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Why rural America doesn’t trust Joe Biden Campaigners can't be bothered with the voters

A future Democrat? Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

A future Democrat? Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group/Getty Images


June 14, 2024   5 mins

“The Democratic Party doesn’t give a shit about what voters have to say.” Eva Posner, a Virginia-based political consultant, is furious. She believes that the progressive establishment will pay for snubbing rural voters.

Forsaken by the Democrats, rural America has offered its soul to the MAGA movement. Donald Trump took 65% of the rural vote in 2020, up from 62% in 2016. The 2020 figure was even higher among rural whites at 71%. The resulting polarisation between blue cities and red countryside is a “byproduct of the Democrats”, says Matt Barron, who specialises in rural Democratic races as the principal at MLB Research Associates. “They don’t even try to compete in rural America.”

While only one in five people lives in rural or small-town America, the Republican Party has a monopoly over 24 states with large rural populations. The Constitution’s rural tilt means that the Republican Party can claim two senators for every state — however small or rural. As a result, the Senate is trapped in a stalemate with an almost equal number of Republicans and Democrats. Meanwhile, at the state level, rural voters give Republicans nearly double the number of state legislative chambers as Democrats. This, in turn, gives the Republicans more influence in the House of Representatives, which is also stuck in a deadlock.

But the Democrats haven’t always been rural pariahs. In the post-war era, the party regularly earned half of the rural congressional vote. In the Nineties, Bill Clinton won the heart of rural America, and in 2008, Barack Obama received 43% of the rural vote due to the strength of his grassroots organising. Yet Obama took his victory for granted. His operatives came to believe that the Democratic majority was destiny: there was no need to organise, canvass or traipse round knocking on doors.

“The Obama people showed-up [in 2008] and then they left — there was no follow-up,” Chloe Maxim, a former state representative in rural Maine, told me. “Voters felt abandoned.” The percentage of rural voters identifying as Democrat fell from 45% in 2008 to 38% in 2016. During the Obama presidency, Democrats lost 13 seats in the Senate and 69 in the House, as well as 11 governorships, 913 state legislative seats and 30 state legislative chambers. Rural voters were punishing Democrats for their betrayal.

After such humiliation, can Joe Biden win back rural America? It would certainly transform his electoral prospects: even a 5% bump with rural voters would be a “game changer”, according to Adam Kirsch, a Midwest-based Democratic political consultant. For one thing, control of Congress would no longer shift every two years, allowing a Biden White House to make headway with its political agenda.

The trouble is that rural voters are difficult to reach. In the Nineties, liberals all but ceded talk radio to the conservatives, an act of foolishness given the platform is crucial to connecting with a car-loving population. Soon after, the internet transformed the economics of newspapers: nearly 3,000 American newspapers have folded since 2005. Rural newspapers were hit especially hard. Today, more than half of all American counties have very limited, if any, access to local news. On top of this, nearly a quarter of rural Americans lack broadband internet. How can they keep up with Washington politics while living in a media vacuum?

Despite these obstacles, Democrats can move the electoral needle in rural America. They don’t even need to win a majority of the rural vote — just reduce the margin of defeat. Barron points to the 2020 Arizona senate election: in a race in which Democrat Mark Kelly spent nearly $100 million, it was a $20,000 rural radio advertisement that turned the tide. Unlike past Democratic candidates, Kelly took more than 30% of the vote in every rural Arizona county bar one. This turned out to be vital in a race decided by 60,000 votes.

“If the Democratic Party could be bothered, it could claw back rural loyalty.”

Political consultants, however, seem wary of this strategy: many would rather pad their bank accounts than reach out to rural voters and win elections. I was told by many sources that consultants prefer placing advertisements in urban rather than rural media, as their pay cut will be higher. Ricky Cole, the former two-term state chair of the Mississippi Democratic Party, tells me: “Our politics became nationalised by a cadre of professional operatives. It has become a big industry. It is a money game so that they can pay for their vacation homes. It is a cynical multimillion dollar Ponzi scheme.” Posner agrees: “It is about turf, power, and money. If the Democratic Party gave a shit, it would fund parties and campaigns from the bottom up.”

