Missouri politics can often seem a jumble to outsiders - a red state with two large pockets of Democrats in St Louis and Kansas City (and a smaller pocket in Columbia, home of the University of Missouri).
While we are able to elect Democrats statewide, the rural districts overwhelm our legislature and Congressional delegation with Republicans. One man is looking to change this - a party activist from Excelsior Springs, MO.
This story was featured in the Kansas City Star today and I found it fascinating. While the 50 state strategy may be dead in the national party it looks like some Democrats are taking up the fight themselves.
If they’re still out there somewhere, Will Talbert has a message for Democrats living in rural Missouri: You are not aloneI'll just note that this is how Claire McCaskill wins elections: she makes huge gains in the cities and runs up just enough of a vote total outstate to put her ahead. Many of these outstate voters are Democrats who are usually ignored and abandoned in an ugly sea of red.
Talbert, of Excelsior Springs, wanted to find and rally rural Democrats. So earlier this year he put up his own money and started the Rural Democrat, a statewide broadsheet published every six weeks. In doing so, he turned an electoral drubbing into a viable media enterprise.
O’Neill said that often rural voters turn against Democrats simply because they never hear from the party.If any of our rural Missourians are interested, the subscription price is $25 per year and includes both the print and online versions (the logo is great - a donkey nosing about in a rural mailbox). They have a facebook page that can be found by searching The Rural Democrat on facebook. He's also planning on rolling out a new publication this fall in Kansas City - the "Metro Democrat" that will feature different writers and themes for urban dwellers in KC. Can't wait to subscribe to it.
“Will is trying to reach out … so they know he’s looking out for them,” he said.
Will this turn any Republicans? No. But it seems like a place for rural Missourians to get information, form communities and perhaps become more involved in the party. Why the Democratic party itself doesn't fund something like this in other states is surprising - from the article, it looks as though the Missouri state party itself doesn't provide any funding (but they do subscribe and the state party chair made a lame comment about the 'buzz' from it). We can't afford in this state to just give up on rural voters - if we do, we'll get nothing but a wingnut legislature for years on end.