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Heartland Democrats to Washington: ‘You’re Killing Us’


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#1 mauserme

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 03:13 PM

https://www.politico...-indiana-216273


 

 

Heartland Democrats to Washington: ‘You’re Killing Us’

A new report blames an elitist national party for alienating vast swaths of once reliable voters. If the party doesn’t win them back, it could spell disaster in 2020.

By MICHAEL KRUSE

January 11, 2018


AUSTIN, Ind.—Steering his white Dodge Ram while wearing a tan knit cap, a drab green Carhartt coat and a smear of brown livestock feed on his cheek, Terry Goodin jounced over frozen-hard mud toward his 100 head of beef cattle. “Make sure they’re all four legs down and not four legs up, in this kind of weather,” he told me in his southern Indiana drawl. The temperature overnight had dipped toward zero. Now, mid-morning, it stood at 16 degrees. On the rear of his old pickup truck was a “Farmers For Goodin” bumper sticker, and rattling around his head were thoughts of what he was going to say the following week in a starkly different setting—up in Indianapolis, at the regal marble capitol building, in his introductory speech as the leader of his caucus in the state legislature.

He wanted to talk about the importance of public education, affordable health care and a living wage, and the moral necessity of addressing the opioids scourge. Six days later, dressed in a sharp suit and a striped tie, he would stress those priorities—and also deliver a declaration of identity:

“I am a Democrat. I am a Democrat from rural Indiana.”

That Goodin, 51, who has held political office for more than 17 years, felt the need to say this out loud speaks to the divisions bedeviling the Democratic Party. A father of three and the superintendent of a 500-student school district, Goodin is the last Democrat in Indiana who represents an entirely rural area. A member of the Indiana Farm Bureau, the National Rifle Association and the Austin Church of God, he’s a pro-life, pro-gun, self-described “Bible-poundin’, aisle-runnin’” Pentecostal. This unusual profile for a Democrat makes him a species nearing extinction within the national party, but it’s also the very reason he keeps getting reelected here. This paradox is why he is prominently featured in a report set to be made public today by the leadership PAC of third-term congresswoman Cheri Bustos.

The report, “Hope from the Heartland: How Democrats Can Better Serve the Midwest by Bringing Rural, Working Class Wisdom to Washington,” lands at a moment, of course, when Democrats are riled up with activist energy but also wrestling with themselves about the direction of their party—their most reliable areas of support having receded to cities, coasts and college towns. In contrast, this report is based on interviews with 72 Democrats who hail from none of those places but rather largely agricultural, blue-collar areas in the vast, eight-state center of the country. It will be distributed to local and regional party leaders as well as the most important Democrats on Capitol Hill. Bustos shared an early copy exclusively with POLITICO.
...

The facts are harsh. “The number of Democrats holding office across the nation is at its lowest point since the 1920s and the decline has been especially severe in rural America,” Bustos writes in the report. In 2009, the report notes, Democrats held 57 percent of the Heartland’s seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Now: 39 percent. In 2008, Barack Obama won seven of the eight Heartland States. In 2012, he won six. In 2016? Trump won six. There are 737 counties in the Midwest—Trump won all but 63 of them. “We can’t keep bombing in the rural parts of these states,” Bustos told me. And with arguably some of the most critical midterms in American history less than 10 months away, the 2020 presidential election already looming and redistricting control on the line, Democrats need to find a fix fast, said Robin Johnson, a Bustos adviser and consultant who teaches political science at Monmouth College in Illinois, and conducted the interviews for the report last summer. “If we don’t get this right in the next two cycles,” he told me, “we’re done”—rendered mostly powerless in Congress and in Heartland state houses. He called the report “a cold reality check.”

