The Democrat Party has an image problem in middle America – a revelation that is not exactly a surprise to most of our readers. It is, apparently, a surprise to national Democrats.
Axios reports that a growing number of House Democrat candidates say the party is going to have to drastically improve its image and rhetoric if Democrats are going to have a chance at winning in the heartland.
Democrat strategists told Axios that they are indeed advising their rural clients to stray from the image of the national party – telling them to avoid “fancy” language, for starters.
Such advice dovetails with the message legendary Democrat strategist James Carville has been telling to anyone who will listen: the excessive woke-ism of national Democrats is hurting the party.
“So often, Democrats come across with this metropolitan arrogance, urban smugness that people feel, and it hurts us,” Carville said.
New from me, the first in my new @axios series Swing Country: A growing swath of House Democratic candidates says the party needs to radically improve its heartland appeal to have any hope of keeping power in Washington. https://t.co/p2CxASd0IT
— Alexi McCammond (@alexi) July 19, 2021
Wasn’t Always A Problem
The issue of having a split personality was not always a problem for Democrats. Long having been seen as the party of “the working man,” Democrats were the best friend of unions and and other blue-collar, working class Americans.
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But these working class people also cared about social issues as well. And having people in the party like former President Barack Obama talk about the working class folks who “cling to guns and religion,” and Hillary Clinton talking about “baskets of deplorables,” didn’t help.
Further, looking at any sampling of woke word salad used by national Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is enough to make any rural voter cringe.
AOC today on the filibuster debate pic.twitter.com/Q0owlrGCsT
— Jeff Stein (@JStein_WaPo) June 27, 2021
Democrats Trying To Decide If They Need Rural Voters
The Democrat Party itself is making things difficult for rural Democrat candidates.
The party has more than demonstrated their affinity for a coalition of urban black and latino voters, the transgender community, and militant environmentalists as the desired base of the party in order to pursue a far-left agenda.
It is that all-important agenda driving strategy for the party. Reporter for the Washington Post Holly Bailey has written that many in the party think it is “crazy” to try to attract rural voters.
She also writes, “rather than tying themselves in knots chasing a deeply conservative electorate that loves guns, opposes abortion and is firmly in the GOP camp, Democrats need to focus on driving up enthusiasm among people who share their values.”
One activist said, “Instead of chasing and obsessing over voters who are not obsessing over us … what if we invested in voters who are more likely to vote for Democrats? Women of color vote 3-to-1 for Democrats, compared to white guys. It doesn’t make sense to use a strategy we know loses elections.”
Many progressive Democrats feel that paying attention to a demographic they believe is mostly white, and therefore overrepresented, should be downplayed and not reinforced.
@JDScholten JD; you want some rural Iowa Democrat issues?
I’m a rural IA-04 resident. My property taxes have went up 5% every year for the last 5 years. Yet, my rural gravel road receives less rock maintenance every one of those years. Why is our rural infrastructure suffering?
— Don Davidson (@DonDavidson74) July 17, 2021
Reconciling The Two Faces Of The Party
Several Democrat consultants have stated that while certain Democrat policies are popular in rural areas, it is the messaging that is the problem.
Monica Tranel, who is running for the newly-added Montana House seat, says in a new ad, “So many people I grew up with don’t vote for Democrats anymore.” She added, that, “They feel like Democrats look down on rural America.”
The state has been represented by a Republican Rep. for nearly 25 years.
Another case in point: long-time Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), who is running for the Senate, in a three minute ad never says he is a Democrat.
A few policies that Democrats should embrace to rebuild their rural appeal: universal access to broadband BUT include allowing cities to set up their own ISPs, free trade w/ a focus on Ag (farmers & ranchers need market access), small biz start-up grants, heartland visa expansion
— Blake Allen (@Blake_Allen13) July 17, 2021
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