I get the sense that what the Party can do, if it needs to do anything, to engage with rural voters
Is going to be an ongoing discussion for the foreseeable future. Excerpts from an article on the WaPo titled "The Daily 202: Final Virginia governors debate spotlights Democratic problems in rural America."
In the heart of coal country, at the University of Virginia campus in Wise, the moderator asked Ed Gillespie about schools. The Republican nominee quickly pivoted to talk about coal. He celebrated the Trump administrations announcement that Barack Obamas Clean Power Plan will be rescinded and warned that his Democratic opponent, Ralph Northam, will try to put a Virginia version in effect if he gets elected. He then promised repeatedly to reinstate a coal tax credit.
Rather than push back, Northam the lieutenant governor talked about pre-K and K-12 education. Then the moderator asked him about the Clean Power Plan. He grew visibly uncomfortable and gave a halting answer that both nodded to the importance of coal and called for embracing renewable energy. Coal is very important to the economy in southwest Virginia. I understand that, he said. So, I will do everything that I can to support the coal industry. At the same time, we have a great opportunity. He explained that renewables like wind and solar are a win-win because they could bring the jobs of the future. At the same time, it would move us to cleaner energy and a cleaner environment, he said.
-- For Democrats, figuring out how to get a toehold back into rural territory is imperative. The biggest Senate battlegrounds in 2018 are in states like North Dakota, Montana, West Virginia, Indiana and Missouri.
Thus far, in Virginias off-year election, there are few indications that they are figuring it out. If Northam blows this race which is a very real possibility it will set off Democratic alarm bells about the wisdom of their midterm strategy and generate a wave of nasty recriminations in the escalating civil war between the pragmatists and the leftists.
I would be shocked if Northam lost -- there's simply too many votes in the NoVa area where we live. But Virginia was much closer than I expected in November, and if folks stay home, which they often do in off-year elections, the vote could be tight.
Fastest, surest way to victory is to turn out as many voters as we can.
If I understand the clip from the Post story, the question was about education, Gillespie turned it into a peroration about the chimera of clean coal, and Northam tried to answer the question about education, "rather than push back." Push back against what? Isn't the moderator supposed to, you know, moderate the discussion, and not let one candidate or the other scupper away from answering the question? But in the Post's report, Gillespie's failure to answer the moderator's question and the moderator's failure to require an answer from Gillespie turn into Northam's fault.
The "real problem" on display here isn't any alleged failure by Northam to connect with rural America (whatever that means).
repug cheating, otherwise it's all a wash.
You don't need no stinking education as long as we keep the mines open.
If i was Northam, I would have pointed this out. OF course it is nearly impossible to make a winning statement on the idea that their future needs to be about education and not about holding onto 19th century jobs. Hillary tried to speak that truth and it didn't work. I would have done it anyway just because Asshats like Gillespie need to be called out whenever possible.
Besides, whatever pablum he said in it's place didn't convince anyone who wasn't already on his side anyway. You may as well give them an alternative even if they reject it.
and letting power plants spew more toxins that will exacerbate climate change even further. That's how Trump did it. Is that what we want?
Honesty doesn't seem to work. Lies or empty promises seem to attract certain types of cynical or disillusioned voters these days. Everyone wants an instant pot of gold for themselves. The hard (and often slower) work of achieving stability and economic progress across the spectrum of classes in these times of extreme technological, scientific, and social change is not appealing to these voters. The common good is a hard sell.
We're talking about a completely disillusioned, dissatisfied, and, yes, often opiate-addicted sector of the population in these areas. I'd say, address the opiate addiction first.
But here's a very un-PC thought that has been occupying me recently. I've been thinking of previous times in history, like when the Dust Bowl hit in the 1930s and thousands of Americans picked up and loaded their few belongings onto rattletrap trucks and moved to where they had a chance to find jobs and sustenance. And our own families, who--for various reasons, either economic or self-preservation--left entire countries to come here to start their lives over for a better chance. Or the Great Migration of Southern black folk to northern cities, where they might find jobs in Detroit or Chicago.
We Democrats offer people "job training" to try to move them from the old, defunct jobs in industries like coal and steel into the jobs of today and the future. But it does no good if there are no jobs in those fields in their areas. I saw a news segment on this recently, where people were complaining they were retrained, but no companies had moved to their area for them to use these skills or become employed. Well, you can't always move the mountain to Mohammed: these small communities don't often have the resources to attract large industries or companies (I think it was in Wisconsin or Michigan). And these people don't seem to want to move elsewhere. It's a population that's pretty darned tribal, and so they're sitting home grousing about the lost past instead of finding ways to overcome it through migration. They seem defiant about staying with their own kind in their own environment, whether the world has moved on or not.
So aside from offering retraining, why don't we offer a two-pronged federal solution: both using the federal government's clout to lure renewable-energy and other new industries to these rural areas; and, conversely, offering relocation assistance to these populations so that they can move to where the jobs are.
America was built on movement and migration, whether of immigrants to these shores or Eastern residents across to the West, Southern residents up to the North, etc. We used to be all about mobility. Maybe it's time to consider that as a part of the solution.
A few months back, there were a handful of anti-Trump voters protesting on the single Main Street. First, We are not going to reach the dedicated racistsmany of them are immersed in the delusion that they are NOT racist. We have a similar problem on the left, but on the left we are open to talmor argue about it.
Forks was a logging community. If you ask locals, they will tell you it was the spotted owl ruling that destroyed their industry, and they are not open to any other interpretation. Entering town, there was a large Loggers for Trump sign. Im going to guess it is the same thing for coal committees, the things that destroyed industry blamed on environmental protections and environmental protections only.
So what do Democrats do? Drop the idea of environmentalism, which is an important part of our platform? Of course not.
I think onething to do is find the local Democratslike the ones brave enough to protest, and reach out and engage them. Also, Trump is disgusting on even a visceral level, the left feels it all the time, and the right is beginning too. Well need to exploit that.
We aren't going to get "coal country." "Coal country" does not define the Virginia vote. We cannot and should not be bending ourselves into knots to appeal to "coal country."
And PS. "Coal country" is a euphemism. It means a small geographic area full of poor white people who aren't pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. It's OK in "coal country" for them not to do pull themselves up by their bootstraps, because they are white. But according to the people in "coal country" poor people everywhere else, and poor people of every other color, have to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.