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Old 10-26-2019, 05:11 PM
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Warren v Biden on Rural America


Both Warren and Biden have Plans for Rural America. Warren's. Biden's.

Both put out the rhetoric on how important a strong, vibrant, healthy rural America is to the entire country and recognition of the problems they are facing. Both suggest plans to help address some of those problems.


Two part question after you digest some of their approaches (which I intend to sketch very briefly):

Will either approach actually make a difference to the lives of rural Americans?

Will either help either of them to better connect with rural Americans and undercut some of Trump's dramatic dominance with the rural white voter demographic?


Warren's top item is selling MfA as a way to help healthcare access in rural communities, coupling it with some specific rural healthcare initiatives (slowing down mergers, supporting community health care centers, money for the opioid crisis, opening up the physician training pipeline with supports for working in rural communities).

Then she moves into the economic with the first item there being child care free to millions and affordable for all. From there housing, student debt, investing in broadband, investing in green research and jobs, trade policy that keeps jobs here, specific loans for "entrepreneurs of color", "breaking up big agribusinesses that have become vertically integrated", and promising them a fair price for their products.


Biden comes out with economic policies on the top line. Trade (Trump tariffs bad) and an expansion of an Obama era microloan program for beginning farmers.

Developing regional food systems ("to help them collectively create supply chains to deliver fresh produce and other products to schools, hospitals, and other major state and federal institutions"), supporting land grant colleges, expanding a program "to support farm income through payments based on farmers’ practices to protect the environment", stronger anti-trust enforcement, "bio-based manufacturing to bring cutting-edge manufacturing jobs back", ethanol, wind, solar, green jobs, expanded broadband, more credit and Federal funds all follow.

Bringing up the rear is health care issues to be addressed by building on the ACA.


Obviously their plans and outreach have gotten very little coverage or debate questions. Still. Anything of real value in either of them? Which ones get top billing would presumably indicate what they think is the most important item, either in reality or in perception to rural voters. Any comments on how they each prioritized? Will giving these plans some highlighting as the process goes on help either of them be more electable?

And for completeness - Sanders also has a plan, as does Harris (Trump has waged war on rural America), Buttigieg, Klobuchar. For her sake Klobuchar has actually previously delivered farm bills and gets into some specifics about dairy farms and the Animal Disease Vaccine Bank as top line items that no one else mentions. Yang's rural America plan is UBI of course, and an exchange program so rural and urban High Schoolers "make friends from different backgrounds and learn about American culture that they would otherwise lack exposure to."

Feel free to discuss them, or any others, too ... but I'm more interested in the top two.
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Old 10-27-2019, 12:11 AM
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Biden’s “plan” is mostly a bunch of vague platitudes. At least he didn’t advise farmers to leave the record player on to help the wheat grow.

Warren’s plan is 80% stuff that will help everyone, like UHC, cheap broadband, and funding education. At the very end she talks about busting up vertical consolidation in agribusiness.

Bernie’s plan puts that front and center. His plan offers a lot more specific focus on rural issues than either of the others (Right to Repair, selling meat across State lines, country-of-origin labeling, etc). He also addresses the issue of systemic discrimination decimating the Black farming community, an issue Warren barely nods to and Biden ignores entirely. He mentions UHC and forgiving college debt at the end, but mainly his rural policy page is about actual rural stuff, not about hitting his major talking points and adding the word “rural” in. I have to imagine rural voters would probably notice this difference, too.

Despite differences in emphasis, Warren would probably pursue policies similar to Bernie’s, unless it proved politically unpopular. Biden, of course, would do whatever Wall Street tells him to. Rural Americans, like all Americans, can count on Bernie to do the right thing.
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Old 10-27-2019, 12:35 AM
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Any Democrat who tries to win by wooing farmers is going to lose.
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Old 10-27-2019, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Smapti View Post
Any Democrat who tries to win by wooing farmers is going to lose.
Democrats can't win farmers. White farmers vote republican about 70-80% of the time. And they vote more because of identity politics than because of policy.

