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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Oy, The Rural Voters Again?

Yup. I'm again highlighting Booman's series about reaching out to rural and exurban voters in order for the Democrats to regain control of the country. It's one of the most important series of posts post-election that I've read. I'm not totally committed to Booman's conclusion that the change in rural and exurban voting was the factor that tipped the scales to Trump, but it's a factor I will look at very closely once we have the final tallies, and I also see the breakdowns from other states besides Booman's great analysis of Pennsylvania.. Says Booman:

The challenge is not just to sustain and hopefully grow their plurality base of voters, but to change the demographic nature of their supporters. This is why you’ll hear people like me say that the Democrats absolutely cannot ignore that they lost 75%-80% of the white vote in county after county in Pennsylvania and the Upper Midwest. This is the kind of racial voting we’ve seen in the South for years, and if it becomes the norm in the North it will make it impossible for the Democrats to win control of state legislatures in that region, make it nearly impossible to win back the U.S. House of Representatives, and give the Republicans a narrow opening to win the Electoral College with a minority of the popular vote, again.
A lot of people do not like the sound of that. But I don’t care how it sounds. It isn’t a value statement or an assessment of worth. It’s just a diagnosis of a problem. How you solve it, if it can be solved, is what ought to be controversial. The fact that it needs to be solved should not.
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But, unless the left is content to be a permanent minority in state legislatures and in Congress, and to lose presidential elections it should win, it has to solve this problem.
And part of solving it is in understanding how certain decisions and behaviors from the Democratic base made it easier for Trump to convince the white people in these counties that the Democrats were hostile and not on their side. I mean, this is a big challenge in any case, but the least we can do is not make it more difficult through our own myopic reaction.

If in fact it is the case, he's right. We have to figure out the how to solve the problem. But where I differ from some other liberals is that the solution needs to be at the expense of other groups in the big Democratic tent. We HAVE an economic message, and most people are on our side on most of the important issues. What we need to do is figure out how we get that message to these voters, not just past Alex Jones, Breitbart, etc; we need the mainstream media to talk about things other than e-mails. It took the Republicans a couple of decades of focused effort to gain influence over the media and other institutions. Who's going to write the Democratic equivalent of the Powell Memo? Hey, I might someday...