Tag: study

For Democrats, winning over rural voters isn’t as simple as talking to a few rural people

For a number of years, Kathy Cramer, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has been studying rural resentment towards Democrats and political elites, and seems to be one of only a handful of people who understand why Democrats are so awful at winning over rural voters in Wisconsin.

Recently, Cramer studied Donald Trump’s appeal to rural voters in Wisconsin, and you can read her findings at the end of this article by Jessie Opoien (last name pronounced oh-POY-en) of the Madison-based newspaper The Cap Times. Another thing that I enjoyed reading about in the article is Cramer’s epic response to a person who volunteered for the failed Hillary Clinton presidential campaign:

After Cramer presented her findings, a woman in the audience who said she had volunteered in Madison on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign asked Cramer what advice she would give Democrats on how to talk to the people in rural areas who voted for Trump.

“It’s not speaking to people,” Cramer said. “It will require just spending time with people and asking them, ‘What’s on your mind?’ for months — then trying to deliver a message.”

If winning over rural voters was a simple as talking to a few rural voters here and there, we’d still have Pat Quinn as governor here in Illinois. Obviously, that’s not the case. For Democrats to win over rural voters across the country, Democrats are going to start needing to emphasize agricultural policy proposals designed to give farmers a fair price for their crops and find other ways to connect with rural voters without alienating the progressive urban base of the party. Even better, Democrats should try to use rural resentment to their advantage by trying to paint Republicans as the party of urban and suburban political elites.

While there are several candidates that political insiders have floated as potential Democratic candidates for Governor of Wisconsin in 2018 (such as State Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling, State Senator Kathleen Vinehout, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, Former State Senator Tim Cullen, U.S. Representative Ron Kind, State Representative Dana Wachs, and Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ, just to name a few), I’ve wondered for some time whether or not Kathy Cramer would be a good candidate for a statewide race in Wisconsin, such as governor or lieutenant governor. Given that she seems to know how Democrats can win over rural voters (or at least enough rural voters to win a statewide race in states like Wisconsin), I think that she could be a great candidate for a statewide race in Wisconsin. However, I highly doubt that Cramer would even consider the idea of running for public office.

3% of Americans own half of America’s guns

If you’re wondering how small the demographic that the NRA and other gun lobby groups are fighting tooth and nail to protect against people who want common-sense gun safety legislation, it’s a very small demographic. It’s not quite as small as the demographic that has an obscenely large portion of of our nation’s wealth, but it’s pretty close to being as small:

Half of America’s civilian-owned guns are owned by only 3% of American adults. Here’s some more detail about the very small gun hoarder demographic in this country:

Americans own an estimated 265m guns, more than one gun for every American adult, according to the most definitive portrait of US gun ownership in two decades. But the new survey estimates that 133m of these guns are concentrated in the hands of just 3% of American adults – a group of super-owners who have amassed an average of 17 guns each.

The unpublished Harvard/Northeastern survey result summary, obtained exclusively by the Guardian and the Trace, estimates that America’s gun stock has increased by 70m guns since 1994. At the same time, the percentage of Americans who own guns decreased slightly from 25% to 22%.

I’m not advocating for taking guns away from law-abiding citizens, but it makes absolutely no sense for a person to hoard dozens of guns.

Bruce Rauner wasting taxpayer money on a chief of staff for his wife, who has no official duties

Hypocrisy DefinitionBruce Rauner, the Republican governor of my home state of Illinois, is complaining about public employees being overpaid, which, as a recent study by the University of Illinois pointed out, is a myth.

However, in an article in the Davenport, Iowa-based Quad City Times that was primarily about the U of I study on public employee salaries, it was reported that Rauner hired a $100,000/year chief of staff for his wife, Illinois First Lady Diana Rauner:

The governor’s comments (about public employee salaries) also came as he is in the midst of building his own administration. On Tuesday for example, he hired a $100,000 chief of staff for his wife, Diana Rauner, even though the first lady has no official duties.

Bruce Rauner hiring a chief of staff for our state’s first lady, who has no official duties whatsoever, and paying the first lady’s chief of staff a whopping $100,000 per year salary is a hypocritical waste of taxpayer money. Let me emphasize that I am not attacking the first lady; I’m attacking the governor for wasting our taxpayer dollars. Our state’s fiscal problems are too severe for the governor to be hiring a chief of staff for someone who doesn’t have any official duties.