However if democrats can cut that down to a 60-70% preference for the GOP by having good policy and the GOP having bad policy (trade wars designed to make small farms go bankrupt so large agrobusiness can buy them up cheaply), that means a lot of districts and states will flip blue.
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Old 10-27-2019, 10:02 AM
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Smapti and Wesley Clark,

There is a different thread that has discussed the how Trump's +39 margin with non-college educated white voters (not the same as rural but for the sake of this analysis relevant) was a much greater margin than Rs had had over Ds in the past. Clinton's rural vote share was a modern low. I personally believe that any D who totally ignores the white rural vote and fails to acknowledge and address their real problems as valid not only is more likely to lose but is partly responsible for the success of the resentment politics by virtue of offering no alternative at all. But I humbly request that that discussion go to that thread. For this thread please accept a hypothetical that it is possible to have outreach to rural voters, including white rural voters, that minimally does not undermine messaging to the rest of the Democratic tent.

Thing Fish, agreed that Sanders (and Klobuchar) seem to have plans with more specific details and with more apparent familiarity with specifics than either Warren or Biden do. Yeah Warren comes off as trying to sell her extant plans to a rural crowd and promising money will be spent, and Biden is talking small stakes not big issues.

I'm personally of the mindset that messaging has to be kept simple. Demonstrate that you have mastery of the details but message the two to three bullet points. Which are the bullet points that are most resonant with rural Americans and consistent with the values of the rest of the D tent?

Is it the smaller farm harms of vertically integrated agribusiness and more broadly of many industries near monopoly control within regions?

Lack of broadband?

Healthcare (from opioid abuse, to suicide, to closing hospitals/poor access, to underinsurance ...)?

The need to diversify rural jobs (by bringing in green jobs in particular)?

Environmental stewardship for next generations?

Trade?

On all of these issues a D candidate can enumerate how Trump has failed the interests of rural Americans and move the discussion from resentment and religion to other items that they and the rest of the D tent can be in agreement on.
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Old 10-27-2019, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Smapti View Post
Any Democrat who tries to win by wooing farmers is going to lose.
Dems believe in doing the right thing by all Americans, whether or not they're likely to vote Dem. This is one of the fundamental differences between the Dems and the Trumpublicans.
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Old 10-27-2019, 10:12 AM
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I'm not a big Bernie fan, but I agree with Thing Fish that he's got a much better plan for rural America than either Warren or Biden does.
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Old 10-27-2019, 10:18 AM
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Even the peanut farmer couldn't win over the majority of farmers.
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Old 10-27-2019, 01:57 PM
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Well to put it that way no Democratic presidential nominee has managed to win the majority of white voters in over half a century. Data breaking it out go back to 1976. Throughout all that time it was in fact Carter in his initial win that got the most:
Quote:
Jimmy Carter received the largest percentage of white votes for a Democrat with 48 percent in 1976
Non-college educated white (mostly rural) voters (NCEW) are an actively shrinking demographic (smaller now than in 2016) and they are the only demographic now solidly in the GOP camp. The GOP has poisoned itself with most other demographics including losing their historic advantage with college educated white voters. Assuming the D side does not offer the GOP an antidote for the poison they have taken a GOP presidential win is not possible without an ever increasing shares of the NCEW demographic. Undercutting it (without performing worse than HRC with other groups) not only assures a 2020 win for president; it helps increase the odds of getting that Senate majority and having the House in solid hands (rural voters are structurally more important). It isn't the only path but if accomplished it is a sure one.

And yes RTF is right, addressing their real problems is the right thing to do even if they vote against your side. A president is president for all Americans, not just their supporters.

So let's take on the issues.

Item one: vertical consolidation in agribusiness. The progressive message (front and center for Sanders, down near the bottom for Warren) is to bust up the big companies that have outsized control with new laws. The moderates (see Biden and Klobuchar) want to strengthen enforcement available under current antitrust laws. Not top of either of their lists though.

IF this is the issue that matters most to rural voters, then which flavor of promised approach is most likely to appeal? Which is likely to be actually actionable? Which is more likely to deliver real world changes?

Healthcare. MfA as the backbone of addressing rural specific problems or building on the ACA, also which more likely to appeal and which more likely to deliver for them?

Or in this particular election environment is the failure of Trump's trade tirades to do anything other than hurt farmers and their communities the more cogent argument to make? (Assuming no positive outcomes between now and election day.)

