Rural Democrats are the key to this nation's future
During my campaign thousands of people volunteered and a million dollars was raised and spent. This is a cycle that continues to repeat itself. It has been thirty years since a Democrat was elected in CD4, which is 15 cycles and approximately $7.5M spent on races we had low to no chance of winning. We can not keep doing the same thing over and over and expect a different outcome. I do not have all the answers and there are people with much deeper experience than me, but I do have a solid background in complex problem solving and I paid close attention during my campaign.
It is clear to me that the biggest obstacle to future democratic success in Central and Eastern Washington is balancing the narrative. Currently republican messaging is dominant. We may be strong and passionate democrats but our voice is not heard and is not respected enough by the media to ask for comment or opinion. This is due in large part to our lack of visibility and representation. In Central Washington Senator Murray’s name occasionally appears in newspaper articles, but it is only Newhouse that is asked for comment or to write an op ed. This lack of balance is what keeps us skewed to the right. Until we raise the level of democratic messaging and presence to be on par with republicans our best efforts will continue to disappoint.
My campaign conducted a poll and when presented with Dem vs Republican the vote was about 65/35 but when Newhouse’s platform was presented to participants alongside mine the voting was virtually 50/50. Just one presentation of the democratic platform was sufficient to convert a significant number of voters.
What does this tell us? It tells us that our belief that Gen Z and Immigrants will save us by voting Democrat is unlikely. People vote what they know and without a democratic balance in messaging and confidence in the strength of the democratic party they will vote republican.
What do we know? We know that the cancer that is destroying our democracy gains its greatest strength in rural America. Anti LGBT, Trans, Immigration, CRT and pro abortion pro guns and Christian Nationalism. We know that local and state governments are playing a larger role in our lives. School boards, health districts and state legislatures backed by the Supreme Court are rewriting the values of this country that we have fought so hard to gain. We know that the Democrats strategy of focusing on urban areas is insufficient to stem the spread of this cancer. Our increasingly slim margins for winning elections and the electoral college put our future at risk. The new voters and the “correction” needed to move this country in the right direction must come from rural America. Where else could it come from?
What we can do. Band together to increase our strength and have a clear long term strategy with well articulated goals. I was told that my campaign was the first to unify the Democratic organizations in Central Washington. This came as a surprise to me because as a district our goals are common. Working as passionate Democrats on a local level we are good, but working as a larger group we have power and influence. We are fortunate to have Senator Murray represent us but if we had, as an entire organized district, demonstrated value to her campaign she would have visited and spoken to us. But her campaign did not and we moved further down the spiral. Murray lost by a larger margin, more latino’s voted republican and down ballot Democratic candidates struggled more. We have high, and well deserved, expectations and we can influence the media, candidate selection, bend the ear of our elected officials and representative organizations such as WA Dem, DNC and DCCC and so much more. The fate of this country lies in rural America; we feed the nation, provide its energy and are its source of hope.
With the greatest respect,