I once heard a story about Richard Nixon that spoke to his understanding of how to get elected and maintain a base of support.
While on Air Force One, Nixon’s aides would play a game with him. They would call out the name of a county they were currently flying over and Nixon, on cue, would name the chair of the local Republican Party chapter, his wife and their children.
This knowledge was likely the tip of an iceberg of resources to obtain local knowledge about community issues. It’s an iceberg that the Democratic apparatus is sorely lacking.
The Washington Post ran a fascinating story today about James Comer, a freshman representative from rural Kentucky. It details his travels around his district, where he held town halls. His support of Trump received a mixed reception, but his support of the American Health Care Act definitely received more outspoken criticism, with one man showing him the apparatus used to keep him alive and explaining that the Affordable Health Care Act meant that he would be able to continue to receive his medication at a sustainable rate.
I don’t think rural America is a lost cause for the Democrats. I do however believe it is going to take a lot of effort and investment, something that the national party has been reluctant to do. For all of their talk about a 50-state strategy and embracing health care as a human right, they have yet to do it.
Rural poverty presents a unique set of challenges. The hardest thing to do for people who live in D.C., New York, L.A. and other cities can be to look past partisanship to understand it and find solutions to help our fellow Americans. I’m not above this behavior, but I’ve been trying to find it in my heart more and more to respond with reason rather than anger. It just might take our country back to the left.