Honestly I don't know. On the one hand I think there are a significant number of rural voters in the "the system is broken and needs major structural change" camp ... but also some significant number who are wary of revolutionary change promises, and are fatigued of rolling the dice. Which POV is more common?
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Old 10-27-2019, 02:41 PM
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I would have thought the trade war would be the way to go in certain states but it seems that so far, he's not getting much grief for it.
Despite Trade Uncertainty, Many US Farmers to Back Trump in 2020
Quote:
“I think the majority of our people are by far supportive of the president,” says Illinois Farm Bureau’s Mark Gebhards, who points out that Trump has been able to blunt the impact of tariffs through payments to farmers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “Market Facilitation Program.” This year it cost taxpayers about $16 billion, on top of roughly $15 billion in 2018.

“We’ve said all along we want trade, not aid,” he told VOA. “We don’t want to have to live on hoping that we get another round of market facilitation payments. We really need to find a final way forward — not only the tariffs with China, the UMSCA, Japan, the EU, all these other issues that are out there.”
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Old 10-27-2019, 05:04 PM
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Problem is that articles like that are just selected anecdotes devoid of any data. And good trending numbers specific to subgroups are sparse. Yes his strongest support is in rural districts and many still support him but is it still at the levels that delivered him the 39 point margin in the election in the demographic?

Let's look here to start:
Quote:
A Change Research survey sponsored by The American Federation of Teachers and One Country, a group with close ties to former Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), found that 60 percent of voters from non-metro counties in Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and West Virginia approve of the job Trump is doing.
But is that 60% a stable number or does it represent some softening and is the approval as absolute as it was?

In that regard this bit from 538 is of interest. It shows where Trump, as of May '19 anyway, is over or under-performing relative to the state's partisan lean.

Of note he was most underperforming in rural states that have the greatest GOP partisan lean. Now he's not going lose those states but it may be considered a reasonable proxy of rural support - still strongly positive but less than it was.

My WAG is that the failure to deliver anything by election day will damper enthusiasm FOR him, maybe keep a few supporters from bothering to vote, but winning any votes over requires some positive alternative path articulated and a clear sincere message that they matter too.
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Old 10-27-2019, 07:29 PM
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Dems believe in doing the right thing by all Americans, whether or not they're likely to vote Dem. This is one of the fundamental differences between the Dems and the Trumpublicans.
Exactly, the Dem platform would be a god send to rural Americans, but actually wooing them requires racism.
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Old 10-28-2019, 12:13 AM
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Problem is that articles like that are just selected anecdotes devoid of any data. And good trending numbers specific to subgroups are sparse. Yes his strongest support is in rural districts and many still support him but is it still at the levels that delivered him the 39 point margin in the election in the demographic?
I knew that's a problem you would have with that article and I'd mostly agree afa "rural voters" but I don't think you're going to get much harder data about actual farmers.
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Old 10-28-2019, 07:50 AM
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DigitalC, personally I see the perspective you express above as both lazy and patronizing.

CarnalK it is surprisingly hard to find much! That said ...

Midterm gains 2018 over 2016 were largest in RURAL areas.
Quote:
The Democratic analytics firm Catalist recently published a review of the 2018 midterm elections using data gleaned from voter files, a state-by-state report that offers the most detailed look yet at turnout in last year’s races.

The findings were startling: When comparing the 2016 presidential election to 2018 House races, the biggest increase of support for Democrats came not in the suburbs (which received the most attention) but in rural areas.

According to the analysis, Democrats recovered slightly more than half the vote in rural areas that they lost between 2012 and 2016, a net gain of about six percentage points in the region. By comparison, Democratic gains in suburban areas were roughly a point or two lower. ...

... in large part because voters who didn’t support Democrats in 2016 switched their allegiance two years later, a dynamic present in other parts of the country as well, the analysis found. The party’s vote share increased by five points, from 30 percent to 35 percent, among rural voters who voted in both elections, gains that were concentrated among younger and single white voters.

In other words, the change in rural America’s electoral margins didn’t occur only because Trump’s core supporters stayed home on Election Day — the shift happened because voters changed their minds after 2016 and, consequently, might be inclined to continue to support the next Democratic presidential nominee in 2020. ...

... In 2016, for example, Trump won an overwhelming share of white rural voters under 30, receiving 58 percent of their vote while just 27 percent of them backed Democrats (another 15 percent backed neither Trump nor Hillary Clinton). In 2018, however, the Democratic share of these voters jumped 13 points, with Democrats winning 40 percent of them compared to the GOP’s 58 percent.

