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How can Democrats stop losing ground in rural America? A progressive who served a conservative district weighs in.
Why do the two main political parties do so poorly with some large groups of voters? In this episode we look at how in recent decades Democrats have been losing rural America by growing margins. Next time we will focus on Republicans and their struggles with Gen-Z voters.
In 1996, Bill Clinton carried nearly half of all rural counties. But in 2020 Joe Biden won majorities in fewer than 7% of these counties.
Our guest, Chloe Maxmin, a progressive Democrat from rural Maine, was the youngest woman ever to serve in Maine’s Senate. She was elected in a conservative district in 2020 after unseating a two-term Republican incumbent in a region that twice voted for Donald Trump by large majorities.
She argues that her party has ignored voters in rural America, and that their road to victory begins with respect, empathy, seeking common ground, and listening carefully to rural voters’ concerns. When on the doorstep, Maxmin argues, candidates and volunteers should “take the time to listen to why somebody believes the things they do and why they think the way they do.”
Hear more on the latest episode of Let’s Find Common Ground.
Read the Episode Transcript
Hailing from rural Maine, Chloe is the youngest woman ever to serve in the Maine State Senate, at 28 years old. She was elected in 2020 after unseating a two-term Republican incumbent and (former) Senate Minority Leader. In 2018, she served in the Maine House of Representatives after becoming the first Democrat to win a rural conservative district. She also received an honors degree from Harvard College, where she co-founded Divest Harvard. Chloe is the recipient of the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes and the Brower Youth Award. She was also named a “Green Hero” by Rolling Stone. She was named the 2020 Legislator of the Year by the Maine Council on Aging. She is also the Co-Founder/Advisor at JustME for JustUS, a Maine-based organization focus on rural youth civic engagement and climate organizing. She is the Co-Founder, alongside Canyon, of Dirtroad Organizing, a new non-profit dedicated to rural organizing.