Winning More Rural Voters

by: Mike Lux

Thu Mar 12, 2009 at 10:30


One of the great pleasures of my book tour is getting to spend some quality time with great organizers and activists outside of DC that I haven't known well. One of those people is Deb Kozikowski, who I have been hanging out with while in the Amherst/NoHo area.

Deb is a longtime Democratic Party organizer who has been on the DNC representing Massachusetts for many years, and who in 2007, with her longtime friend and fellow rural activist Matt Barron, cofounded an organization called RuralVotes. RuralVotes is one of those really important niche organizations that works on issues that matter to rural and small-town people, but does it from a progressive perspective. One of their most important strategies is to focus on doing small-town radio ads, which are incredibly cheap but reach a lot of voters in rural areas because people spend a lot of time on the road in small-town America. These ads also get a lot of buzz in small-town newspapers.

Right now, they are doing an advertising campaign in the special election for Kirsten Gilibrand's old seat, NY-20. The Albany Project did a nice piece on it here. As I have written before, Democrats don't have to win a majority of voters in rural America to win most elections, but they sure do have to win a higher percentage than Al Gore and John Kerry did. RuralVotes is making a strong contribution to making that happen.

Mike Lux :: Winning More Rural Voters

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My memory may be faulty but... (4.00 / 2)
Rural Votes - Weren't they the people that dicked over Al Giordano during the campaign? I remember he was blogging for them, and then they freaked out over his mention of "Rules for Radicals" and dumped him.

I blog on InnermostParts.org

Yes (0.00 / 0)
that's Deb. Part of the Democratic Party's culture of caution.  

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power

[ Parent ]
On NY 20 (4.00 / 3)
The piece on NY 20 fails to mention that Murphy has committed to joining the Blue Dog caucus.

On this basis, I am following Bowers' lead and am neither supporting Murphy financially, nor will I vote for him-something I have mentioned to canvassers that have contacted me over the last week or so.

This is a strategic decision based on the calculation that the damage inflicted by strengthening the Blue Dog caucus will be greater than that created by the seat reverting back to the Republicans.

Also, if Murphy goes down, it will send the message that while endorsing a Blue Dog might guarantee a few extra bucks to float their organization, it is a losing strategy for the NY State Democratic machine.

I'm open to alternative views on this matter so long as these are expressed articulately and respectfully.

So far, on the occasions I've mentioned it all I've gotten from Murphy supporters is the usual ad hominem substituting for an argument.


Well that's fine (0.00 / 0)
It is the same argument we made with the PUMAs, we'll win without you.

It's worth it to see Chris and purists like you go the way of the PUMAs.  


[ Parent ]
In general (4.00 / 4)
I agree with you. I would almost never support a Blue Dog. However this is one case where I will break that rule, and I hope you do too.

Here is my reasoning.

1. This isn't a normal election: It's results will be nationally significant. Republican victory will be used as a reason to further obstruct a progressive agenda and raise money to help their cause. If Murphy wins the conservative base will be very demoralized, Steele will face more pressure to step down and t he Republican Party will become more bitter and divided. They'll lose momentum.

2. Murphy has taken good stands on key, progressive issues. He said he would vote for the stimulus, is in favor of EFCA, is pro-choice, supports universal healthcare and opposed TARP. Those are not typical Blue Dog stands. I dislike the Blue Dogs because they are the Democrats opposed to EFCA, anti-choice, anti-UHC and remarkably pro-TARP among other bad stances on the issues. But on the core issues that makes Blue Dog's so bad Murphy is publicly on the other side.

3. We do need his votes. The public lands bill, a great, progressive bill failed by two votes recently. If Rep. Hall had been present and voted for it and Murphy had been in Congress it would have passed. Every, vote counts. And your vote or non vote will count. It will be a close election.
It's your vote, and you can do whatever you want with it. I can understand not financially supporting him (I'm not).

4. If Murphy loses, it's not going to send a message. People will say it's just a Republican district, that the stimulus is unpopular, that people are revolting against wasteful spending.

In the end it's your choice. I can understand if you go either way. I don't think we should back him financially in any way but if I was in your shoes I'd cast my ballot for Murphy reluctantly. I am not in your shoes though and in the end it's up to you. Think carefully about it though, beacuse it's an important decision.  

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power


[ Parent ]
Thanks (0.00 / 0)
That's an argument.  That's the way you get peoples' votes.

So more like this, please.

And I'll give you another argument on your side: Murphy apparently supports Gillibrand's position opposing the bailout.

That said, I'm still pretty dead set against doing anything that will strengthen the Blue Dog's hand, though I did vote for G. twice for the reasons you give.

But, as Ron Thompson say, we're past the point where we need more Dems.  Now's the time for thinning the herd of Blue Dogs and DINOs.


[ Parent ]
You're All Right (4.00 / 1)
     Gotta say, you make an excellent argument.

[ Parent ]
There's A Big Difference (4.00 / 3)
     The PUMAs were refusing to support the candidate who won the Democratic nomination by winning the primaries and caucuses. Murphy was named as the Democratic nominee by the party bosses, with no input from Democratic voters.
    I agree with John Halle that we've reached the point where electing more Blue Dogs will do more damage than electing Republicans. In our desperation to end the nightmare of total Republican control of the government in 2006, we backed Democrats wherever there was a chance to pick up a seat. Now we are dealing with the after-effects of that political promiscuity. We've accomplished the "more" part of the "more and better Democrats" formula; it's now time to concentrate on the "better", and stop wasting resources on people who will only create more problems.
    There is little danger that the House will swing to Republican control in 2010. The long-term danger to Democratic control is that pusillanimous Democrats will hamstring the progressive majority, causing a failure of our agenda, which will then cause further economic problems, leading to a Republican revival. The first step toward dealing with the problem is to stop making it bigger.  

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