Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Democrats need to fight for rural post offices, opines liberal editor of Wisconsin daily

The Democratic party, which many feel has shifted its focus more on urban areas and less on rural ones—which likely resulted in the party's losing a Senate majority in the last election—needs to rededicate itself to rural America if it wants to be relevant in future elections. One way Democrats can reconnect with rural America is to help save rural post offices, opines liberal journalist John Nichols, associate editor of The Cap Times in Madison, Wis.

Here is an excerpt from his column:
John Nichols
"Rural post offices are more than just places where people pick up mail. They serve as informal community centers. They give small towns definition. They keep rural businesses connected to markets.

"If Democrats were identified as absolute and unequivocal defenders of rural post offices, the party would benefit. That’s simple, practical politics.

"Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders knows this. It’s one of the reasons why he is running well in rural states. The senator from Vermont is ahead of Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton in polls from the first primary state of New Hampshire. And he is pulling even with Clinton in the first caucus state of Iowa.

"The senator has a long record as a defender of the Postal Service, maintaining that “it makes no sense to downsize the Postal Service by tens of thousands of workers, slow mail delivery service and devastate rural communities by closing their post offices.

"American Postal Workers Union President Mark Dimondstein, who will appear Saturday at Wisconsin’s Fighting Bob Fest (along with Congressman Mark Pocan, an outspoken defender of the Postal Service), said: 'Bernie Sanders has been an outspoken champion of postal customers, postal workers and the public Postal Service—demanding expanded services for all Americans, an end to mail delays and an end to the closure of postal facilities.'

"Sanders defends the Postal Service—and especially rural post offices—with the same passion that he defends Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Instead of accepting austerity lies and death by slow cuts, he calls for investing in the renewal and extension of the Postal Service.

“'The Postal Service should be speeding up the delivery of mail, not slowing it down,' said the senator. We should be working to strengthen the Postal Service, not sending it into a death spiral.'

"Sanders is precisely right about this.

"No matter where he finishes in the presidential race, the Sanders approach to rural issues in general, and to postal issues in particular, ought to be embraced by the party of FDR and the New Deal. It makes no sense for Democrats to talk about preserving Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid but not to talk about preserving a Postal Service that is vital for all Americans—but essential for rural Americans."

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