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Wed Nov 14, 2012, 10:48 PM

The Democrats Need to Stop Avoiding Rural Areas.

Go talk to the PEOPLE. But don't do it in a condescending, "we're going to teach you people how to vote" kind of thing. Go in and LISTEN to their concerns. Establish a presence in rural areas. Be a source of information and support. Most rural residents are long-time residents and that means for generations. If the Democrats are seen as just regular people and not the three-headed monster Faux Nooz and the Republican Party (who have a long presence in rural areas) you'll go a long way toward earning their trust and, ultimately, their ear. And for goddess sake lose terminology like "hicks," "hayseeds" and "hillbillies." Believe it or not, for the most part, these are good people who would do anything in the world for a person in need. It's important to remember that. If the Democrats are going to grow their numbers, they need to stop avoiding (and condescending to) rural residents.

Just my two cents.

56 replies, 3498 views

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Arrow 56 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Democrats Need to Stop Avoiding Rural Areas. (Original post)
Le Taz Hot Nov 2012 OP
AlinPA Nov 2012 #1
Le Taz Hot Nov 2012 #4
CreekDog Nov 2012 #39
haikugal Nov 2012 #53
GitRDun Nov 2012 #2
Johonny Nov 2012 #3
Le Taz Hot Nov 2012 #5
marions ghost Nov 2012 #26
bluestate10 Nov 2012 #6
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #8
Volaris Nov 2012 #9
loli phabay Nov 2012 #10
Major Nikon Nov 2012 #11
Le Taz Hot Nov 2012 #12
Major Nikon Nov 2012 #14
Le Taz Hot Nov 2012 #16
Major Nikon Nov 2012 #49
Puzzledtraveller Nov 2012 #20
Major Nikon Nov 2012 #30
Tsiyu Nov 2012 #41
Major Nikon Nov 2012 #43
Tsiyu Nov 2012 #44
Major Nikon Nov 2012 #50
cali Nov 2012 #19
CreekDog Nov 2012 #40
HiPointDem Nov 2012 #7
InsultComicDog Nov 2012 #13
Le Taz Hot Nov 2012 #17
marmar Nov 2012 #22
Le Taz Hot Nov 2012 #29
justice1 Nov 2012 #31
Le Taz Hot Nov 2012 #33
InsultComicDog Nov 2012 #56
marions ghost Nov 2012 #27
liberal_at_heart Nov 2012 #15
Le Taz Hot Nov 2012 #18
MNBrewer Nov 2012 #21
cali Nov 2012 #23
MNBrewer Nov 2012 #24
cali Nov 2012 #25
ProSense Nov 2012 #28
tjwash Nov 2012 #32
Le Taz Hot Nov 2012 #34
MineralMan Nov 2012 #35
Le Taz Hot Nov 2012 #38
Tsiyu Nov 2012 #36
nadinbrzezinski Nov 2012 #37
ck4829 Nov 2012 #42
Nikia Nov 2012 #45
Tsiyu Nov 2012 #46
limpyhobbler Nov 2012 #48
WinkyDink Nov 2012 #47
datasuspect Nov 2012 #51
ancianita Nov 2012 #52
liberalhistorian Nov 2012 #54
ancianita Nov 2012 #55

Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 11:07 PM

1. While those are good instructions for any party, I don't see Democrats in rural PA

using that terminology nor do I see condescension. I thinks it boils down to issues, that Republicans have been successful with with rural voters: religion, race issues, and guns to name three.

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Response to AlinPA (Reply #1)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 11:24 PM

4. I live in/around rural areas

and I see terminology like this on DU all the time, especially from suburban Californians.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #4)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 03:21 PM

39. you are pretty rude to us in the Bay Area, even going so far as to call us names

and tell us that the Clean Air Act doesn't apply to us (it does, you were wrong on that).

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Response to AlinPA (Reply #1)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 04:38 PM

53. I live in a rural community..

and we have active dems although we're outnumbered. I worked with an Obama team making calls for a survey and get out the vote effort. I don't see terminology or condescension being a problem.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 11:09 PM

2. I think as a part of what you are suggesting,

it is important to get people together on city folks helping country folks projects and vice versa.

Having lived in rural America, many of my friends, never got into Blue America very often, and when they did, it was just doing tourist type stuff. I think its hard to vote for folks you do not understand...or are afraid of.

