An Unexpected Rebranding of the Democratic Party

Democrats tend to do well in cities; Republicans tend to do well in rural areas. But winning back at least some rural voters is essential for Democrats to succeed in statewide elections. Farah Stockman, a member of the New York Times editorial board, found one Democrat who is trying out a new message in rural Ohio.

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An Unexpected Rebranding of the Democratic Party

Meet the former Republican trying to convince rural voters that the G.O.P. is no longer the party of freedom.

Farah Stockman: I’m Farah Stockman, and I am a member of the New York Times editorial board.

There are a lot of places in rural America today where Democrats are essentially going extinct.

Democrats do well in the cities, but they get clobbered in the small towns and rural areas. Winning back at least some of those rural voters is essential to success in statewide elections. In order to do that, Democrats have to rebrand themselves. They need a new, winning message.

I recently traveled to a place where I think they might’ve found one: Shelby County, Ohio. It’s about 90 miles west of Columbus. Registered Republicans outnumber Democrats more than eight to one there, so a lot of the Democrats in Shelby County are keeping a low profile.

One woman told me when I was there that this is a scary place to be a Democrat. She actually refuses to put up a political sign in her pasture because she’s afraid that someone would shoot her horses.

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