Thursday, December 01, 2016

Vilsack says Democrats need better message for rural America

No one listened to Tom Vilsack. As agriculture secretary during the entire Obama administration, the former Iowa governor has for years been telling anyone who will pay attention — farmers, members of Congress, even Hillary Clinton — that Democrats need a better message for rural America. And he's spent most of his tenure focusing on rural development, trying to revitalize areas that ultimately voted for Republican Donald Trump in this year's presidential election. "The Democratic Party, in my opinion, has not made as much of an effort as it ought to, to speak to rural voters," Vilsack said Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press. "What's frustrating to me is that we actually have something we can say to them, and we have chosen, for whatever reason, not to say it." Vilsack is a longtime friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton and was close to becoming Hillary Clinton's vice presidential running mate. She chose Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine instead. Clinton ultimately won Virginia but lost, deeply, in many rural areas of the country. Vilsack says he understands why party leaders chose a different path to try for electoral victory, focusing on expanding populations like Hispanics and African-Americans who had come out in large numbers to vote for Barack Obama, the nation's first black president, in 2008 and 2012. The problem, he said, is those groups represent around the same percentage of the population as rural voters. And he says Democrats didn't have enough of a counter argument to powerful Republican themes of less regulation and lower taxes. "There wasn't an overarching theme that a person in a small town could go, 'Oh, they're talking about me,' " Vilsack said. According to exit polls conducted for AP and television networks by Edison Research, about 17 percent of voters in this year's election were from small cities or rural areas, and 62 percent of them said they voted for Trump...more

Hey Vilsack. It's not the message - it's what you actually did.  Violating property rights, attempting to steal water, running ranch families off federal lands, etc., etc. is your problem. And the message was received.

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