Don’t forget Rural Americans

I have literally written this blog more times than I can count over the years as the topic is close to my heart– the importance of rural America in our body politic.

Many people get a good laugh when I say I do not count a certain redheaded businessman out of this election. Most of these people live in the District or are from the Northeast. I am originally form a small town in Appalachia.

Blue collar workers have been a staple of the Democratic Party for many years but there is little they have to show for it. Republicans have successfully used wedge issues to peel away voters. Fox News appearing on the channel lineup back home did not help things and now many consider the area where I am from a lost cause. I vehemently disagree. After all, it was not that long ago that a Democrat represented my home region in Congress. Not only that but the level of restlessness I sense back home is palatable and at a certain point I know that more talk of abortion will not squelch this.

Neither party has a real plan for how to grow jobs in many dying rural and old industrial areas. Coal miners and steelworkers risked their lives to power and build our country and I daresay most of them feel “forgotten.” Without proper tax revenues getting funneled back into the counties the coal was funneled out of, most people where I am from do not have the educational background needed to evaluate policy plans. They do, however, ¬†have the common sense to look at where they are and see things are not getting better.

The left, which I am a part of, is ethically justified and right to elevate the concerns of the LGBTQ and issues facing other important minorities in our country. It is folly to do this without putting equal effort into real robust policies, distinct messaging and tailored outreach to Rural Americans, many of whom have never met a Muslim or known an openly gay couple but do know other people “just like them” who are truly suffering every day.

Sadly though I know through policy experience working with the Democratic front-runner she deeply cares about people outside the urban hotspots where party campaign strategists hail from, the messaging of a GOP newcomer may carry more appeal than many would think.

Rachel Lewis
August 7, 2015


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