Editor's Note: This is our weekly column.
With only weeks left, the rural vote is up for grabs. That sends a message to both parties: don't write us off and don't take us for granted.
A Center for Rural Strategies poll of rural voters in key swing states found John McCain leading Barack Obama, but by a smaller margin than President Bush won the same voters four years earlier. The margin among rural voters may determine the outcome of the national election.
The poll also shows that rural voters see little difference between the two parties on rural issues. Regardless of the party in power, Washington has subsidized mega farms to drive family farms out of business and failed to invest in creating genuine opportunity for rural people and a future for their communities. Both parties lavish tax breaks on corporate America and mega farms instead of helping ordinary rural people buy homes and start farms and small businesses.
Neither party has demonstrated a real commitment to ensuring that rural people – who contribute so much to the nation’s prosperity – share in it. Neither party seems to understand that America will never be as strong as it can be until all of America has the opportunity to share in building wealth, assets, and prosperity.
The party that demonstrates that it will fight for ordinary rural people can capture the rural margin it needs to win this election and many elections to come.
By: Chuck Hassebrook, firstname.lastname@example.org, Center for Rural Affairs