The blowhard representing the local branch of Assholes For Prosperity recently had this to say about Gov. Perdue’s plans for Dix Park:
“This is a billion-dollar giveaway of taxpayer resources to Raleigh elites for another state taxpayer funded cultural amenity…”
The rest of the statement doesn’t matter. What does matter is the “Raleigh elites” part. This is a theme that the political right in this state has played to great success. Rural voters feel too often taken for granted. The “elites” in our cities become easy targets.
This is especially visible in Wake County. Wake County should move forward with a light rail system, or at least a referendum on it, for crying out loud, because it will be in big trouble soon without it. Instead, rural Wake County voters don’t want to pay for something they won’t use, even though a light rail system only works in higher-density areas: precisely what “rural” is not. Charlotte has light rail because Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are so intertwined it’s easier to convince Mecklenburg voters that what’s good for Charlotte is good for Mecklenburg County, whereas Wake has a greater number of municipal stakeholders to convince.
Anyway, after the recent election I was considering the voter turnout between urban precincts and county precincts. I decided that Democrats are not doing enough to counter the “Raleigh elite” image (hogwash that it is) and need to better engage rural voters. So what does the state Democratic Party have to counter this message?
See what I mean?
In spite of shady redistricting that might keep it from manifesting in state-level representation, North Carolina still has a sizable majority of Democratic voters. The Democratic Party platform is a better plan for rural voters, there’s no question about that. But rural voters will never hear that message if it comes from anyone wearing a bow tie. To them, if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.
Democrats will have to get our ducks in a row if we ever want to retake our state. The first step is improving our image in the eyes of rural voters.