IMO their is a cultural, or understanding gap that needs to be overcome.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 11:18 PM

3. one could ask if rural area's shouldn't stop avoiding Democrats

Particularly because A lot of Democrats are from rural areas. Either born and raised and moved, or still living there. I never thought Democrats avoided rural areas nor condescended to them (anymore than rural areas condescend to city people). A lot of democrats are from rural areas too. Why rural areas now vote in greater numbers for Republicans is an interesting story and one countless people have tried to explain, I don't think it has much to do with Democrats avoiding rural areas. The thought they do seems as condescending as well any rural stereotype. Urban people avoid rural areas? They do?

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Response to Johonny (Reply #3)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 11:27 PM

5. This is what I know.

The state and/or federal Democratic party is virtually non-existent in the rural areas in which I live and am familiar. There IS, most definitely, a condescension from many urban dwellers and it can often be seen right here on DU. I'm offering up my perspective. If Democrats want to deny there's even a problem, then expect to continue to lose support in these areas.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #5)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 09:44 AM

26. I remember once encountering

some folks from New York City in rural Virginia. They were afraid to get out of their car because they thought they'd be shot at, or caught in the crossfire between the Hatfields and McCoys.

Now you'd think New Yorkers (!) would not fear anything.

Of course these days after Fox/Rush indoctrination maybe that fear is not so silly...(but then that hostility is found in any rural area, not only the South).

There is condescension, sure, but derision works both ways. We may need to consider Diplomatic Negotiations between urban and rural residents of this country.....there is definitely a problem.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 11:28 PM

6. I agree with you that rural people will lend a hand to a neighbor that is in need.

But at the same time, rural people harbor wrong and to be blunt, damaging viewpoints about people that don't live among them. I don't see upside for engaging them, we get better results from going to colleges and urban areas.

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Response to bluestate10 (Reply #6)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 11:32 PM

8. They have 'wrong" viewpoints, do they? So they're not worth bothering with....

 

The party once felt quite differently about rural voters and actively engaged them. Maybe there's a correlation.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #8)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:21 AM

9. Agreed, before it was called The New Deal, it was called a Farmer's CO-OP in a lot of rural areas

No reason to run away from the best parts of our Party Heritage, or cede that gorund to the GOP based on local cultural norms.

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Response to bluestate10 (Reply #6)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:25 AM

10. you could say the same about people in urban areas who believe that rural folks are dumb or slow

 

and that city folk know what is best for the rural folk. in my experience there are idiots all over and both in urban and rural environs.

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Response to bluestate10 (Reply #6)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 12:35 AM

11. Exactly. The biggest challenge for Democrats right now is getting young people to the polls

I have little interest in engaging people with closed minds.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #11)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 01:32 AM

12. So, all rural-dwellers have "closed minds?"

Your tent just got much smaller.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #12)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 04:41 AM

14. Enough that it isn't worth it

I was born and raised in rural America. Stupidity and ignorance are considered virtues. Intelligence and education are suspect and not to be trusted. Stupid people appeal to them. That's why people like Sarah Palin are so popular in rural areas. If that's the type of people you want to go after, knock yourself out. I just see that as a lot of effort for little gain. I just see a lot more potential in the 18-29 group that vote at 1/3rd the rate of people in the 60-69 age group. Those people are much easier to organize and a much easier sell for progressive ideology. Get these people to the polls at the rates seen by other age groups and the GOP will be marginalized forever.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #14)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 06:15 AM

16. Well, in the rural areas in which I live

most of the farmers have Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Agricultural Science and Animal Husbandry. But you epitomize the problem within your party and you are exactly the type of bigoted attitude I described in my OP. And you say THEY'RE close minded.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #16)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 04:09 PM

49. I just want to know where you're finding all these open minded rural Republicans

When only 14% of conservatives in all areas support gay marriage, it's not too big of a stretch to suggest no shortage of closed minds and I can only believe this problem is even further exacerbated in rural areas.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #11)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 09:11 AM

20. That is so close minded of you.

Not sarcasm.

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Response to Puzzledtraveller (Reply #20)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 01:53 PM

30. Perhaps

But you might want to ask yourself a question before you try to pin that label on me.

What percentage Republicans in rural areas do you think support gay marriage?

Keep in mind that ALL conservative republicans, regardless of location, only support gay marriage at 14%.

So perhaps you are finding enlightenment among rural Republicans, but that just isn't my experience.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #30)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 03:37 PM

41. I live in an extremely poor, rural area

This year, the very first local Republican was voted into office in the history of a neighboring county.

Nary a Republican to be found governing in any capacity in all the years of that county's existence. Why has that county always gone Democratic? That's something to study.

Also: People hype the "ignorance" in the area, but then forget that there is the internet here, and cable, and Netflix, and people may not see the Big City in person, but they get it in their living rooms. Most of the people I know watch movies, music videos, visit with one another, watch a little reality TV, and ignore politics.

