Obama: Media to blame for Trump’s landslide win among rural voters

by WorldTribune Staff, December 27, 2016

Rural voters went for Donald Trump by a 3 to 1 margin over Hillary Clinton because the media didn’t do a good enough job informing those voters of how much they were benefiting from President Barack Obama’s policies, the soon-to-be ex-president said.

“Tom — Tom Vilsack, my agriculture secretary from Iowa. We — we devoted more attention, more focus, put more resources into rural America than has — has been the case probably for the last two, three decades,” Obama told David Axelrod in an “exit interview” for CNN.

President Barack Obama: 'There are a lot of folks in places like West Virginia or Kentucky who didn’t vote for Hillary, didn’t vote for me, but are being helped by' Obamacare. /Getty Images
President Barack Obama: ‘There are a lot of folks in places like West Virginia or Kentucky who didn’t vote for Hillary, didn’t vote for me, but are being helped by’ Obamacare. /Getty Images

“And it paid great dividends, but you just wouldn’t know that, that’s not something that you would see on the nightly news,” Obama said.

Obama wondered how rural voters could abandon his Democratic Party after he said his Department of Agriculture showered rural communities with $6.5 billion in 2016 to fund electrical utilities, housing and community development.

“And so we’ve got to figure out how do we show people and communicate in a way that is visceral and — and makes an emotional connection as opposed to just the facts,” Obama continued, “because the facts are all in dispute these days.”

Trump won 62 percent of the rural vote compared to Clinton’s 34 percent. Obama won 45 percent of the rural vote in 2008.

“Look, the Affordable Care Act benefits a huge number of Trump voters,” Obama said. “There are a lot of folks in places like West Virginia or Kentucky who didn’t vote for Hillary, didn’t vote for me, but are being helped by this.”

“The problem is that we’re not there on the ground communicating not only the dry policy aspects of this, but that we care about these communities, that we’re bleeding for these communities,” Obama told Axelrod.

“And there’s an emotional connection, and part of what we have to do to rebuild is to be there and — and that means organizing, that means caring about state parties, it means caring about local races, state boards or school boards and city councils and state legislative races and not thinking that somehow, just a great set of progressive policies that we present to the New York Times editorial board will win the day,” Obama concluded.

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