clearn.png
Wednesday July 15th, 2020 3:19AM

2020 Democrats aim to reverse Trump gains in rural areas

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — They're flanked by hay bales on otherwise deserted fields, speak atop countertops at small-town coffee shops and tour farms far removed from city centers. Democratic presidential candidates are trying to prove they can gain ground in rural areas that swung to President Donald Trump.

On Wednesday alone, three White House hopefuls — Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand and Amy Klobuchar — offered sweeping proposals that touch on everything from farm subsidies to rural broadband and health care. The trio of senators are among the parade of candidates who will fan out across Iowa this weekend to participate in the famed state fair and other events.

The focus on rural Iowa is a mainstay of presidential politics, sending candidates on a sometimes-awkward pilgrimage to the far corners of the state that holds the first-in-the-nation caucuses. But Democrats say the chase for the heartland is especially urgent this year as the party tries to win back some voters who backed Trump in 2016. A strong showing in Iowa, they say, could prove a candidate's ability to make inroads in other rural communities across the country.

"If we don't fight everywhere, we're going to continue to lose in the places where we don't show up, and it's going to get worse and worse," said J.D. Scholten, the Democrat who is challenging GOP Rep. Steve King again after nearly prevailing in the heavily rural northeastern Iowa district in 2018.

The challenge for Democrats is to rebuild the multiracial coalition across urban and rural areas that twice sent Barack Obama to the White House. His victory in the 2008 Iowa caucuses helped build momentum to claim the party's presidential nomination. He later carried Iowa in the 2008 and 2012 general elections while also winning states with urban centers, such as Pennsylvania and Michigan.

By 2016, Trump ate into that path , carrying Iowa, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

As they work to reverse those gains, some Democratic candidates are offering ambitious changes to rural voters. Warren's proposal on Wednesday would reshape the current farm subsidy system into a program that would break up big agribusinesses and guarantee farmers certain prices, which she said would raise farmers' incomes and save taxpayer money.

Warren's said her proposal, similar to programs the government used during the New Deal era, "gives us the tools to stabilize farm income where farmers aren't getting prices at the cost of production, like commodity crops and dairy." She added in an online post about her plan that her approach also would improve "food security by giving the government access to reserves if needed" and would cut down on overproduction.

Klobuchar is proposing an expansion of federal programs that help small family farmers and small business owners in rural areas, and those that incentivize farmers to engage in conservation practices. It encompasses some planks she's already released in the past, like her plan to invest in rural broadband, and some she's worked on during farm bill negotiations on Capitol Hill, like investing in clean energy and energy efficiency programs.

She also pledges to expand Medicare reimbursements for rural hospitals and increase access to childcare in less-populated areas.

"You need someone that understands ag, that also gets that that's not the only thing in rural America, that there are a lot of other issues we have to tackle if we're to move forward," she said as she introduced her plan on Wednesday in Iowa as she highlighted her experience as a senator from Minnesota.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Rep. John Delaney, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and former Vice President Joe Biden have all released comprehensive plans for revitalizing rural America, which include planks focused on health care, agriculture reform, and investments in local economies and infrastructure. Other candidates have sought to tackle a single issue, like the rural health care policies released by Sen. Michael Bennet. Warren's new farm agenda includes a section on health care, including new support for rural hospitals.

There's considerable overlap within the field on the broad foundations for helping less-populous areas of the country. Nearly every candidate with a plan has endorsed stepping up antitrust enforcement against major agriculture monopolies, incentivizing farmers to engage in more environmentally friendly practices, renegotiating trade deals to be more favorable for farmers and investments in rural broadband.

But their pitches go beyond just policy. A number of Democrats in the field, like Hickenlooper, Klobuchar and Steve Bullock, tout their experience campaigning and crafting policy for rural areas.

"I refuse to cede the votes of rural Americans to Donald Trump," said Bullock, the Montana governor who has made his success in a Trump-won state a centerpiece of his struggling presidential campaign.

Gillibrand, who was first elected to a conservative upstate New York congressional district, often highlights her rural roots. Warren frequently recalls her family's struggle to get by financially during her childhood in the deep-red state of Oklahoma.

