"To these old Democratic political hands—many of whom hail from well outside the cities where most party professionals live—the outcome would have been preventable if the party had developed and sustained an effort to win over these voters," Roarty writes. "Instead, they say a Democratic Party that focused on only the urban and suburban vote either ignored rural America entirely or badly mishandled the outreach it did undertake."
Vickie Rock, a member of the Nevada State Democratic Central Committee from rural Humboldt County, told Roarty, “The Democratic Party ceded rural America to the Republicans quite some time ago. They invested nothing, they built no bench. They don’t even send out signs anymore, which is a staple of rural politics. All Trump had to do was peel off a small percentage of urban votes, and he was going to win. Because he already had, in his back pocket, rural America.”
Democratic strategists say one problem is that many candidates see all rural voters as being whites who work in agriculture, though rural areas have large black and Latino populations and are dominated by other occupations, Roarty writes. Others say voters just want to be made to feel important, a task that could have been accomplished if candidates had simply shown up in rural areas. Many didn't. And when they did, strategists say they "were ill-equipped for the nuances of a campaign in rural America" and told voters what to do, instead of listening to concerns. (Read more)