The increase for Democrats was even larger among rural white voters between the ages of 30 and 44: In 2016, Trump won 66 percent of those voters, while Democrats won just 23 percent of them (another 11 percent backed a different candidate). But two years later, Democrats won 35 percent of these voters, while Republicans won 63 percent of them — a 15-point swing. ...
And there is this:
Quote:
American Bridge polled voters in small towns and rural areas, screening out self-identified liberal Democrats, to find out what they thought of the president. The group gave Trump a positive job approval rating overall, and it backed a generic Republican for Congress by 29 points over a generic Democrat. But the Republican-leaning pool of voters also gave Trump unfavorable ratings on several key issues, highlighting potential avenues of attack for American Bridge: 50 percent rated Trump negatively on “cutting taxes for people like me.”

Several health care questions were worse for the president. Just 25 percent of respondents gave Trump a positive rating for “reducing health care costs,” compared to 67 percent who rated him negatively, while they split against Trump 39-51 on “taking on the drug and pharmaceutical companies.
So the midterms demonstrated that HRC level loss in these demographics is NOT a given moving forward. (Winning a majority of them is not the realistic goal.)

And within his demographic of strength Trump is weakest on taxes and healthcare cost issues.

Not a lot of support for the idea that breaking up vertically integrated agribusiness is the issue to focus on for best election impact.
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Old 10-28-2019, 12:06 PM
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I thunk one if the problems with the farm demographic is the streak of rugged individualism that runs through so many rural areas. They are convinced that they don’t need any government help with anything - they are very sure that if you just alleviated their “tax burden” all their problems would be solved.

Because the assistance they are getting is often opaque to them. They apply for a loan at their local bank, and they get it - never knowing that the bank went to a needs specific federal loan program to underwrite their loan- which they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.

They see their new local firehouse and community hospital, and they never wonder how, with a local tax base of a few thousand taxpayers, they can afford such things. The answer is “with a lot of government help” - but they don’t see that far.

Michael Lewis talks about this in his excellent book The Fifth Risk. He talks about how local officials will ask the USDA NOT to show up for the ceremonies around the projects they finance, because the locals don’t want their constituents to know they got government help. But they show up anyway, with big giant checks from the US Government, much to the consternation of the locals.

I’m not sure if these people can be reached. But a few weeks ago, a few months ago, maybe......I heard Trump spouting nonsenses about how coal miners don’t want good paying tech jobs, they are simple salt of the earth people that want to do nothing but mine coal from the ground with their bare hands. And, of course, they ate it up.

But at that moment it occurred to me that if you suggested that these people would much prefer it if their children had a lifetime job mining coal rather than a high-paying tech jobs, the response might be something other than FUCK YEAH! And these people might actually want their kids to get an education and a good non coal-mining job.

But they don’t want to get this stuff from a Democrat. It’s irrational, but you are talking about a demographic that has elevated a big city real estate robber baron to the role of the savior of their simple rural way of life.

Breaking up agribusiness,“Right to Repair” and other ownership issues could be a selling point if they were pushed high up on the agenda. But issues that are that specific and highly targeted against large industry tend to become unkept campaign promises and voters know it. Like Medicare negotiation of prescription drug prices, which will never happen in any useful way. Though I suspect that Congress may ballyhoo some “reform” which allows the government to negotiate prices for some common generics, probably the same ones Walmart sells for $4. But I digress.

I think the real issue is the fantasy of the rugged individualist. He Democrats are right in perceiving that this demographic needs help, but doesn’t realize how little they want help.

The farm community should be deserting Trump over immigration. Because if they aren’t screwed yet, they will be. Because crops don’t pick themselves, and it’s backbreaking work that even rugged American individualists won’t do.

And they would never vote for Elizabeth Warren. She could discover a new farming technique that made every farm an instant moneymaker and made all the farmers wealthy, and they’d call her a witch and destroy the technology. Because she reminds them of the schoolmarm that used to slap their hands with a ruler.

I think Biden or one of the male candidates might be able to win some rural voters by being vocally and strongly pro-union, but he’d have to be really vocal and strong. And that would probably stand a better chance with the coal mining factory working rurals, not farmers.