Some of the candidates have also made an effort to campaign beyond Iowa's population centers, in places like tiny Malcom, a town of about 285 people where Sanders held a town hall, and Stanton, a town of fewer than 700 where Klobuchar spoke about her rural broadband plan.

Warren's campaign has deployed a rural-focused organizer, who spends his days driving a pickup truck to the state's smallest towns and holding town halls and coffees with locals, conversations that ultimately helped inform the candidate's policy. Her pair of rural policy platforms included praise from advocates and experts in farm states, such as the president of the Texas and Nebraska Farmers Unions.

But some of Iowa's most prominent rural activists warn that the candidates may be missing the mark.

Scholten said candidates are going too deep in the weeds on policy details without laying out a broader guiding "vision."

"The way to win in rural areas is to show them a vision on how (the candidates) can improve on people's lives," he said.

Pointing to Sanders' plan, a sweeping multi-part proposal, Scholten added, "when you have a 17-point plan, that's good, but that doesn't really resonate with someone in Hinton, Iowa. That was a huge dump of policies," he said. "I know that policy and what it will do, but the average voter won't."

Former state Sen. Tom Courtney, now a local Democratic Party chair in a rural southeastern county, said the candidates need to "go to these audiences, but start talking more jobs, more health care, not just in platitudes."

"Nobody's doing that," he said.

