So where does this leave Democrats and anyone seeking to expand and build lasting support for safety-net programs such as Obamacare?
For starters, it means redoubling efforts to mobilize the people who benefit from the programs. This is no easy task with the rural poor, who are much more geographically scattered than their urban counterparts. Not helping matters in this regard is the decline of local institutions like labor unions — while the United Mine Workers of America once drove turnout in coal country, today there is not a single unionized mine still operating in Kentucky.So how do we mobilize the rural poor? Can technology play a role?