably lose more seats to Republicans in 2020.

Vox reports:

The No. 1 item on the agenda for Democrats in 2020 is defeating Donald Trump. But the Democratic agenda hinges on retaking the Senate. And that could be an uphill battle.

Senate Republicans hold a three-seat majority and will have to defend 22 seats in 2020. Democrats, meanwhile, are up in just 12 states. But the map still doesn’t look good for them.

“What makes this map very deceiving was in 2018, Democrats had to defend five seats in states Trump won by 19 points or more,” said Jennifer Duffy, a Senate expert at the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. “In this case, there’s no Republican sitting in a state that Clinton won by more than 5.”

Just three Republican seats seem truly competitive, as far as the Cook Political Report is concerned: Colorado, Arizona, and Maine. The rest is a sea of red, including the seat Democrats have to defend in ultraconservative Alabama.

Ultimately, the eventual Democrat presidential nominee will also likely influence how rural voters vote down-ballot.  If Democrats select a raving socialist lunatic hellbent on economy- and nation-destroying policies like the ones in the current clown car of progressive/socialist/communist presidential hopefuls trumpet, their chances of flipping a red seat will be vanishingly small.


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I’m thinking LGBTQ-E-I-E-I-O doesn’t play real well with these voters.

Nor does open borders.

Or nationalized health care.

Or slavery reparations.

Or FREE-FREE-FREE shit for everybody.

Don’t get cocky – remember, the ‘incumbent’ in Arizona is loser RINO McSally, who BADLY needs to get primaried.

    txvet2 in reply to Olinser. | July 30, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    She was, two years ago, by a real conservative. You can see how that worked out. Now she’s the incumbent and nobody is going to take on that losing battle. Arizona wanted her, they stuck us with her, and the only way she’s going to go away is to lose to a Democrat. We threw away Senate seats two years ago because of infighting – do you want to do the same thing again?

    I agree. McSally is a mediocre candidate who has a history of running lousy campaigns. It is possible she may flip BOTH Republican US Senate seats in Arizona to Democrats in the span of two years.

“Forgotten”? Why, no… I haven’t felt forgotten in almost three years.

Maybe they need to bring out some of the Hollywood STARS to the rural heartland …. yea, that’s the ticket! I’m sure them rural folk will just eat that stuff up!

Best way for democrats to attract rural voters is to call them deplorable racists, demand they pay repatriations to people who hate them and attack them on the streets.

Yup, that outta do it.

The “dialogue” with rural voters has been getting louder and more intense, without let up, for years. It goes something like this:

DEMOCRAT POLITICIAN/ACTIVIST: You people are deplorable! Why can’t you just be LGBTQ+ like everybody else?

RURAL VOTER: Uh, what? That’s not very nice.

DP/A: How dare you attack me, you racist!

RV: What did you just call me? F#!% you! I’ll never vote for you now.

I rather suspect a significant segment of the rural demographic consists of people too busy to bother with the opinions of blithering urban coastal Democrats — except to point and laugh when subjected to cable news in a bar or wherever.

I leive in a north dallas, texas suburb. Beto signs dominated inside the citi limits, however, not a single beto sign could be found. Family lives in rural wisconsin. Similar story

Nice graph. I particularly like the monotonic increase in the “Democratic Popular Vote Win Percentage” axis over to the right. That means they’re counting on rampant voter fraud to put them over the top in 2020.

And as always, the R’s are doing nothing at all to impede this.

There is now one open seat in this year’s Senate races. It is from Wyoming, because of the announced retirement of Senator Mike Enzi. He is really no great loss being he is a RINO. However, I don’t think a good solid conservative Republican will lose, because the Dems here in Wyoming have no one to come close.

Bitterlyclinging | July 30, 2019 at 6:45 pm

The coming tsunami of voter fraud will negate any head start the Republicans have. Lots of precincts will tally more ballots cast than registered voters

I live in a rural county where the cattle outnumber the humans. Since the last presidential election, many of my friends who were lifelong democrats have started seeing more and more of the Democrat’s effort to unseat Trump, their refusal to work with Trump or any Republican, the Mueller investigation debacle, AOC and her friends never ending racism/victimhood, and so much more. While my friends were the kind that just punched the Democratic Party ticket in the voting booth before, now they are being subjected to nonstop shenanigans by the Left/Democratic party and they are asking “What happened to my Democratic Party?”
Today, without exception, everyone I know who used to be a lifelong die hard Democrat is shocked by their party’s behavior. Every single one is now planning on either not voting or voting Republican. In fact, many are now claiming that, after looking into what the Republicans are standing for, they think the Republican Party is where the Democratic party of 25 years ago was at. Amazingly, the Democratic party seems so out of touch that they do not realize how they are hemorrhaging voters with their social justice and identity politics.

He don’t say.

Considering how important union workers will be in winning Wisconsin, Michigan and Minnesota and the inroads Trump has made in the black and latino vote, it looks like the Dems are digging a hole they will never be able to crawl out of.

The unions are not happy with Dems intention of stripping the unions of their Cadillac health care benefits and switching them to Medicare in order to fund healthcare for illegals. I’m surprised no one is talking about that. Trump may be a lock to win those and other union-heavy states.

Government employee unions are very big in CA too. Just sayin’. It is not inconceivable that Trump could at least make it close in CA, even with those 3-4 million illegal votes.

Donnelly and Heitkamp might want to tell their party to quit calling those rural folks racists and deplorables for starters, but we know that ain’t gonna happen.

buckeyeminuteman | July 31, 2019 at 1:20 pm

I’m sure Democrats will be able to find a woman to trot out in each of those states who vaguely remembers being inappropriately touched by the Republican incumbent 37 years ago at a drunken frat party or outside a courthouse on a park bench.

Thank you, Hillary Clinton and Barry O, for giving those of us in rural America some terminology we’ve embraced.

Deplorables, Bitter Clingers, Flyover Country. To name a few of the greatest hits.

Love as always. See you when the treason trials start.