Wednesday, November 1, 2023

President Biden pops in to rural America today, reaching out to mitigate the flow of rural voters to the GOP

X post from afternoon of Nov. 1, 2023
President Biden visited rural Minnesota today, and his administration dispatched another dozen officials to various corners of rural America to talk about his agenda to help the nation's rural reaches.  

Politico's headline was revealing: "Lose by less:  Biden tries to stanch Democratic losses in rural America."  Elena Schneider and Garrett Downs report: 

President Joe Biden will visit Minnesota farm country Wednesday — officially to promote his administration’s work to support farmers in the fight against climate change and help rural areas connect to broadband.

But privately, allies hope the White House outreach — part of a two-week blitz of rural America — can also help claw back voters in a part of the country where Democrats have hemorrhaged support in recent years. While party strategists are under no illusions they can win majorities in rural counties, they desperately need to lose by less next year.

* * * 

Biden’s path to victory in 2024 cuts through these rural counties, where the Biden campaign must make “sure the margins stay close,” said Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, who’s scheduled to appear alongside the president on Wednesday and grew up in a town of 400 people.

* * * 

Losing by less matters in a slew of battleground states, from Georgia to Pennsylvania to Arizona, where Republicans can overcome leads Democrats may build in urban and suburban centers by blowing them out in small-town America. It’s a perennial challenge for Democrats, as their losses have meant fewer rural representatives in the party nationally. In a segmented media landscape, it’s harder to reach rural voters through traditional media, while the broader party brand deteriorated there in recent years. 
On that "lose less" theme, you'll find lots of content on this blog, like here and here.  

Here's a quote from Matt Hildreth, founder of Rural, a super PAC:  
Biden is a champion for these communities, but the mechanics of the party get in the way [because] getting Democrats out of this hole is a multi-cycle process. We can’t coordinate with Democrats [as a super PAC], but there wouldn’t be anyone to coordinate with even if we wanted to. I don’t think that’s Biden’s fault. I think there’s just not enough talent in the Democratic party from rural communities.

And this is from Lauren Gepford of Contest Every Race, which recruits and supports Democrats in rural places:  

I’d love for [the] Biden campaign to be on rural radio, rural billboards — make it safe to be a Biden supporter in rural America. It’s unlike me to support yard signs, but in rural areas, visibility is key.
The Politico story includes this important quote from former Congressman Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who lost the contest for U.S. Senate last year to J.D. Vance, the Republican whose 2016 memoir, Hillbilly Elegy, brought him fame and fortune.  
You can show up, but if you show up and say, ‘aren’t you doing great?’ … whether they’re the president or the secretary of Agriculture, you will be seen as completely and utterly out-of-touch and that is when people go and look elsewhere to vote for someone.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration's comms people took to X (formerly known as Twitter), with postings like these (following on the one at the top of this post):

X posts from afternoon of Nov. 1, 2023
All of this said, it'll be interesting to see if Biden's rural messaging gets through to rural Americans.  The comments in my X feed are mostly from Biden detractors, ridiculing him for these posts and lots of other things.   And, as I have written before, the fact that Hillary Clinton had a rural plan/program (and Donald Trump did not) did her little good in the 2016 election. 

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