I keep hearing the same thing: if the Democratic Party could be bothered, it could claw back rural loyalty. Jane Kleeb, the state chair of Nebraska Democrats, tells me that four full-time paid organisers could turn the Cornhusker state competitive, if not purple. But alas, donors finance campaign consultants rather than grassroots organising. And campaign consultants would rather send mailers to dump leaflets on rural areas than pay grassroots activists. This is because, as Posner puts it, “consultants get a cut of the mailer. They don’t consult on actual strategy. They consult and decide based on their economic incentives.”

Their incompetence is leading the party to ruin. Without inspiring candidates or local organisation, the party’s brand in rural America is “non-existent”, according to Kirsch. Rural voters have come to see elections as “us versus them, not Left versus Right”. And the Republicans successfully appeal to the “us” mentality.

With party gentry deaf to the problem, a constellation of local and state Democrats is seeking to rebuild the grassroots Democratic Party. One of these rebels is Sara Taber, who is running to be North Carolina’s Agriculture Commissioner. The crop scientist and ex-farmworker refers to rural North Carolinians as “my people” and admits that in her neck of the woods, “it helps to know your place as a Democrat”.

Another is Ty Pinkins, an African American Democrat who is running against Mississippi’s white Republican incumbent, Senator Roger Wicker. It appears to be an uphill battle — but Cole thinks Pinkins has a real shot if Democrats can get out the vote. He points to 2023, when a Democrat, Brandon Presley, lost to Mississippi’s Republican governor, Tate Reeves, by 20,000 votes. The margin of defeat, he says, was a lacklustre African American turnout.

Pinkins seems determined not to repeat history. Slim and youthful looking, the 50-year-old politician is an army vet with a Bronze Star and Georgetown law degree. Since June 2023, he has put 70,000 miles on his Black Chevy Tahoe, canvassing in 67 of the state’s 82 counties. But his goal is not just to win one election; instead, he is building an entire get-out-the-vote infrastructure. He aims to have a campaign honcho in every county and a team leader in all 1,762 state precincts.

Can he succeed? Anthony Flaccavento, a farmer in southwest Virginia who ran for Congress twice as a Democrat and later set up the Rural-Urban Bridge Initiative, tells me that rural people often “believe Democrats just don’t like them”. Here, as in any relationship, trust is what matters most. For instance, during his 2014 Congressional race, Flaccavento was approached by a retired United Mine Worker raging against Obama’s support for gay marriage. Flaccavento had lived in southwest Virginia for years; he knew how to handle his interlocutor. In a span of three minutes, Flaccavento told him that Jesus had instructed humans to love another, and that he personally intended to do just that. The miner shrugged and admitted: “I guess they were just born that way.” He went away satisfied with the answer, not because it was a particularly original one but because Flaccavento had spent years building trust and respect in the local community.

Pinkins, too, understands the importance of trust. He says: “I see it every day. The moment you walk up to [voters], you see the look in their eyes. They are eager to tell you what is important to them.” But trust is a two-way bond. If the Democrats are going to take on MAGA in rural America, they’re going to have to trust small-town voters enough to try their luck.


