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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Is Antitrust the Answer to the Rural Voting Deficit?

Martin Longman has posted more about winning about the rural vote, particularly in Pennsylvania. If his electoral analysis for Pennsylvania holds for the other Rust Belt states (Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio), winning at least a portion of this vote back could be the most important factor in putting the country back in the right direction. Because of extensive redistricting, the Dems are at such a disadvantage in many downticket races that they need to do much better than 51-49 overall to gain control of the Senate, the House, and the state legislatures.

His strategy for doing this is for the Democrats to embrace antitrust practices:

Another is the one I have been focusing on which is using anti-trust law to bring back small business ownership in rural America. This should be coupled with a set of policies aimed at empowering people to learn the skills and get access to the capital to start small businesses. The promise isn’t to bring back the factories but to bring back the Mom and Pop hardware stores and banks and pharmacies. These are businesses that cannot be outsourced and that used to be privately owned instead of franchised.
Perhaps the national Democratic Party will be somewhat divided on these issues, but nothing prevents populist Democrats from running on this set of policies in rural communities all over the country.
I'd love it if I saw it working at all; I mean, antitrust was the original main focus of this blog. But it would seem to me that rural areas would be an especially difficult place to push this narrative, even if it would be really good for them. At this point, aren't they all very dependent on Wal-Marts and other big box stores? How do the Dems even try that without being overwhelmed by pro-big box propaganda?

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