Barbara Kingsolver, the award winning novelist of Demon Copperhead once said,
"We [rural people] are the last demographic that progressive people still mock with impunity."
I have found this to be true. It is especially true of progressive people and their opinions of rural voters. There is nothing but utter disdain, mockery and belittling offered by progressives when talking about rural places and rural voters. To progressives they do not count. They are unimportant. At best they should be ignored. At worst they should be tried and hanged as war criminals. The latest and most egregious reference online I saw was referring to them as voters in "Hitler County, Texas." These progressives are not true progressives. They are socialist reactionaries. They also are not Democrats.
Recently, U.S. Senate Candidate Thierry Tchenko was out in San Angelo again and we were talking about why he is spending his time out here when the other two top contenders are ignoring every place that does not have many millions of people. He said something that struck me as being the essence of what it means to be a Democrat. I don't remember his exact words but it went something like this.
"If we say everyone counts, we have to campaign like they do."
--Thierry Tchenko, U.S. Senate Candidate
Democrats give a lot of lip service to being the party of the people, or the party of working men and women. Our party's nickname used to be "The Democracy" for crying out loud. That is no longer true. We have become the party of the few, the party of the city dwellers, the party of the college educated, the party of the intellectuals and elites. We look down our nose at the poor, the rural, the working class. That is unless we can use them as a prop in our political spectacles. Our candidates rarely care about voters as people, they rarely listen to people before deciding what issues are important to them, and they rarely visit with them one on one or even ten on one.
LBJ flew in a helicopter all over the state when he ran in the primary against Coke Stevenson for U.S. Senate. They put that Sikorsky down in a field outside of places like Ballinger, Texas and the whole town came out to see him. There was no town, no place too small that was not worthy of his attention, and no voter either. I understand why our current crop of Democratic Senate candidates, save one, don't do that. Because they are lazy and do not want to work that hard.
If we do not want to campaign like every vote matters, then we should stop saying every vote matters. We should say only urban/suburban progressive votes matter. We should also change our name so we do not misrepresent who we are to something more appropriate like "The Urban Social Democratic Party" or "The Progressive Democratic Party". We can just give the needle to "The Democracy" and put the Texas Democratic Party out of it's misery. Let's stop pretending we are Democrats if we do not really care about every person and every vote. If we no longer have the values of the Democratic Party. We should stop acting like we do. Rural voters can take being excluded. We have been for decades. What we cannot stand is hypocrisy. With friends like this, who cares about fighting Republicans.
Jon Mark Hogg is a San Angelo lawyer and Founder of THE 134 PAC. The opinions expressed her are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of THE 134 PAC.