Democrats must address rural America if they want a shot in 2020

With the recent conclusion of the 2018 midterm election, Democrats walked away with their heads held high as they regained control of the House. But while some have claimed this as evidence of the Democratic “Blue Wave” that pulled the rug out from under the Republicans, it’s fair to say Republicans won their fair share of the election, maintaining control of the Senate.

There were many close races, though. Rising stars in the Democratic party like Beto O’Rourke, Andrew Gillum and Stacey Abrams got close but failed to win Texas, Florida and Georgia, respectively. That’s because Republicans held onto their main source of support – rural America. 

But these rural areas are battlegrounds for 2020. In order to successfully retain political control of the House and have a shot at taking back the White House, Democrats must address the rural areas where Republicans have historically enjoyed widespread support. 

Yet despite losing Texas, Florida and Georgia, Democrats have reasons to be positive. Take Texas as an example, where Beto O’Rourke put up a decent fight against Ted Cruz. Republicans only really had a +5 margin despite Texas being traditionally considered an ironclad red state. The silver lining of Beto’s loss? Democratic campaigns across Texas have now provided the party with the necessary infrastructure and resources to win in the future. Florida and Georgia may be undergoing a similar transformation. 

Simply put, Democrats need a strategy that wins hearts and minds in rural America. In laying down the ground work for campaigning in rural areas, Democrats would have a better chance of tightening their grips around swing states such as Florida, Texas, and Georgia and potentially Pennsylvania. Democrats face an uphill battle going forward. Hopefully, they know the ground.

Photo: Red Hook, New York via Wikimedia Commons.

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