I don't hear them say anything disparaging when a non-Caucasian character comes on TV; they don't appear shocked to see New York City on the screen. If asked, most don't fear gays being part of society, really, because they have a family member or friend who is gay. The churches preach intolerance of course, but only a small portion of people attend these churches. ( These are also the ones who regularly vote. ) A lot of the rural people I know dress as well as TV depicts folks should dress, most don't really care what anyone is wearing. Many travel for work, or have come back after living in Chicago or Dallas. They travel to Chattanooga and Nashville and stay in hotels and navigate the health care system and do a lot of the same things urban and suburban people do.

They share a love of the woods, they like being close to trails where you can ride or hike to beauty, they like to hunt, they like to grow things and raise animals, they have more social contact and support than many in urban or suburban areas.

Example: no real homelessness here, as someone will take you in, and zoning is such you can live in a box until you get it together.

Rural areas are generally a mix of old families and new people who come for the solitude and unmaterialistic culture. Many have degrees, run businesses, have colorful families.

IOW: Black and White thinking is SO. MUCH. BULLSHIT.










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Response to Tsiyu (Reply #41)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 03:42 PM

43. What a beautiful strawman you built there

Such a shame to burn it down.

Cheers!

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #43)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 03:44 PM

44. I think your powder's too wet

and maybe your mind too closed????













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Response to Tsiyu (Reply #44)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 04:35 PM

50. Perhaps

But suggesting that I was referring to everyone in rural areas doesn't really help your argument.

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Response to bluestate10 (Reply #6)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 08:46 AM

19. So that must be why rural white VT voted for Obama with a greater

margin than any other state, right?

Sweeping generalizations are almost invariably a steaming pile. Yours is.

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Response to cali (Reply #19)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 03:23 PM

40. and Wisconsin, and Northern Arizona, most of rural, coastal California

and California's Imperial Valley

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Wed Nov 14, 2012, 11:30 PM

7. It's more convenient for the ruling class that neither party grow their numbers. Then both

 

parties can continue to "compromise" in a manner that benefits the ruling class.

If one party carried every branch of government, voters would expect something to change.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 02:28 AM

13. I guess this is as good a place as any to post this map



combines redness and blueness of an area (based on Obama-Romney vote) with population density (intensity of color)

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Response to InsultComicDog (Reply #13)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 06:16 AM

17. So, the answer is don't even try?

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #17)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 09:16 AM

22. No, you should always try, and Dems should be talking to rural voters. But.....

....... the country is increasingly urban/suburban, and People of Color collectively will be the majority in a few decades. So obviously that's where you've got to focus resources.
That said, I agree that Dems need to talk to rural voters. In the short term, that can only help them in state and local elections.


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Response to marmar (Reply #22)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 10:24 AM

29. But here's something to consider.

In the rural area where I live (California's Central Valley) people of color already are the majority. In 2008, our county went for Obama. In 2012, back to Republican. And the worst part? Our County had the 2nd lowest turnout in the whole state. I don't know about you but I see some major opportunity for inroads here. I guess it's a glass half full/half empty kind of thing. Some see this area as hopeless and why waste the time? I see opportunity to engage a population that most definitely have been all but ignored (and too often vilified).

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #29)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 02:02 PM

31. Having grown up poor, I was always told that my vote didn't count.

It wasn't until I reached my 30's that I voted for the first time.There is a large segment of the population, that stays home on election day, for the same reason.

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Response to justice1 (Reply #31)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 02:27 PM

33. All the more reason to reach out.

Invite in those who feel disenfranchised. Invite in those who have been influence by the right wing by addressing their concerns and telling them why your party/candidate is a better choice. How many times has history proven wrong those who say, "It's a waste of time"? Howard Dean disproved that with his 50-state strategy and was a large part of why Obama won his first term. It's such a better way to address rural voters.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #17)

Fri Nov 16, 2012, 01:11 AM

56. I believe that Democrats should be encouraged

no matter where they live.

I think, though, for it to work, there's only so much that can be done by outsiders. It has to happen more organically, and at that point we might be able to assist in some way.

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Response to InsultComicDog (Reply #13)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 09:52 AM

27. thanks for posting the map of truth re. America!

Do you see an interesting phenom on the map? Some of the darkest BLUE is surrounded by the darkest RED--these would seem to be areas where there is a lot of clash--the rural people feeling they have to defend their territory....

