Ag Policy Blog

Donkeys Becoming a Rare Animal in Rural America

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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Four days ago I was reading analysis and watching discussions on the army of cable news networks about the GOP likely tearing itself apart after the election.

The pro-trade moderates were going to have to look for a new home after the defeat of Donald Trump.

Now -- after successive election defeats across a wide swath of America -- the question needs to be posed: When are Democrats going to learn to understand rural America again? Can they?

The results from Tuesday show up and down the ballot that Democrats have no rural connection in dozens of states.…

Clinton was decimated across rural America. In Iowa, Hillary Clinton carried six of 99 counties. And the counties she carried all included larger cities in margins that ranged from 1.5% to 13%. In the other 93 counties, Clinton got crushed by margins of 40%, 50% and 60% in some cases. It went beyond that because the Democratic candidate for Senate ran a meager campaign. In my congressional district, I never personally got to see the Democrat running for Congress. He couldn't even show up at some major local community events in my area. Thus, he got beat by a 15-point spread despite being an Iowa farm kid who served two tours in Iraq.

I saw this anger and distrust at Democrats with people at my church. I saw it on social media with family and old friends. There is little faith in rural America for the federal government and that was overlaid by a tremendous disdain for Clinton. Good grief, she got beat in Arkansas by a 26% margin. That had to kill other candidates lower on the ticket.

Democrats simply do not know how to engage rural America anymore. Outgoing Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack had argued Democrats need to do more campaigning in rural America. Yet he has acknowledged rural America has been "forgotten" while at the same time he sought to highlight beneficial changes in rural America under the Obama administration. That was drawn out in a Washington Post article in late September.…

Clearly, though, the results recent elections show Democrats have no ground game across much of rural America.

Follow me on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN


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