Jeff Bloodworth is a writer and professor of American political history at Gannon University

jhueybloodworth

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Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
1 month ago

“We could be more electorally successful if we could just Get Out The Vote.”
If only it were that easy. Maybe you should try adopting policies rural people support, rather than assuming they’re just a laboratory rat you only need to wheel up to the feeder bar to get them to press it for a pellet.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 month ago

This garbage just pisses me off. No way the author or the Democrats he speaks of even has a clue. Not once in this whole damn article did I ever see a hint of “maybe we should change our policies”. Instead every time it is billed as a lack of enthusiasm or messaging problem. Nope! Guess what? Those rural voters don’t like things such as open borders, the trans targeting of children, gun control, hostility to churches, critical theory in schools, or Soros prosecutors. Hell, one of the best advertisements against you people is how everything goes down the toilet when your voters flee to another state and then try the exact same things.
If the Democrat party really wanted to make gains in rural areas they would need to make some compromises. As it is, the party has made it clear that they despise rural America and its culture and think that it needs to be stamped out. Don’t try to pretend otherwise. We hear it from smug faces just about every time we turn on the TV. I hate these people already. You know I looked at that Rural-Urban Bridge Initiative t**d. It was everything I expected. Progressive managerial class slickness combined with that nice progressive managerial class lack of substance. So, no. The simple answer is we don’t like you, we don’t trust you, and you are too damn ideological and lazy to change.

Citizen Diversity
Citizen Diversity
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

If the Democrat hopeful pacified the angry rural man with the statement that Jesus instructed people to love one another and that he, the hopeful, was going to do the same, if he and his party applied that to Russia and China, perhaps the Prince of Peace would reign.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 month ago

I’m a geopolitical realist not a geopolitical sucker. There is a difference between showing restraint and engaging in diplomacy when necessary and being hopelessly naĂŻve.

Wyatt W
Wyatt W
1 month ago

I can’t imagine he’s applying it to the unborn…

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Be honest: Weren’t you pretty angry before you came across and chose to read this article?

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 month ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

It was just smoldering.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Fair enough. Hope you select a few winners and have a good weekend.

Darwin K Godwin
Darwin K Godwin
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

The elephant in the room is that identity politics also includes zipcodes.

J Bryant
J Bryant
1 month ago

This is because, as Posner puts it, “consultants get a cut of the mailer. They don’t consult on actual strategy. They consult and decide based on their economic incentives. Their incompetence is leading the party to ruin.
I’m not sure I buy into the “it’s the consultants’ fault” argument. Surely the author of this article, and his friends, aren’t the only ones to understand how financial incentives lead consultants to choices that harm the Dems? Aren’t there at least a few senior Dems who understand the limitations of consultants?
The problem, imo, is there’s a significant number of influential, progressive Democratic politicians who truly dislike the white working class, especially rural whites. They honestly view them as “deplorables”. They somehow manage to romanticize illegal immigrants over their own working class, largely white, fellow Americans. Dems organizing at the local level will still have to overcome the obvious contempt the national Dem leadership has for rural voters.

Zeph Smith
Zeph Smith
1 month ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I’m not a big fan of the message that Dems just need to put more of their advertising and staff in rural areas, without any need to actually LISTEN to the people.
But if the campaign consultants get a cut of advertising expenditures and that distorts their advice, why can’t the Democratic leaders change that incentive structure? Only contract with consultants who don’t get what are effectively legal kickbacks from their recommended expenditures. Unless that system benefits them as well.

Andrew Vanbarner
Andrew Vanbarner
1 month ago

There’s very little within the Democrat party that rural voters would find appealing.
Climate regulations would destroy farming – fossil fuels are needed for every inch of food production, from irrigation to fertilizing to planting to pesticides to harvest and transport. Farms use huge amounts of diesel, natural gas, petrochemicals, and gasoline. Heavy batteries aren’t great in high or low temperatures, nor in muddy fields.
Rural voters aren’t anywhere near social welfare systems, and often wouldn’t qualify for much help anyway. Their incomes might be lower, but their assets – land, animals, farm equipment – can be very high.
They rely on firearms for recreation, protection, and to supplement their diets, and Democrats want to ban them.
And the fierce independence and self reliance many rural voters possess simply doesn’t align with the Democrats’ ubiquitous, authoritarian paternalism.
The social lives of rural voters often revolve around religious services, usually of a Christian denomination, but most Democrats replaced religious faith with a cult like devotion to leftist or progressive causes some time ago. Rural voters often idealize (though often don’t strictly follow) nuclear families and raising children, while Democrats see those as either “privilege,” or as some sort of retrograde activity.
There simply isn’t enough in the Democrat platform – and particularly in the progressive wing – to appeal to rural (and to many middle class suburban) voters. Democrats are largely a party of the very wealthy or the very poor. As a party, they largely view the working and middle classes with disdain, particularly if those working people live two hours or more from a large city.

Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
1 month ago

” liberals all but ceded talk radio to the conservatives, an act of foolishness given the platform is crucial to connecting with a car-loving population
I absolutely detest that bit of condescending leftie code for “climate change denier” that betrays a profound level of ignorance of reality outside the urban transit bubble.
” liberals all but ceded talk radio to the conservatives, an act of foolishness given the platform is crucial to connecting with a population that due to geographic reality, spends a lot of time in their vehicles”
Was that so hard?

Wyatt W
Wyatt W
1 month ago
Reply to  Walter Lantz

I think you’re being a little too sensitive. As someone in rural Wisconsin, saying car-loving (for us at least) is very accurate.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago

1. Climate scientists don’t want to destroy farming—that doesn’t even make sense—they want better farming. It’s all about genetics and finding crops that can survive in high temperatures and droughts. Farmers know more about farming than climate scientists, so their expertise is invaluable.
2. I’m urban, liberal and go to church (Christian).
3. Bill Clinton was the beginning of the end that led to the Democrats losing the rural vote. Yeah, they voted for him, but he became more preoccupied with big money. NAFTA was the knife in the back.
4. Farms are the biggest welfare recipients in the country. They get tens of billions a year, mainly to pander to the rural vote. Remember Trump’s farm tariffs? Lots of rightfully angry farmers. Trump gifted them about 50 billion dollars to make the pain go away.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Excellent points. I’ll repeat my request for you to give yourself a more specific handle than the “UnHerd Reader” default. Either way, cheers and have a good weekend.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

I would love to get a handle! How do I do it?

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

When I signed up about a year and a half ago it was the first step but perhaps you have to email customer support now?

T Bone
T Bone
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Climate Scientists absolutely want to control farming. How many hundreds of thousands of pages do they need to write before you’ll stop seeing it as a conspiracy theory. The Earth Doctors demand emergency powers to dictate farming practices that severely reduce carbon and methane emissions to stem the “Climate Crisis.”

This is hardly a debatable point so you can stop acting like the “reasonable person” among radicals while you placate actual radicals.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 month ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Please give a summary of temperature and carbon dioxide levels over the last 550 million years. Why was it 5-6 centigrade warmer in the Mid Eocene Thermal maxima ?

Rob N
Rob N
1 month ago

What a weird article. Spouts lots of percentages which make no sense.

Tom D.
Tom D.
1 month ago

“Meanwhile, at the state level, rural voters give Republicans nearly double the number of state legislative chambers as Democrats. This, in turn, gives the Republicans more influence in the House of Representatives, which is also stuck in a deadlock.” Sorry, how is that state level legislative representation gives “in turn” greater representation in the House? That’s not true, and making the statement implies the author doesn’t understand basics of US political system.

Ryan Scarrow
Ryan Scarrow
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom D.

Legislatures are in charge of drawing lines for Congressional districts, and often the party in power draws them in a very favorable fashion for their own candidates to keep winning, ie: gerrymandering.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 month ago

Another stupid headline. Everyone with eyes can see that Joe Biden is a dementia-addled puppet. No one need distrust him, as he merely does what he’s told – when he can actually stand up.

People all over the country – urban, suburban, small town, and rural – don’t trust the political class and their atrocious media. We have seen them give aid and support to violent rioters setting cities aflame, watch as they literally fly illegal aliens from every corner of the globe into our country, persecute a president in every way imaginable, refuse to prosecute criminals whilst throwing innocent people in prison for political reasons.

