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Opinion | Can Democrats Win in Rural America? – The New York Times

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To the Editor:
Re “In Rural Areas, Prospects Sink for Democrats” (front page, Nov. 7):
In theory, Democratic policies to benefit rural citizens should work. For example, take the expansion of Medicare and Medicaid. Rural Americans are statistically older, sicker, heavier and poorer than their urban counterparts. Moreover, Covid killed rural patients at twice the rate of urban ones.
But it’s a fair debate whether those policies truly benefit the patients they are intended to help. It’s also an open question to what extent Democrats are willing to fight for these rural voters, especially as the party’s social priorities diverge from the average rural American’s. But in the handful of swing states that historically determine national elections, the decision to ignore rural voters comes at a high cost.
Mark E. Dornauer
The writer is a visiting fellow in health care and rural affairs at the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity.
To the Editor:
While reading “In Rural Areas, Prospects Sink for Democrats,” I could come to only one conclusion: We live in two irreconcilable countries. I can never accept these conservative rural voters’ positions on abortion rights, the Second Amendment, climate change, Black Lives Matter, racism, the Confederacy, gay rights, Donald Trump. Coronavirus vaccines are poison?
Where does this list end? A cultural civil war? Is Lincoln’s Union worth saving?
Stephen Anchin
Hewlett, N.Y.
To the Editor:
Re “Democrats Must Confront Their Privilege” (column, Nov. 5):
David Brooks would have to rework the picture he paints of Democrats as the “party of the elite” if he came to visit us here in rural Benzie County, Michigan. We are business owners, employees, farmers, teachers, entrepreneurs, students, retirees from all walks of life, deer hunters and vegans.
We work hard for worthy Democratic candidates in the many state and local elections between the presidential spectacles. But we also help with the nonpartisan work of local government and community organizations in the county’s many small towns and smaller villages.
If Mr. Brooks comes on the Fourth of July, he can join us in the annual parade, in pickup trucks and on foot, waving flags and singing “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy” and other patriotic favorites until our voices are hoarse and our guitar strings break.
Michael French Smith
Honor, Mich.
To the Editor:
Re “Republican Censured by a Divided House for a Violent Video” (news article, Nov. 18):
So what that Representative Paul Gosar was censured? He gets to remain a congressman. Anyone in any other organization would be summarily fired for a similar stunt. He is unrepentant after the vote, going so far as to retweet the animated video of him killing Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and assaulting the president.
He no doubt plans to act the martyr, wearing his censure like a badge of honor, designed to stir his angry constituents to re-elect him by an even greater margin.
I don’t know what the bigger scandal is, whether it’s Mr. Gosar’s actions or the virtual lock step support given him by the rest of his party, with Kevin McCarthy leading the way, pointing the finger at Democrats with sanctimonious false equivalencies that are Republicans’ stock in trade.
But the underlying problem is Mr. Gosar’s supporters in Arizona. Blind hatred gives meaning to their lives. Please don’t tell me I as a Democratic voter need to sympathize with their so-called “grievances.”
Bryan L. Tucker
To the Editor:
Isn’t it funny that when Kathy Griffin posted a video of herself holding what looked like the severed head of President Donald Trump, she was shunned by the media, put on the no-fly list and had tour appearances canceled? And, oh yeah, she was investigated by the Secret Service and the U.S. attorney’s office. In other words, she was treated as if she were a potential presidential assassin.
Yet Kathy Griffin is a comedian. For making what some consider a tasteless joke, she was mercilessly punished.
Now Representative Paul Gosar posts a video of himself murdering another member of Congress and slashing and threatening our president with swords. Where is the Secret Service and the U.S. attorney’s office now? Why isn’t his career ruined?
Ann M. Schwartz
New York
To the Editor:
Re “Europe Targets Unvaccinated in Virus Spike” (front page, Nov. 16):
As long as national leaders accept a Covid-19 containment model that stops at national borders, we can expect the wily virus to continue to outsmart us.
Covid-19 defense cannot be a “me” strategy — my country, my family. It calls for a “we” strategy — all global partners, wealthy and poor nations sharing resources and generous manufacturers sharing vaccine recipes. In so doing, we will assert our compassion while protecting ourselves more effectively against a virulent enemy.
It’s time to serve the common good by vaccinating everyone to reduce the worldwide risk of infection, not just within national borders.
Julie M. Zito
Rhinebeck, N.Y.
The writer is professor emerita of pharmacoepidemiology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.


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