Last edited by Ann Hedonia; 10-28-2019 at 12:07 PM.
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Old 10-30-2019, 11:16 PM
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Pertinent article in today's NYT.
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... For those who have given up on rural communities: Please reconsider. So many of these places need organizing to win improved conditions. Despite the stereotypes, rural people are not static in their political views or in the way they vote. Single white rural women and young rural white people represent two of the greatest leftward swings in the 2018 midterms, moving 17 and 16 points respectively toward Democrats. They played a key role in Democratic wins across the Midwest.

In front-porch conversations, the most common thing we hear is, “Nobody ever asked me what I think.” That’s a problem. Because white nationalists are filling that vacuum. They’re organizing around people’s pain and using racism to help make sense of changing economic conditions and racial demographics. We are also up against the outsized influence of Fox News and right-wing talk radio, as well as the white nationalists online. ...

...Roughly speaking, we encounter three broad categories of about equal size when we’re door-knocking. The first is the group of people who are with us on economic, racial and gender justice, but often feel unseen by big-city progressives. A second group is as conservative and in some cases as openly racist as you might expect. And then there’s a group in the middle who supports expanding public health care, raising wages and taxing the wealthy, and is conflicted about immigration, and possibly about race, guns and religion. ...
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Old 10-30-2019, 11:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Ann Hedonia View Post
I’m not sure if these people can be reached. But a few weeks ago, a few months ago, maybe......I heard Trump spouting nonsenses about how coal miners don’t want good paying tech jobs, they are simple salt of the earth people that want to do nothing but mine coal from the ground with their bare hands. And, of course, they ate it up.
And in a way, it makes sense. Telling coal miners to retrain yourself to install solar panels is kinda like telling journalists to take coding classes.
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Old 11-16-2019, 08:46 PM
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Given Buttigieg's now way ahead status in Iowa per the extremely well regarded Des Moines Register Selzer poll (at 25 he's 9 ahead of Warren and 10 ahead of both Biden and Sanders) it may be time to look at how he'd play, if not in Peoria then in Roanoke.
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Roanoke Times
All politics is local, they say. Given where Roanoke is — adjacent to Southside and Southwest Virginia, rural areas that are losing population even in good economic times— we’ve made it a point to look at the various plans of the presidential candidates to improve the nation’s rural economy.

So far, we haven’t been impressed. President Trump effectively has no plan, other than to hope that a strong national economy spills over into rural areas — a strategy that worked in previous economic eras but not this one. ...

... Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has put out a plan that sounds like he actually knows what he’s talking about.

Buttigieg has generally gotten attention for being gay, for being a military veteran, for speaking seven languages. What’s gotten almost no attention, though, is what might be his most important attribute: He’s a former business consultant. Here is a Democrat who actually worked in the private sector — and it shows in his rural economic plan. ...

... Buttigieg’s plan runs for 14 pages with 39 different bullet points. Quantity is not the same as quality, of course, but it’s telling what his first point is. It’s about building “regional economic clusters.” This isn’t sexy but it’s significant —and substantive. Other candidates have a “one size fits all” strategy. Buttigieg recognizes, well, reality: There are lots of different regional economies. Economic developers talk in terms of “clusters” — what assets does one region have that it can build on? Buttigieg talks their language. Silicon Valley is a mega-cluster of technology companies. The Roanoke and New River valleys have a cluster of auto-related companies — that’s a cluster that can be grown. It doesn’t have a cluster of, say, shipbuilding. Buttigieg would spend $500 million to develop “a national network of 1,000 clusters.” It’s unclear what that money would go toward, but in name-checking the concept of clusters Buttigieg shows he knows a lot more about how the economy works than other contenders. ...

... There’s plenty missing from Buttigieg’s plan: How would he build a new economy in former coal-mining communities, for instance?

Still, in what he’s outlined so far, Buttigieg demonstrates a more sophisticated understanding of the rural economy than all the other candidates put together. Of course, cynics might also say that’s easy to do.
So it sounds like maybe he has a plan that could actually accomplish something for rural Americans. But part two - can a gay man who has no current connection with Black voters, or really anyone other than college educated whites, connect with rural voters enough to undermine the huge GOP margin in that demographic? Will a sophisticated understanding of rural issues help him?
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