Maybe Democrats *and* Republicans should look at rural communities for the answer on messaging.
The Democrats might have ousted President Donald Trump and kept the majority in the House, but no one can describe 2020 as a blue wave.
Instead, it might be a sign of things to come if the Democrats do not change their focus.
The Democrats lost seats in the House, coming out with the slimmest majority since FDR’s time. There is not a lot of wiggle room to push through pet projects.
The Republicans will likely keep the Senate.
It seems when the Democrats are stuck in a hard place former candidates and strategists plead with the party to focus on the economy and jobs instead of healthcare.
Remember, just because someone is amplified and screaming *cough*AOC*cough* doesn’t mean that everyone agrees with that person.
People care about their jobs and money in their pockets to provide for their families, especially in the wake of COVID-19:
“I think that the message needs to shift more towards the economy,” said Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, who lost her race in November in a Miami-Dade County district that swung toward President Trump after voting overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
“There’s a lot of fear that many people here will not be able to get back to work, that they don’t know where they’re going to be able to find their next paycheck,” she said.
Following the election, Ms. Mucarsel-Powell wrote an opinion column that in part argued Democrats need to focus on the economy to win back support among Florida Latinos. Democratic lawmakers have also squabbled in private calls over what policies to run on.
Democratic National Committee spokesman Chris Meagher boasted the party used a successful message since they kept the majority and beat Trump.
Maybe it’s the people I speak to, but jobs and the economy are the most important issue. A poll a month before the election showed the same results.
The Protect Our Care group found coronavirus relief at the top of the list for voters.
So which is it? Republicans used healthcare in a lot of ads as well.
Is it possible the dominant message should combine jobs and healthcare? Look at rural communities. The people in those places are losing jobs and they have rundown hospitals.
Bill Hogseth is the chair of the Dunn County Democratic Party in Wisconsin. He wrote in Politico that Democrats lose in rural counties because the national party “has not offered rural voters a clear vision that speaks to their lived experiences.” He continued:
The pain and struggle in my community is real, yet rural people do not feel it is taken seriously by the Democratic Party.
My fear is that Democrats will continue to blame rural voters for the red-sea electoral map and dismiss these voters as backward. But my hope is for Democrats to listen to and learn from the experiences of rural people.
The signs of desperation are everywhere in communities like mine. A landscape of collapsed barns and crumbling roads. Main Streets with empty storefronts. The distant stare of depression in your neighbor’s eyes. If you live here, it is impossible to ignore the depletion.
Hogseth’s county chose President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, but went all in for Trump in 2016 and 2020:
This is a large part of why Trump won Dunn County decisively in 2016 and in 2020. I have spoken with supporters of the president who were well aware of his shortcomings or admitted to disliking his leadership style, but who nonetheless believed he was willing to stand up to “elitist” Democrats and fight for citizens like them. For years, rural people have heard they are voting “against their own self-interest” when they elect Republicans, or that they vote the “wrong way” because they are uneducated. These are arrogant and damaging messages that are not easily forgotten. The reality, as I saw in my conversations with voters this year, is that many rural people have lost trust in the Democratic Party.
Hogseth noted that Biden attempted to reach out to those in rural communities, but that “trust is earned slowly.” His community loved Obama due to his promises to take on the big agriculture monopolies, but his Department of Agriculture laughed “when it came time to enforce anti-monopoly rules such as those in the Packers and Stockyard Act, and failed to enforce Country of Origin Labeling, which would have allowed independent farmers and ranchers to better compete within the consolidated meat industry.”
Then Obama’s administration “presided over a series of corporate mergers in the food and agriculture sectors, including the Kraft-Heinz and JBS-Cargill mergers.”
Those two moves, including others probably, made the voters lose trust in the Democrats because it showed them Obama “did not have the backs of family farmers.”
I say it again: Why not both? The Democrats have become an elitist party. The Republicans should jump on this and keep reaching out to small-town America.DONATE
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