Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The secret to political success: Just show up

Living as I do in Obama Land (where the esteemed senator could probably roast Labradoodle puppies on a spit and have it called a gesture of hope) it has been interesting to talk to the other side of the political equation in my home state of South Dakota: those who supported Hillary Clinton.

Why did Hillary win this state?

Outside of the thorny issues of race and gender (posts for a different day), here's my theory:

She showed up.

From Sioux Falls to Milbank to Sisseton, she, Bill (he of the $100k speaker fees) and Chelsea the foxy investment banker took time out of their busy schedules to meet with them. They logged time at the VFW halls. They visited the feed lots. They probably ate a hot dish or two, perhaps even a jello/Cool Whip salad. Every South Dakotan Hillary supporter I spoke to mentioned this. Numerous times.

South Dakotans (and, indeed, Nebraskans, Kansans, residents of Wyoming, et. al.) are so accustomed to having our states considered "flyover territory." Yes, we may smile gamely when people reference "the Dakotas" (no, it's not one state), ask if we have trees and running water (yes to both), or jokingly wonder why anyone would want to live there. But we must remind you: You have to actually live in the state for several years before you have the right to make a sheep joke. As for Ole and Lena? They live in Minnesota.

People in rural areas are so often overlooked (often unfairly) as inconsequential citizens lacking in cultural and intellectual curiosity. The outcome: When serious attention is paid...they tend to pay it back.

Now for the next great unanswered question - how do Democratic leaders like Tom Daschle emerge from a state where hunting rifles and right-to-life billboards are as common as Tom Petty cover bands? Hmmm....


Post a Comment

<< Home