Excerpt from Rural In These Times, Jan. 2018
Democrats haven’t been doing well in rural areas, but a recent interview of 72 democratic leaders from these areas share their insights in a 51-page report that addresses current political realities that, however inconvenient, are key to understanding (and, hopefully, addressing) the nation’s rural-urban, social and economic divides. While these divides are not necessarily new, they are growing due to prolonged neglect.
The report suggests the party change its messaging to reflect Democratic support for the “culture of life” which includes support for schools, health care and retirement security
The report reads:
Many rural Democrats spoke about the role of religion in rural areas and how the party needs to do a better job of talking about the role of faith in their lives.
Indiana State Senate candidate Julie Berry says the Democratic brand has been tarnished as “unpatriotic” and too many people think “we don’t love God and country.” She adds, “Faith has to be a part of the conversation — all faiths and tolerance. The Republicans do NOT have a monopoly on faith.”
Indiana Senate candidate Chuck Freiberger says Democrats need to “reframe family and moral issues along the lines of hard work, religion, family, and that includes women’s and LGBT issues, where people are coming around. Hatred, as preached by Trump, is not a family value.”
On farmers and agriculture
This section, in the opinion of Rural America In These Times, is shorter than it ought to be. Nevertheless, it reads:
Iowa State Sen. Tod Bowman traces the problems of Democrats to the farming culture and that they do not compete for farm votes. While the number of farms has shrunk due to consolidation, Bowman and other rural legislators point out the prevalence of part-time farmers, those who own fewer than 200 acres and those who rent out acreage. They may not be big landowners but still represent the farm culture of “looking at the bottom line, being more individualistic…and being averse to taxes and regulation.”
“Don’t tell them what to do; get buy-in from them,” says Iowa State Sen. Kevin Kinney.
“We need candidates that have backgrounds in agriculture and understand agriculture,” says Iowa State Rep. Bruce Bearinger.
“We need to bring farmers and miners into the conversation about regulation,” says former Minnesota State Rep. Terry Morrow.