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People have wondered what it will take for a Democratic candidate to best Trump in a significant chunk of rural America, where Trump managed to improve upon the typical Republican performance in 2016. The top five voting issues in my community in this coming election are:

1) Drugs
2) Drugs
3) The Economy
4) Drugs
5) The Economy

As things presently stand, the economy is a winning issue for Trump in my community because the fact is that there is indeed demonstrably more economic activity occurring in general here (more businesses, more jobs, etc.) than at any point during the Obama years today. People here simply compare that to the Obama years and figure Trump must be doing something right. Poor and working class people here (which is the vast majority of people in my town) don't especially care about HOW the economy improves as long as their lives improve. Low-income people are very pragmatic that way overall. Most aren't that ideological in any direction, so if the local economy is still propelling as it is today on election day of next year, it will be almost impossible for any Democratic candidate to win running on economic issues. But as the experts have pointed out, the U.S. economy is on fragile footing at present, highly dependent on the steady expansion of both public and private debt. Any sudden shock, any significant contraction of the money supply, could conceivably yield a recessionary situation and if that should happen between now and election day of next year, it will be the end of Trump's political career.

The real weakness for Trump here is the drug issue though. The opioid epidemic. Epidemic levels of alcohol addiction. For that matter, everything from marijuana to heroin is a growing issue here. Even tobacco is making a major comeback among younger people here owing to the popularization of the new e-cigarettes. But opioids and alcohol are the main problems. But my point is that drugs are a major issue here and nobody believes the drug situation has improved since Trump took office. If anything, it's gotten worse, so whatever the White House may be doing about it isn't having any impact here on the ground. This is a major weakness for Trump here. As I've said before, people here will listen to anyone who will address the drug problem. The Democrats would do well to make a point of doing so often.

When Elizabeth Warren visited the small town of Kermit, West Virginia in May to address the opioid crisis (thus becoming the only Democratic candidate so far to visit West Virginia: the most pro-Trump state in America according to the polling, and also among the very poorest), the press, and apparently Warren's own advisers too, were surprised that she actually won applause at points and that many residents had positive things to say about her after the visit, if only because she bothered. I wasn't surprised. The Democratic candidates need to do much more of that type of thing to make inroads in small town America. They need to visit and they need to talk about the drug issue. In fact, I think it would be a very good idea for the Democratic Party to organize a whole debate around the drug issue specifically. THAT would communicate to rural America that the party gives a shit about them.

Last edited by Jaicee - on 13 July 2019