Rural America Ignored

June 21, 2017

We have to face the truth.

 

Donald Trump is president today because Democrats wrote off rural America. The operating theory has been that we can win the cities by large enough margins that what happens in rural areas doesn’t matter. 

 

Admittedly, it worked in two elections with Barack Obama—but it sure didn’t work this time! To give you an idea of how bad it’s gotten in rural America, read this: “In 1996, Bill Clinton won nearly half of America’s 3,142 counties. Sixteen years later, Barack Obama carried fewer than 700 counties and still won the election. However, Hillary Clinton carried just 487 and lost.

 

Clearly, progressives have to change course.

 

But all is not lost, though. As you know, TakeItBack.Org was involved in passing the most sweeping public campaign financing law in America, and did so in South Dakota, one of the most conservative states in America.

 

While the SD State Legislature quickly repealed it (why? because they could), it nevertheless proved that rural Americans can be persuaded to support progressive initiatives, and do so despite the vehement opposition of the Koch brothers, who spent over $600k to defeat us.

 

Another stunning example, though, comes from Oklahoma, where a man named Joe Maxwell, an employee of the Humane Society, led an effort to defeat a Big Corporate Ag constitutional amendment euphemistically called “Right to Farm.” Huffington Post describes “Right to Farm” measures this way: [They] come with a sympathetic label, but they benefit big agricultural conglomerates, giving them legal protections that help elbow smaller producers out of the market.”

 

When Maxwell convinced the Humane Society to fight the measure, Right to Farm had a 64%-15% lead. In politics, you don’t usually come back from a more than 4/1 deficit.

 

And yet, if you truly believe in the rightness of your cause, and if you don’t give up, then sometimes seeming miracles happen.

 

And that’s what happened. Organizing a coalition of family farmers, Indian tribes, animal welfare activists, environmental groups, and family farmers, Maxwell turned a 64-15% deficit into a stunning political win—triumphing over Big Corporate Ag by more than 20%!

 

What he didn’t do is to follow the ineffective status quo, Democratic political handbook, which is to concentrate energy and resources in the cities and then hope for the best in rural areas.

 

But this graph shows it best:

 

 

Maxwell took the fight to everyone, and he did it without compromising or shading his views. “Democrats don’t have to throw out their values,” Maxwell told the Huffington Post. “Democrats don’t even have to abandon their issues. It’s about how you frame it. It’s about connecting with people and showing them how your ideas fit with their values.”

 

And that’s what we at TakeItBack.Org have done, and will do in the future. We plan on taking the fight for our values—for YOUR values—straight on.

 

We soon will be announcing our ballot initiative ideas for the 2018 cycle, and we promise that you will be excited and energized by them.

 

In order to move forward, though, we still need to keep the lights on, get signatures collected and spread the word...and to do that we need your help. Volunteers are what makes this work. Donations help, too: $5, $10, $20 or whatever you can afford. If you can help it will be very much appreciated.  Donations are not just financial help—which we need—but also they show the world that there are many of us, that we’re motivated and organized, and prove that “we the people,” acting together, can accomplish great things.

 

We can do this!

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