In fact, we detest these people – in both parties. No consultant or strategy is going to change that. And, boy, have they earned it.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 month ago

Biden is a person of middling intellect with a speech impediment that makes him sound stupider and more confused than he is. Like Trump, he’s lost a step, but the dementia talk is pretty unfounded, or at least way exaggerated. It’s nowhere near what Reagan suffered in his second term.
While Trump has always been more intelligent than Biden and remains so, DJT is becoming an even worse person over time, whereas Biden has improved as a man and public servant. Is he great? Nah, just comparatively non-terrible.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 month ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

This is hilarious, if it weren’t so deluded. Biden is an expedient. He has been regarded as an intellectually useful oaf since he was 29 by his own excrescent party (his public statements on race are well-documented). And his entire family have been living off his political pandering for decades.

Biden”s “speech impediment” – never displayed when praising at any other time his mentor, the racist KKK official Robert Byrd – is the result of dementia and drugs. Every honest person knows this. He’s a 60’s Star Trek episode.

I’m only responding to you because I suspect you’re a paid sh*t poster. And if you’re not, I’d hope that you will defend your positions.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 month ago

You’re in a deep bubble and your frequent rants are in far more need of exposure to air and perspective than anything I’ve said here.
Biden’s speech impediment has existed since childhood and is well documented. Choose any number of non-fringe sources to confirm this, including Forbes and PBS. Speech impediments come and go according to nerves and situations, another well-established fact.
Biden did and to an extent still does an have unsettling affection for old-school Southerners across the Senate aisle, but I think this has largely to do with his deep and sincere bi-partisan leanings. If he wasn’t swimming in such viciously polarized streams he might be able to make more of that quality. In any case, I don’t think Biden would invite e t h n o-nationalists like Stephen Miller or Steve Bannon into his inner circle, nor have Nick Fuentes over to dinner, then pretend to not know who he is.
I wouldn’t say he’s quite a “oaf, but a C student at about the level of George W. Bush, whose presidency I assume you were also outraged about at the time. And Biden is decidedly less cognitively impaired than Reagan at the beginning of his second term, during the onset of actual Alzheimer’s.
I don’t think Biden has ever been drunk in his life, nor high on drugs, largely in reaction to a bad drunk of a father. Trump is the same way, largely in reaction to his bad drunk of an older brother. So whatever their respective faults and virtues, which we could debate until the donkeys and elephants all escape their enclosures without persuading one another much, if at all: You should at least put that particular cheap shot to bed*.
I appreciate your not infrequent insights and think you have a robust sense of humor–especially when you let up on your mean streak. Enjoy your weekend.
*If you’re talking about prescribed medication of one kind or another then you should specify and defend your claim.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 month ago

At no extra charge, I’ve made a longish reply addressing all your key claims–in away I’m quite sure won’t satisfy you–but it wont post and probably won’t for 18 hours. Enjoy your weekend.
[It genuinely blows that my initial long reply to Ms. Barrows has been disappeared again after briefly posting, 18 hours after I first pressed “post”. Granted, some of my language was accusatory and impolite–but look at her tone!! (“Mom, Alison’s bein’ mean again!”). There’s some pretty uneven editorial enforcement here, and the (un)herd can downvote an otherwise compliant comment off the island for some multiple of 6 hours.]

Zeph Smith
Zeph Smith
1 month ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

Are you comparing Biden 4.5 years from now with Reagan at the end of his term? Or Biden today with Reagan at the end?
Look, I voted for Biden and will probably be forced to do so again (less immediate danger), but some of the times when he seems to be losing track today seem a lot worse than 4 years ago, so I don’t think emergent dementia is so absurd.
(I’ll upset people by saying that Trump doesn’t seem too far behind, but his bombastic style tends to make it harder to pinpoint the difference between his personality and a decreasing capacity).

