Op-eds

NY Daily News: How Democrats can connect with middle America again: Advice from successful rural pols from left of center

January 12, 2018


Washington Democrats employ legions of political consultants, entrail readers and data-crunchers to help them figure out how to sway voters. They could save a lot of money by listening instead to Democrats who win elections in red and purple states.

That’s the idea behind a trenchant new report that should be required reading for national party strategists. Despite its optimistic title, “Hope for the Heartland,” the study shines a pitiless light on how badly Democrats have lost touch with rural and working-class America.

Its authors are Rep. Cheri Bustos, a rising star in Congress who represents a mostly rural district in Illinois won by Donald Trump in 2016, and Robin Johnson, an acute observer of heartland politics who hosts a radio show in Iowa on the topic.

Their report shows how much ground Democrats have lost over the last decade in the heartland states, which were key to Trump’s upset victory. Underscoring the party’s unpopularity outside major cities, Hillary Clinton won only 63 out of 737 counties in eight heartland states.

Continue reading at the New York Daily News.