How the Democrats can Take Back Rural America

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Holly is not alone. There are millions like her, and they are the base of progressive politics in rural America. They want a bold opposition to Trump and to politics as usual. They’re not looking for bland centrism, empty talking points, or a condescending “listening tour” by elite politicians who never really listen. And if they are called to action, they will rally others like them, they will build a progressive base, and they will turn out at election time.

This is something that Democrats need to recognize as they prepare for 2018. It is folly to allow vast swaths of rural America to become no-go zones for the party of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Tom Harkin, and Paul Wellstone. And it would be political malpractice of the worst sort to think that Democrats can retake the Senate and the House, much less prevail in statehouses across the country, without a bold plan for renewing their party’s fortunes in small cities, towns, and farm country. Appealing to “swing voters” isn’t the only way to revitalize the Democratic Party in rural America; developing smart, progressive policies that engage rural activists, and investing in the mobilization of base voters, actually matters more.

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