__

Schor reported from Washington.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Elections, General Election News, General Presidential Election News, AP Business, AP Elections - Political Conventions, AP Elections - Campaigns, AP Business - Economy
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
US hopes for North Korea nuclear talks despite missile tests
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says a recent series of short-range missile tests by North Korea shouldn't hamper the resumption of stalled denuclearization talks between the two nations
1:56PM ( 10 minutes ago )
2020 Democrats aim to reverse Trump gains in rural areas
On Wednesday, Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Kirsten Gillibrand are releasing sweeping plans to revitalize rural America
1:56PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Cyntoia Brown is released from Tennessee women's prison
Cyntoia Brown has been released from the Tennessee Prison for Women, where she was serving a life sentence for killing a man who picked her up for sex at 16
1:43PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Trump faces protests as he visits Dayton, El Paso
Trump met by protesters as he heads to Ohio and Texas
1:09PM ( 57 minutes ago )
O'Rourke forgoing Iowa to stay in Texas after mass shooting
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke is canceling a series of campaign stops in Iowa and will remain in El Paso, Texas, through the weekend as his hometown continues to cope with a mass shooting that killed 22 people
1:09PM ( 57 minutes ago )
El Paso, with deep Mexican American past, rallies amid pain
The mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart struck a city some call a Mexican American intellectual, political and literary center
12:33PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Some skeptical as Trump prepares to visit sites of shootings
Trump's plan to visit Ohio and Texas in an appeal for unity and healing after mass shootings draws skepticism from some residents, Democratic candidates
8:24AM ( 5 hours ago )
The Latest: O'Rourke to speak out at rally as Trump visits
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke is attending an El Paso, Texas community rally timed to serve as counterprogramming to President Donald Trump's visit
8:14AM ( 5 hours ago )
Taliban claim suicide car bombing in west Kabul, dozens hurt
Taliban suicide car bomber targets police headquarters in minority Shiite part of Kabul; dozens hurt
3:48AM ( 10 hours ago )
AP Elections
2020 Democrats to talk gun safety in Iowa after shootings
At least six Democratic presidential candidates are set to attend a forum in Iowa this Saturday organized by gun control advocates in the wake of two mass shootings that killed 31 people in Texas and Ohio
5:02PM ( 21 hours ago )
Trump, Republican party sue over California tax return law
The Trump campaign and Republican Party have sued California over a law requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns
3:31PM ( 22 hours ago )
Biden: Trump 'using the language' of 'white nationalists'
Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden says he'd push a voluntary federal buyback program to encourage Americans to give up their military style weapons and ammunition
10:09PM ( 1 day ago )
General Election News
Trump's tariffs could blot out positive economic story
Trump's trade war with China has destabilized the economy in ways that could hurt his 2020 reelection chances if the conflict persists
4:59PM ( 21 hours ago )
Mozambique peace accord signed, paves way for elections
Mozambique's president and the leader of country's main opposition group have signed a new peace accord in the capital
4:25PM ( 21 hours ago )
2020 Dems' health care battle is decades in the making
Seventy years ago, before Medicare existed to inspire "Medicare for All," a Democratic president wrestled with a challenge strikingly similar to what the party's White House hopefuls face today
12:27AM ( 2 days ago )
General Presidential Election News
UK food industry looks to avoid shortages in no-deal Brexit
The U.K. food industry is asking the government to set aside rules that bar companies from coordinating supply decisions amid fears of shortages in the event Britain leaves the European Union without a deal
1:04PM ( 1 hour ago )
FedEx to end ground delivery business with Amazon
FedEx says it will end its ground delivery business with Amazon
12:49PM ( 1 hour ago )
Ex-dean with oversight of Larry Nassar gets 1 year in jail
A judge has ordered a former Michigan State University dean who had oversight of now-imprisoned sports doctor Larry Nassar to serve up to a year in jail
12:28PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
GOP-controlled Senate confirms 13 more judges named by Trump
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is hailing votes this week confirming 13 of President Donald Trump's judicial nominees
6:24PM ( 5 days ago )
The Latest: Democrats close debate by focusing on Trump
Democratic presidential candidates are closing their second primary debate by focusing on President Donald Trump
10:20AM ( 6 days ago )
After 'Send her back!' chant, Ohio rally a test for Trump
Trump's rally in Ohio will be a test for both candidate and crowd, his first since the audience at a North Carolina rally chanted "Send her back!" about a Somali-born congresswoman of color
9:08AM ( 6 days ago )
AP Elections - Political Conventions
Authorities scour leads in mass shootings that left 31 dead
Authorities in two U.S. cities scoured leads in a pair of weekend mass shootings that killed 31, trying to piece together the motives that led two young men to unleash violence on innocent people in crowded public places
5:33AM ( 1 day ago )
2020 Dems back gun limits after El Paso mass shooting
Democratic presidential candidates are expressing outrage that mass shootings have becoming chillingly common nationwide
6:57AM ( 3 days ago )
Oscar-winning documentary maker D.A. Pennebaker dies at 94
D.A. Pennebaker, Oscar-winning documenter of politics and culture, died at his Long Island home
10:29PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Elections - Campaigns
Pakistan decides to downgrade ties with India over Kashmir
Pakistan has decided to downgrade its diplomatic ties with neighboring India and suspend bilateral trade in response to New Delhi's decision to reduce the special status of Kashmir, a Himalayan region claimed by both countries
10:07AM ( 4 hours ago )
European stocks push on as China stabilizes currency
Global stock markets continue to recover ground after China's decision to stabilize its currency eased some tensions around the trade war with the U.S.
8:21AM ( 5 hours ago )
China's yuan weakens after signs of stability calm markets
China's currency weakens again after signs of stability helped to reassure jittery financial markets
7:16AM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
US hopes for North Korea nuclear talks despite missile tests
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says a recent series of short-range missile tests by North Korea shouldn't hamper the resumption of stalled denuclearization talks between the two nations
1:56PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Cyntoia Brown is released from Tennessee women's prison
Cyntoia Brown has been released from the Tennessee Prison for Women, where she was serving a life sentence for killing a man who picked her up for sex at 16
1:43PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Mass shootings so far this year almost reach 2018 levels
Barely into the eighth month of 2019 and the U.S. has seen almost as many mass killings as occurred in all of 2018
1:37PM ( 29 minutes ago )
Oprah Winfrey praises her late friend and idol Toni Morrison
Oprah Winfrey praised her late friend and idol, Toni Morrison, hailing the best-selling author's "confidence and self-assuredness and nobility."
1:36PM ( 30 minutes ago )
McConnell, GOP Senate unlikely to act swiftly on guns
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is resisting pressure to bring senators back from recess to address gun violence,
1:35PM ( 32 minutes ago )