Midwest Democrats Warn Party to Change or Get Used to More Losing

“We say we’re diverse and tolerant, but we’re really not tolerant of certain groups."

By Published on January 13, 2018

A group of Democratic politicians from Midwestern states is calling on the party to change or face being a minority for years to come.

“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,” Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos, a Democrat, wrote in a new report.

After years of dominance in state and local offices, eight midwestern states turned solidly red around the time of President Donald Trump’s defeat of Democrat Hillary Clinton, and Democrats have lost their authority.

“Hope from the Heartland: How Democrats Can Better Serve the Midwest by Bringing Rural, Working Class Wisdom to Washington,” a report compiled by Cher PAC, an organization for Bustos, offers suggestions for how Democrats could accomplish such a feat.

Busto’s report includes interviews with 72 Democratic politicians from “the Heartland” — Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin — who have won local and statewide elections despite the GOP sweep of the rural Midwest.

Help us champion truth, freedom, limited government and human dignity. Support The Stream »

At the national level, midwestern Democrats appear to be doing fine: 10 of the 16 U.S. senators from heartland states are Democratic. But the report warns that after 2016, “the rural vote in states like Missouri, Ohio, Wisconsin and Indiana will be critical in determining whether Democrats hold those seats.”

To regain influence in the Midwest in 2018 and beyond, Democrats must change their messaging, focus on jobs and the economy, reach out to Midwestern voters more and adapt campaigns to rural America, Bustos, who is up for reelection in 2018, says in the report.

One of the big problems is that Democrats seem to be most interested in national identity politics driven by urban centers than reflecting values of voters in rural areas.

“We say we’re diverse and tolerant, but we’re really not tolerant of certain groups,” said former Democratic Indiana state Rep. Dennie Oxley, according to the report.

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

The big policy areas Democrats should focus on to attract rural voters to, or back to, the Democrats are infrastructure, education, small
business, economic and national, agriculture, and reducing government waste, according to the report.

“If we don’t get this right in the next two cycles, we’re done,” Robin Johnson, a consultant and adviser to Bustos told Politico, adding that the report is “a cold reality check.”

Follow Thomas Phippen on Twitter


Copyright 2018 The Daily Caller News Foundation

Print Friendly
Comments ()
The Stream encourages comments, whether in agreement with the article or not. However, comments that violate our commenting rules or terms of use will be removed. Any commenter who repeatedly violates these rules and terms of use will be blocked from commenting. Comments on The Stream are hosted by Disqus, with logins available through Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or G+ accounts. You must log in to comment. Please flag any comments you see breaking the rules. More detail is available here.
  • ooddballz

    Do NOT listen and do NOT change a thing!

    You are doing just fine with your current strategy.

    • centrust

      Sure you are. Keep throwing the same message in the Midwest you did in the 2016 election. If you think you were shocked by the results in 2016, you will be catatonic in 2020. Your strategies and the Democratic planks in the DNC platform are so out of tune with the majority of Midwesterners that you will implode in those states. Your strategy would be best to stay in New York, Chicago and California. I was a dedicated Democrat, but the party has become a party driven by extremists. To quote another former Democrat, Ronald Reagan, “I didn’t leave the Democratic party; the Democratic party left me”.

      • ooddballz

        You completely missed my point.
        I want them to continue with a losing strategy.

        • centrust

          Didn’t catch the sarcasm! 🙂

          • ooddballz

            guess not.

  • Conservator

    I agree. The Democrats; aka the “American Communist and Kooks” party, should just continue down the road their “leaders” have chosen. Their fade into obscurity and irrelevance would be a blessing for our country.

  • Kevin Carr

    What would they change to? The alternative is everything they are against.

  • DebraBrunsberg

    It will be almost impossible for people who are as severely out of touch with the rest of the Nation, who are narcissistic and elitist to the max, to change. They have to actually understand issues and the level of indoctrination in the Democratic party has been pretty successful. The problem is that the elite group at the top, those who own most of the media in this country and who are also funding the protests and terror want to keep all this turmoil and division going. As long as the Democrats support those whose goal is to destroy this country, they will continue to lose. This makes those of us who can think clearly very happy.

Don’t Let a Pit Become a Grave
James Robison
More from The Stream
Connect with Us