From the Appalachian regions of Ohio to the Iron Range of Minnesota and the northern reaches of Michigan and Wisconsin, across Iowa and Missouri and through the southern swaths of Indiana and Illinois—areas in which Bill Clinton triumphed and Hillary Clinton tanked—the quotes from the 72 rural Democrats Johnson interviewed read like a pent-up primal scream. And Terry Goodin’s comments pop out in particular. In the report, he says the Democratic Party is “lazy,” “out of touch with mainstream America,” relying on “too much identity politics” where “winners and losers are picked by their labels.” The Democrats in his district, he laments, “feel abandoned.”
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“The Democratic Party is a party of elites,” Michigan State Rep. Donna Lasinski told Johnson.

“Democratic leaders don’t understand the needs of rural voters,” former Illinois State Sen. John Sullivan said.

“The ‘metro-centrics’ in our party don’t know the difference between majority and minority,” Minnesota State Rep. Gene Pelowski added. “They just play to the base. They don’t care about winning elections.”

Wisconsin State Sen. Janet Bewley sounds practically protective of her rural constituents. “If anyone calls them Bubbas, they’ll have me to contend with,” she told Johnson, referring to Democrats who are “dismissive of those who listen to country music and watch NASCAR.”

“The Democratic brand,” said Illinois State Rep. Jerry Costello, Jr., “is hugely damaged, and it’s going to take a while to bring it back. Democrats in southern Illinois have been more identified by bathrooms”—transgender bathrooms, that is—“than by putting people back to work.”

Several of the lawmakers that talked to Johnson called some in the Democratic Party intolerant.

“We say we’re diverse and tolerant,” former Indiana State Rep. Dennie Oxley said, “but we’re really not tolerant of certain groups.”

“Some in the party, especially from metro areas, are not tolerant of other opinions, especially on guns and abortion,” Minnesota State Rep. Jeanne Poppe said. “It’s OK, if you’re liberal, to be intolerant.”

Goodin agrees.

“Democrats have become less inclusive, the party has,” he said to me one evening driving from Indianapolis back to Austin, snow-specked fields speeding by on either side of the car.

“The traditional Democrat Party was a party of diversity,” Goodin said. Now? “They don’t really walk the walk.”
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 “The single most unifying factor for Democrats is our commitment to working people in this country.”

That much he and Pelosi and Goodin agree on. Goodin is a Democrat in the first place, he told me, because his grandfather was a union coal miner in Harlan County, Kentucky, and because his father was the school superintendent in Austin. He’s a staunch supporter of public education. A graduate of Eastern Kentucky University, he has a doctorate from Indiana University in Bloomington. But he calls himself a “Hoosier Democrat” the same way Senator Joe Manchin calls himself a “West Virginia Democrat”—and that means, he said, that he takes some positions that are to the right of most of his fellow Democrats.

Goodin, for instance, has taken traditionally Republican stances on gun rights. He said he wanted to implement in Indiana’s schools a program that would teach fourth-graders how to safely handle a gun. “I’m A-plus with the NRA,” he said. “Whether that’s good or bad, that’s just who I am.” Goodin owns seven guns, and his four-year-old son, he told me, has four .22-caliber rifles of his own. “The good guys in Westerns carry guns—and they beat the bad guys,” he explained.
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The lesson? “That the more moderate to conservative Democrat needs to come back in order for us to get the majority,” said Baron Hill, the former Democratic congressman from southern Indiana who lost in 2010. “The Democrats have got to do a better job of appealing to what was described a while back as the ‘deplorables,’ if you’ll recall.”
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On 5/25/2017, Superintendent Eddie Johnson predicted a 50% reduction is Chicago violence within 3 years of SB1722 becoming law.  The bill was signed into law on 6/23/2017. The clock is now ticking.


#2 3ddiver

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 04:33 PM

Funny to see Sullivan quoted. He does understand farmers BUT he was also a machine puppet on most issues.



#3 chislinger

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 09:56 AM

It makes you wonder why these people see themselves as Democrats when everything they stand for is GOP policy.
"I'm not worried about following the U.S. Constitution." - Washington County, Alabama Judge Nick Williams

#4 TRJ

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 11:30 AM

It makes you wonder why these people see themselves as Democrats when everything they stand for is GOP policy.