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 month ago
Reply to  Zeph Smith

Fair question. The comparison is better for my argument if I can skew the timelines. I’m worried about where Biden will end up, if re-elected, in four years too. With rare exceptions, no one over 75 should ever run. Now we get an election with two ancient guys who (understandably) aren’t at their best?
(Your parenthetical concluding point is valid. Trump only seems young and undiminished in comparison to Grandpa Joe; look at footage of DJT from 2005 or earlier and tell me he hasn’t slipped.).
I’m glad to see you chime in again, Have a good rest of your weekend.

Rosemary Throssell
Rosemary Throssell
1 month ago

Not one mention of a policy that would help rural voters, not one.
It’s all just a game, who plays it best is the winner. And you think those pesky voters with no degrees are stupid. They are not.

G. Kaminskas
G. Kaminskas
1 month ago

This article s an example of the pro-left bias UnHerd has developed and which will lead to me unsubscribing, along with hundreds of other people.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
1 month ago
Reply to  G. Kaminskas

I still find UnHerd to be a center right publication overall. I don’t mind articles from a left perspective once in a while. My issue with this one is it’s severely lacking in actual substance. If UnHerd wants me to unsubscribe then what they would actually have to do is get rid of these comment sections where we can call articles and arguments out.

Norfolk Sceptic
Norfolk Sceptic
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

Unheard is becoming like the Telegraph used to be: the comments being better than the article.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
1 month ago

“Forsaken by the Democrats, rural America has offered its soul to the MAGA movement.”
Finding this sentence at the beginning, don’t expect a reality based discussion of culture war conservatism in the heartland. Flyover country anger directed at the Left isn’t because Democrats ignore them; it’s because Woke Democrats (the ones in charge) make no secret of actively despising them – and have for decades. Google “deplorables.”

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
1 month ago

This is what I like about UnHerd: the diversity of opinion. Some articles are, good and thoughtful. Some are ignorant, ideological garbage, like this one.

Zeph Smith
Zeph Smith
1 month ago
Reply to  Martin Johnson

Agreed about the value of hearing diverse opinions, rather than all articles being in lockstep.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
1 month ago

The ad buy argument seems a little disingenuous. Unless something has changed, political consultants can contact one person and place an ad in virtually every rural newspaper in the country. It would be an extremely expensive ad buy. All these small newspapers are members of weekly newspaper associations.

William Simonds
William Simonds
1 month ago

The resulting polarisation between blue cities and red countryside is a “byproduct of the Democrats…They don’t even try to compete in rural America.”

Convenient, but wrong! What Democrats are actively doing is firing up young urban voters to demand election by popular vote…essentially assigning all future national elections to 5 big cities. There was a reason the Framers set up the Electoral College: to blunt the impact urban centers on the popular vote. This move has already started with the passage of National Popular Vote laws that will assign a state’s electors to whoever wins the majority of votes nationwide regardless of how that state voted for that office.
It is not that Democrats are ignoring rural voters. Quite the opposite. They are actively trying to disenfranchise them.

Hazel Gazit
Hazel Gazit
1 month ago

Hilary called them “deplorables”, showing Washington elite distain for regular, working people.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
1 month ago

Rural America is a bit more than “forsaken” by Dems; it is despised by the party faithful. On a good day, its residents occupy flyover country. On a more typical day, they are inbreds, ignorant, and a host of other insults.
Anthony Flaccavento, cited in the article, has the self-awareness to understand it, though “they don’t like us” undersells reality. No, they hate rural people. With the passion of a thousand suns. And it has nothing to do with Obama’s conversion-of-political-convenience on gay marriage. It’s tied to things such as “learn to code” and other talking points that are thoroughly dismissive of people who mostly ask to be left alone.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 month ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Plug in “coastal elites” for “rural America” and you have mutual contempt for which “they started it” or “yeah, but they’re worse” is not a good excuse at all.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 month ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

