Rural matters a lot in election, liberal columnist says

It’s all politics at the Iowa State Fair in this presidential election year, as it has been for decades. Presumptive Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan visited the fair last week, but left John Nichols of The Capital Times in Madison, Wis., wondering what he was doing there after refusing to answer questions about the epic drought that’s devastating much of the Midwest.

Nichols suggests Ryan won’t talk farm policy because farm states would likely turn against him, Mitt Romney and possibly Republican congressional candidates. Iowa, Colorado, Ohio and Wisconsin “have vast rural regions and long histories of voting with an eye toward farm, food and small-town issues,” Nichols writes. But in 2010, rural regions “swung hard to the right,” making two-thirds of all U.S. House gains by Republicans come from 125 of the most rural districts.

“Rural matters, a lot, in 2012,” Nichols concludes. “Control of the Senate will be determined by contests in states such as Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin. To retake the House, Democrats must win back a substantial number of the 39 rural districts that shifted to Republicans in 2010.” (Read more)

Reprinted with permission from The Rural Blog.  Article written by Ivy Brashear for The Rural Blog.  Al Cross, former Courier-Journal political writer, is director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues and The Rural Blog.

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