There was a time when the D party might have been a better fit. The recent move to the far left on social policies has left some of their party behind as Democrats in name only.

#5 BobPistol

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Posted 13 January 2018 - 06:18 PM

"We did not leave the democrat party, the democrat party left us"

 

These will be future R's if things keep going the way they are. 


The Second Amendment of the Constitution protects the rest.

#6 Bitter Clinger

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 06:49 AM

The Democrat party needs to cease to exist.
The party is extremely hard left and is only concerned with wedge issues and divisive politics.
They don't give a damn about the country or its people. They only care about themselves and pushing their radical leftist, Marxist agenda.

They have no place in the United States of America and need to go.

Edited by Bitter Clinger, 14 January 2018 - 06:49 AM.


#7 bmurph44

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 07:34 AM

The Democrat party needs to cease to exist.

They have no place in the United States of America and need to go.

 

Good idea, how do we go about making this happen?


Edited by bmurph44, 14 January 2018 - 07:35 AM.


#8 mauserme

    Eliminating the element of surprise one bill at a time.

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 08:59 AM

The Democrat party needs to cease to exist.

They have no place in the United States of America and need to go.

 
Good idea, how do we go about making this happen?


It's probably more like traditional Democrats needing to take their party back.

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Link to ILGA House Audio/Video..........Link to ILGA Senate Audio/Video ..........Advanced Digital Media Link ..........Blue Room Stream Link

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. (Ephesians 4:31)

 

On 5/25/2017, Superintendent Eddie Johnson predicted a 50% reduction is Chicago violence within 3 years of SB1722 becoming law.  The bill was signed into law on 6/23/2017. The clock is now ticking.


#9 chicagoresident

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 09:16 AM

The Democrat party needs to cease to exist.The party is extremely hard left and is only concerned with wedge issues and divisive politics.They don't give a damn about the country or its people. They only care about themselves and pushing their radical leftist, Marxist agenda.They have no place in the United States of America and need to go.

Most Americans would consider themselves centrists and demographically/idealistically would fall under populists. Somehow both parties have lost touch with such a common concept that when the superpacs on the right and the DNC on the left places their bets they get wrecked in the primaries.

A big piece of it is more focus on the primaries so voters are more educated on who's going to the big show. Unfortunately a big handicap for the DNC are their superdelegates. When they get off course of that populist message they don't have a natural order to set it right.

As you pointed out, it's now become all about those divisive wedge issues that used to just be subtleties around a greater populist message. You used to be able to be a Democrat and still like guns. Now you're put in their basket of deplorables.

They'll figure it out eventually because they are ceasing to exist how they are being run now.

Edited by chicagoresident, 14 January 2018 - 09:21 AM.


#10 bmurph44

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 09:15 AM




The Democrat party needs to cease to exist.

They have no place in the United States of America and need to go.


 
Good idea, how do we go about making this happen?




The Democrat party needs to cease to exist.
They have no place in the United States of America and need to go.
 
Good idea, how do we go about making this happen?

Maybe we should get the military involved, make them arrest and jail all Democrats and while theyre at it lets go ahead and do the same with journalists, except the ones on our side of course.

Edited by bmurph44, 14 January 2018 - 09:17 AM.


#11 bmurph44

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 09:18 AM

The Democrat party needs to cease to exist.They have no place in the United States of America and need to go.

 Good idea, how do we go about making this happen?
It's probably more like traditional Democrats needing to take their party back.

I agree, Dems went way too far left and lost.

Are the republicans now doing the same by going too far right?

#12 BobPistol

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 09:35 AM

 


Are the republicans now doing the same by going too far right?

 

 

Let's see.  They're waving the rainbow flag at every opportunity, rejecting socon beliefs and becoming as big government types as the leftocrats.

 

Nope.   They're not bothering to go right.


The Second Amendment of the Constitution protects the rest.

#13 chicagoresident

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 10:08 AM

I agree, Dems went way too far left and lost.
Are the republicans now doing the same by going too far right?

