Democrats have largely ceded rural areas to Republicans, especially in national and statewide races. The modern Democratic Party is, for the most part, an urban one. That’s not a bad thing. As Rural America loses population, its political influence dissipates as well.
The decline of the farmer was never more evident when, at the end of the caucus, the council opened the floor to questions. David Harper, a row cropper and pasture farmer from Hartsville, Tennessee, stood up to ask if Obama had bothered to engage the Farm Bureau, a non-partisan organization that looks after the interests of its members while simultaneously offering them insurance. Campbell’s roundabout answer was that the Obama campaign intends to reach out to as many rural organizations as possible. Hartman then turned to the audience and asked, holding his hand up, “Are there any farm owners here?” One other hand crept up, belonging to an elderly woman with gaunt, weathered skin stretched across her cheekbones. Hartman turned back to Campbell at the podium and said “That’s rural America…and I’m real concerned about that.”
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
TO blogger Rachel Ferris writes the following dispatch from Denver about a Tennessee farmer's comments to Obama Rural Vote Director Todd Campbell during the sparse Rural Council Caucus session at the Democratic Convention: