Wow! I can’t believe it. Yesterday evening, NPR’s All Thing’s Considered highlighted our work!
You can listen to the story below!
And here’s a transcript from the show:
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
In most recent elections, Democrats have struggled among rural voters. But in the midterms, some Democrats found ways to improve their margins in rural areas. NPR’s Ximena Bustillo reports.
XIMENA BUSTILLO, BYLINE: For years, Democratic organizers have been trying to find a way to break back into the rural demographic. Matt Hildreth, executive director of the progressive community group RuralOrganizing, recalls a 2018 meeting in a community center basement in Athens, Ohio.
MATT HILDRETH: And the conversation we had was about, you know, how do you improve margins and progressive performance in these communities? And literally, the motto that came out of that meeting was lose less. And we kind of said it tongue-in-cheek. Like, we kind of laughed at it when we said it. Like, well, we don’t need to win. We just need to lose less.
BUSTILLO: And come the 2022 midterms, many Democrats did lose less. Republicans still took home the lion’s share of the rural vote, but some Democrats made inroads in rural areas. One example is Pennsylvania’s Democratic Senator-elect John Fetterman. He flipped a seat previously held by a retiring Republican, and the victory was attributable to not only strong performance in suburban areas, but also by gaining more votes in rural areas than Joe Biden did in 2020. Democrats saw similar success in parts of Illinois, Arizona and Washington. Now, both parties are setting the stage for the 2024 election. Many items like health care access, student debt relief and abortion protection are popular among rural demographics, but rural advocates say the Democratic Party often fails to communicate its policies to rural voters. Here’s Hildreth again.
HILDRETH: I have a lot of questions about what the White House is going to do, frankly. Like, what is the lesson that the White House will take from this election? And will they listen to these Democrats who showed up and listened, have an agenda and are delivering results?
BUSTILLO: Advocates like Hildreth want Democrats to be more present and to communicate directly to rural populations. And there’s the changing demographic to consider – recent 2020 census data found rural areas are diversifying, even as their populations are declining. Ximena Bustillo, NPR News, Washington.
For the last four years, our team at RuralOrganizing.org has been writing the winning playbook to cut Republican margins in small towns and rural communities.
This NPR story proves that our work is starting to break through.
Rural voters have a massive impact on the Senate and Supreme Court. In about 20 years, half the U.S. population will live in eight states. That’s why Republicans have focused on consolidating votes in red states and rural areas.
But the good news for Democrats is that good policy is still good politics. A new generation of Democrats in Congress like Sens. Mark Kelly, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Tina Smith, and Reps. Derek Kilmer, Angie Craig, Tom O’Halleran, and Josh Harder are focused on increasing good-paying jobs, decreasing daily expenses, and improving the quality of life in rural America.
These Democrats had a good year because their focus on rural issues helped them cut rural margins.
This is what our winning playbook is all about.
The midterm election results prove we have a winning strategy for cutting margins in rural America. With your help we can build on our momentum heading into the presidential election in 2024. Please click here and donate to support our work today.