RURAL BLUE YONDER? The Daily Yonder’'s Bill Bishop has a great post up that dismantles the whole notion that the Redneck Caucus” of newbie Democratic senators (Claire McCaskill, Jon Tester and Jim Webb) were elected because of a surge in rural voting. “That didn’'t happen,” writes Bishop. “These three R.C. members in fact did no better in rural counties than had other (unsuccessful) recent Democratic candidates. All three won because of large turnouts in urban areas.”

Bishop is spot-on, and I’m always puzzled that people think that if Democrats win in red states that they necessarily did so because they converted the red portions of those states. As I have written for the Prospect, though Steve Jarding and other good consultants like him deserve credit for improving the margins for Democrats in rural areas, there just aren’t enough votes there. All these supposed “rural Democrat” winners like Mark Warner and Webb won because thanks to improved support and turnout from urban and inner suburban areas. If the “rural renaissance” is a useful rhetorical fiction for Democratic candidates and their consultants, fine, but it is a fiction nonetheless.

--Tom Schaller

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