Based on interviews and campaigns Hillary and Trump were aligned on almost all the issues in the early 2000's. Back then you'd probably call Clinton a little more right then Trump because she was anti gay marriage while he was attending prominent gay weddings. And while Trump was hiring migrant workers she was the one calling for border control and deportation.

Very telling is their adoption of their current party values and how that plays out on the voters. The Republican party has definitely gone more centrist/populist. Lower taxes, job creation, balancing trade, limiting welfare but keeping some type of medicare/medicaid, lowering deficit, etc. That's what most Americans care about. The left has a platform that just distracts from those issues and accuses anyone who thinks differently of not being enlightened.

Edited by chicagoresident, 14 January 2018 - 10:23 AM.


#14 mauserme

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 10:41 AM

Based on interviews and campaigns Hillary and Trump were aligned on almost all the issues in the early 2000's. Back then you'd probably call Clinton a little more right then Trump because she was anti gay marriage while he was attending prominent gay weddings. And while Trump was hiring migrant workers she was the one calling for border control and deportation.

Very telling is their adoption of their current party values and how that plays out on the voters. The Republican party has definitely gone more centrist/populist. Lower taxes, job creation, balancing trade, limiting welfare but keeping some type of medicare/medicaid, lowering deficit, etc. That's what most Americans care about. The left has a platform that just distracts from those issues and accuses anyone who thinks differently of not being enlightened.


Yet, the point of the article and my reason for starting the topic is some Democrat's own realization that they need more conservatism on many issues, including the Second Amendment.

My hope is that, if enough Democrats realize this, it will allow the Republican Party to rediscover its values, especially on the Second Amendment.

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Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. (Ephesians 4:31)

 

On 5/25/2017, Superintendent Eddie Johnson predicted a 50% reduction is Chicago violence within 3 years of SB1722 becoming law.  The bill was signed into law on 6/23/2017. The clock is now ticking.


#15 chislinger

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 10:51 AM

My hope is that, if enough Democrats realize this, it will allow the Republican Party to rediscover its values, especially on the Second Amendment.

The traditional country-club Republicans are classic Fudd types, not friendly to 2A rights.
"I'm not worried about following the U.S. Constitution." - Washington County, Alabama Judge Nick Williams

#16 chicagoresident

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 11:04 AM

My hope is that, if enough Democrats realize this, it will allow the Republican Party to rediscover its values, especially on the Second Amendment.

The traditional country-club Republicans are classic Fudd types, not friendly to 2A rights.
The Fudds are all about restricting gun types, worse are the law and order Republicans that want to restrict who can own guns and where they can carry them.

For better or worse the Republican party is the most diverse in views. Repealing some of the more restrictive gun laws and executive orders should be a unifying issue, but it's not. Remember when we were all convinced silencers would be off NFA by now?

#17 mauserme

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 02:09 PM

For better or worse the Republican party is the most diverse in views. Repealing some of the more restrictive gun laws and executive orders should be a unifying issue, but it's not. Remember when we were all convinced silencers would be off NFA by now?


No, actually, I don't remember a time when we were all convinced of that.

Back to topic, it's incumbent upon us to find unifying issues within the 2A arena and encourage members of either party to come together in those common causes, to the extent each is individually willing to do so.

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Link to ILGA House Audio/Video..........Link to ILGA Senate Audio/Video ..........Advanced Digital Media Link ..........Blue Room Stream Link

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. (Ephesians 4:31)

 

On 5/25/2017, Superintendent Eddie Johnson predicted a 50% reduction is Chicago violence within 3 years of SB1722 becoming law.  The bill was signed into law on 6/23/2017. The clock is now ticking.


#18 Lou

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 04:46 PM

The Democrat strategy seems to be one of identity politics. Appeal to enough minorities and fringe issues and you can cobble together enough votes to win. How’d that work out for Ms Clinton in 2016?

People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf. -  George Orwell

A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and don't have one, you'll probably never need one again. 





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