Appalachia = the reddest of the red (along with pockets of Texas & Ohio/PA). Historically poor and undereducated rural populations.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 04:45 AM

15. I agree with you

I grew up in Texas. yes, there are racist, sexist, bigots. But there are also good people. it is a mistake to generalize them all. Just like it is a mistake for republicans to generalize us.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 08:43 AM

18. Kick once

for the morning crowd.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 09:13 AM

21. I grew up gay in a rural area

I now live in an urban area and wouldn't move back to a rural area unless there were absolutely no other choice.

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Response to MNBrewer (Reply #21)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 09:18 AM

23. Montpelier, Vermont. Population under 8,000.

As gay a friendly place as you can find.

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Response to cali (Reply #23)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 09:33 AM

24. Minneapolis, MN population 387,753

I'll stay here, but thanks.

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Response to MNBrewer (Reply #24)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 09:41 AM

25. I'm not suggesting you move. I am suggesting that not all rural areas

are unfriendly to LGBT folks.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 09:59 AM

28. WH on rural areas

http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/rural-council/rural-blog-posts

There is some good information on various initiatives there.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 02:03 PM

32. Didn't they try, and some crazys showed up with assault rifles at a town hall meeting?

I would say the problem exists more on their end than the D's end

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Response to tjwash (Reply #32)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 02:31 PM

34. Feel free to supply a link.

If/When a link is supplied, are you suggesting that this is something that will always occur in all rural areas? If so, that's quite a stereotype and it may very well be on the "D's end." But that's not what I'm trying to do here. I'm trying to raise awareness that the Democrats are not addressing huge areas of the nation that could very well turn blue.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 02:36 PM

35. President Obama campaigned in rural Cannon Falls in MN.

Individual Democratic candidates run for in rural areas all the time. Many of them win. I guess I'm not sure what you're asking for here. National candidates tend to campaign in large cities, because that's where most of the votes are. They couldn't possible make stops in every rural area. But local candidates who are Democrats are in every rural area.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #35)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 03:20 PM

38. So, iow,

"it's a waste of time." Pretty in-congruent for a party purporting to represent all Americans.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 03:15 PM

36. The old leadership in the Red States

needs to yield to the younger generations, who understand not only the social media, but who have also studied the problems and challenges of places like Appalachia and the Delta and the Kansas corn fields.


It will be the kids who do the outreach to the boonies. The Old Democratic Guard in these areas are often fear-based, Republican Lites.


People in rural areas have often been screwed over by both sides, and have definitely been screwed over by Big Bidness. But they trust no one who has no appreciation for, or respect for, those living close to the land and being rather plain in appearance but good-hearted by nature.












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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 03:18 PM

37. Local dems who did not run as dems

In non partisan races did well.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 03:40 PM

42. Absolutely, and there already are people out in the rural areas who agree with Democrats

We need to double up in efforts though and debunk the Fox News Republican Party propaganda as you say.

K&R.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 03:50 PM

45. We Democrats in rural areas need to be more visible

And vocal, but in a diplomatic way.
In another thread, I said that displaying my Obama sign was important because I live in a rural area. For some reason many rural Democrats are in the closet.

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Response to Nikia (Reply #45)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 03:55 PM

46. The Obama sign in the square of the closest small town

was still up days after the election.

We just have low turnout, and that can be worked on always.






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Response to Nikia (Reply #45)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 04:04 PM

48. Yeah there are a lot of Democrat voters in rural areas but saying it publicly can be kind of

intimidating. They Party could help by helping the local Dem. supporters to find each other more.

To make it easier to "come out of the closet" as a liberal or whatever.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 03:55 PM

47. Wait a minute; which Party won?? Shouldn't the warning be: "If Republicans are going to grow their

numbers, they need to stop avoiding (and condescending to) urban, gay, female, union, ethnic, poor, elderly, and coastal residents"?

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 04:38 PM

51. good framing exercise

 

yup.

who says rural areas are even relevant?

the PEOPLE spoke.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 04:38 PM

52. I thought that's what Howard Dean's 50-state strategy was all about, no?

One thing I learned from dealing with country people is that they pigeonhole you right away as 'not from here' or 'city people' or 'think they're better,' and they have their dukes up without even giving 'outsiders' a chance. So, the problem lies equally as much with them as with Democrats dumb enough to condescend to anyone about anything.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 04:43 PM

54. Well, thank you for the "condescending" lesson, but

those of us who are Dems who live in rural areas ARE already doing a lot of what you suggest. It's just not enough to combat the very heavy spoon-fed-from-birth Republican influence and there are simply too many stereotypes against Dems to overcome in many cases. Believe me, I've been a rural Dem in a red state for seven years now.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Thu Nov 15, 2012, 04:44 PM

55. One other major influence on country people is the saturation of Clear Channel in rural America.

And all the ramifications that go with that.

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