A stunning report in Roll Call Thursday morning, on the heels of Wednesday’s re-election of Nancy Pelosi as House Minority Leader, suggests rural Democrats have been essentially abandoned by the party’s leaders “culminating in (last) month’s shock defeat to Donald Trump.”
At the same time, The Hill is reporting that Democratic donors were “stung” by Hillary Clinton’s loss to Trump. Many apparently “feel like they just set their money on fire.”
This ill will is surfacing at a time, says the Hill, when “top liberal activists” are preparing “for war with President-elect Donald Trump and a GOP Congress that is hell-bent on rolling back President Obama’s accomplishments.” It’s not clear what “accomplishments” the story is alluding to, since many conservatives feel he hasn’t accomplished anything worthy of note.
The Roll Call story quotes Vickie Rock, a member of the Nevada State Democratic Central Committee. She hails from Humboldt County.
“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.”—Vickie Rock (quoted in Roll Call)
Among the things Democrat hot shots on both coasts and in the big urban centers have forgotten is that their rural people are hunters, gun owners, small business owners or operators, or their friends and neighbors are.
One Georgia Democrat quoted by Roll Call complained that the party “was obsessed with driving up turnout in Atlanta and its surrounding suburbs at the expense of Democratic-friendly areas in other parts of the state. What happened seemed to match the scenario elsewhere. Democratic strategists told Roll Call that “they saw a party that believed it no longer needed rural votes to win elections.”
That man in Georgia was identified as Ted Sadler, “a Democratic political hand.” And here’s what he said: “When they do show up, it’s 22-year-old kids from the Ivy League. And they’re telling you what do, as opposed to stopping and listening.”
And that may be the key. The party needs to listen to its rural constituents; the people who hunt, shoot, own guns, run small businesses, work in the factories for middle-class wages, send their kids to not-so-exclusive public schools, head for church Sunday morning, and wave a flag on the Fourth of July.
So long as they keep returning the Nancy Pelosi’s to power because they are good fund-raisers, treat rural voters as bumpkins from “fly-over America,” nominate candidates with too much baggage like Clinton and call themselves “progressives,” Democrats may have to take their lumps.