Friday, August 05, 2016

Campaigns courting rural voters

Attendance at the Democratic Convention’s Rural Council meeting last week might have been small, but powerful in perspective. “You are the most important people at this gathering this week,” Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D- N.D., told a crowd of about 60 people sitting in the Philadelphia Convention Center to listen to rural advocates. “Hillary Clinton cannot lose Rural America by 90 to 10 (percent) and become the next president of the U.S.” Heitkamp was one of a number of speakers, including Montana Senator Jon Tester, former North Dakota Rep. Earl Pomeroy, former USDA Deputy Sec. Kathleen Merrigan, National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson and others who made the case over the two-hour session that Hillary Clinton was the best bet for Rural America. And they repeatedly made the case that Democrats need to do a better job getting that message out. “We’re the party that works for everybody and makes the economy and government work for every American, not just the powerful and privileged special interests like Donald Trump,” he added, before handing out a brochure called, “What does it mean to be a Democrat?” While the blue brochure doesn’t include the world “rural” it focuses on strengths from “honest, hard-working people from all walks of life. Hattaway said that the DNC surveyed over 3,000 voters and nine out of ten said that was an important message that they wanted to hear. And they compared it against the GOP messages that were developed after Republicans lost their last presidential race and conducted their “autopsy.” He said they tested the messages against GOP messages and “beat them by 12 points.”...more

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