The Frankfurt School started undermining Western Civilisation from 1919 onwards, Gramsci started in the 1920s. Post Modernism entered Yale in the late 1960s.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 month ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Arguably, cynical geniuses like Descartes, Hobbes, Gibbon, Hume, and Voltaire started undermining it much earlier. Don’t get me wrong: I like some of Hume and Voltaire too, but a portion of their radical anti-traditionalism was irresponsible.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
1 month ago
Reply to  AJ Mac

May agree with you on Voltaire, need convincing on others.
The Frankfurst School starts because of the failure of the Marxist coup in 1919. Privates and generals united to defeat the Marxists which made the FS school realise patriotism was stronger than clar war. Therefore undermine the state and hence patriotism. Gramsci realised Marxists have to infiltrate all cultural aspects of Western Society in order to gain power which is what the Democrats are achieving.
One of the simplest methods is to lower standards for entry to humanities degrees by removing need to pass exams in Latin and Greek for entry. One can then turn scholarship into agitprop.

Utter
Utter
1 month ago

Nice range of opinions in the comments.

El Uro
El Uro
1 month ago

Jeff, you shouldn’t have published this article.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago

the Taliban would be nothing without rural voters

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 month ago

As a political independent living in small town America , I find the comments excellent and the article horseshit. Making it easier for me to vote will make it easier to vote against the Democratic Party,…. and I was a devout Democrat for most of my adult life!

Studio Largo
Studio Largo
1 month ago

The ‘improve our messaging’ trope is just further proof of how Insufferably smug the Democrat elites are. Your message is coming across loud and clear, which is why so many of us vociferously hate you. The woke left are more than just anti-democratic, they’re anti-human. And by the way, I’m a former reluctant supporter of Democrats who lives in Chicago.

Zeph Smith
Zeph Smith
1 month ago

This has not a single word of reciprocity – of listening to rural voters and potentially modifying policies with their interests in mind.
It nominally talks about two way trust, but not about earning trust through actions vs appearances. It reminds of the old joke of the actor asked about success, who said the key is authenticity, once you can fake that you have it made.
So the article sounds like “take on a superficial patina to get their vote” without any “listen to their concerns and find some compromises which consider their needs and desires valid”.
If Democrats want to drain the dissatisfied voters who wind up gravitating to Trump, they need to provide something meaningful in return. Even if that means upsetting some of their progressive base. They are not going to win over more of Rural America through theatrics and slight of hand.
Also – every election the Democrats lose more non-white voters; their base in increasingly white and educated, which serves them financially. But their hope that changing demographics will favor them is slipping away.
I don’t trust either party. I will vote for what seems (to me) to be the lesser evil. At the moment, I tentatively consider Trump a greater short term threat (more due to his personality than his actual policies), but the Democrats possibly a greater threat in the long run. That balancing become more painful every election. I wish there was a party I could more whole heartedly support.

AJ Mac
AJ Mac
1 month ago
Reply to  Zeph Smith

Good post. I take back what I said above about you never chiming in on your own behalf.

Hale Virginia
Hale Virginia
1 month ago

As a former Dem myself, what does the modern Democrat have to offer rural voters anyway? I’d argue not much, and compared to the Repubs the gap is pretty glaring. I don’t even live in a rural area and I don’t find they have much to offer me anymore. It’s not just GOTV efforts, but it’s nearly their entire platform that is turning away once solidly blue voters like myself. The Democrat party needs to do some soul searching, if one even exists at this point.

blue 0
blue 0
1 month ago

I live in a rural area in a rural state. It’s not that the Democrats message is not heard in rural America. it’s that it is heard and rejected.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
29 days ago

Democrats find it hard to reach rural voters? They’ve reached my rural community quite handily and the clear message is: “You’re in the way of our globalist agenda so, regardless of any rules governing to the contrary, we’ll see to it your vote doesn’t count.” The reason a substantive message on issues isn’t brought to rural voters is because that effort is not relevant to how the Democrats intend to win.