"While many voters in rural areas complained that Democrats forgot them in 2016, and party strategists rush this year to find a new message to bring them back in the fold, Democratic senators up for reelection in 2018 have little time to spare to fix their party’s issues," Severns reports. Ten of them are in states that Trump carried, and "These battleground-state Democrats are quick to note that they got elected in the first place by tending to voters outside their states’ biggest population centers."
|Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin and a Holstein cow. (AP photo)|
Republican consultant Scott Jennings "said the early moves are also a sign that the national Democratic Party could be a liability in the next election," Sevens writes, quoting him: “The reason they’re having to localize these things is because they have so badly failed at making their national message anything recognizable to people who used to be Democrats in rural America. They don’t have a handle on the hysterics that are still going on in their party, and until they get a handle on that they’re going to have a problem reconnecting with Trump voters.”
Robin Johnson, a part-time professor at Monmouth College in Illinois, told Andrews of the Journal, “If Democrats can’t do a better job of reaching out to rural voters and getting more of their votes, they’re going to be consigned a permanent minority status in Washington and state legislatures.”
The focus of Andrews' story is Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos, "the only member of Democratic Party leadership from the Midwest," who "has a new job: tutoring her fellow House Democrats on talking to the rural voters that her party has lost to Republicans," Andrews writes. "As one of just 12 Democratic House lawmakers representing a district carried by President Donald Trump in last year’s election, the future of Ms. Bustos’s party may depend on her instruction."
Bustos told Andrews that she tells incumbents and potential candidates, “Don’t write off small towns. Don’t write off the counties in your district that have gone Republican for the last several elections. Don’t talk down to anybody. Whether they voted for Donald Trump or voted for Bernie Sanders, talk to people, listen to people.”