Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Democrats need to learn from mistakes, reconnect with white rural America, writer says

Regaining a Senate majority and recapturing lost gubernatorial seats means Democrats have to win the white rural vote that has largely swung in favor of Republicans, Matt Barron, president of MLB Research Associates, a political consulting and rural strategy firm in Chesterfield, Mass., writes for The Hill.

"This cycle, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) is headed by Montana Sen. Jon Tester while his counterpart at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), Rep. Ben Ray Luján, hails from northern New Mexico," Barron writes. "Tester, from the nation's seventh most-rural state, replaces Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet of Denver while Luján's district of mountains, buttes and pueblos is 32 percent rural, a stark contrast to his predecessor, Rep. Steve Israel, whose Long Island turf is choked by expressways and apartment complexes."

"But now, months into their new jobs, neither Tester nor Luján seem to have a strategy to compete for votes in the countryside, and the natives are getting restless," Barron writes. Tester and Luján refused to speak to Barron for this article.

Nate Timm of Mazomanie, Wis., chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin's Rural Caucus, told Barron, "The first thing they ought to be doing is paying attention to the folks on the ground who are closest to the rural areas. They need to be moving downstream to engage more at the county and community level on organizational and messaging strategies."

Vic Meyers of Trinidad, Colo., who lost a bid last November for Congress in the eastern plains of Colorado's 4th District, told Barron, "I'm watching what's going, on and it's like they [Democrats] didn't learn anything from last year's elections. [Democrats] have to start caring about something other than Wall Street and the big banks." (How the Senate currently looks)

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