Chasing “White Working Class” Trump Voters, DCCC Names Heartland Engagement Chair

Chasing “White Working Class” Trump Voters, DCCC Names Heartland Engagement Chair


The Democratic party’s obsession with “white working class” voters never seems to confront the question of whether working class voters shunned the “Democratic party” or a Hillary Clinton. There are several arrows that point to the problem being the candidate they ran not connecting with the middle class, while Donald Trump spoke of nationalism and “America first,” then the issue being a “Democratic party” problem.

Regardless, the Democrats are obsessed with the “white working class” and have now named Rep. Cheri Bustros (D-IL) as the Chair of Heartland Engagement. Meanwhile, Republicans continue to focus on their base and only on their base.  

The two strategies could not be more different.  But Republicans continue to win with a “base only” focus fused with concentrating on controlling gerrymandering and CENSUS counts as Democrats continue to try and run more like Republicans.  

A recent report by Steve Phillips warning that the Democrats look as if they are about to commit another “billion dollar blunder” like the one seen in 2016, demonstrates that what the Democratic party should do is focus on their base and only their base.

Phillips asserts that “Democrats can take the House in 2018 without converting a single Trump voter.”

Democrats need a net pickup of 24 House seats to retake control, and there are 23 Republican incumbents in congressional districts that were won by Hillary Clinton in November. There are another five seats where Clinton came within 2 percent of winning. Those 28 districts hold the key to retaking control of that chamber,” Phillips wrote in the nation in April 2017.

But for now Phillips’ advice would appear to be falling on deaf ears as Democrats huddle and focus on white voters.  So far, there have been no commitments in terms of money or specific strategy, to focus on African American or Latino turnout for 2018.
The press release from the announcement is seen below (bold theirs):

DCCC Chair Luján Announces Rep. Bustos as Chair of Heartland Engagement

On the heels of DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján’s announcement that the House is in play in 2018, Luján today named Congresswoman Bustos (IL-17) as Chair of Heartland Engagement. The announcement reinforces the DCCC’s deep commitment to engaging rural voters as a part of its 2018 strategy:

“Growing up on a small farm and representing a large, rural district in Congress, I’ve always carried with me the values of looking out for others, working hard, and the importance of treating people with respect,” said Chairman Ben Ray Luján. “I know that these are the values shared by Congresswoman Bustos and so many Democratic candidates that are stepping up to run for Congress across the heartland. Cheri is a key member of our leadership team, and her efforts to help recruit and mentor candidates and carry our economic message is critical to our strategy this cycle.” 

As the Chair of Heartland Engagement, Bustos will boost efforts to build out the DCCC’s infrastructure and spread the Democrats’ economic message to heartland voters.

“The heartland is critical to winning back the majority and we must do a better job listening to the hardworking families from small towns and rural communities if we hope to earn their support,” said Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17). “As Democrats, we believe in making sure everyone has a chance to find a good-paying job, raise a family and live the American dream – regardless of where they call home. As the Chair of Heartland Engagement, I’m looking forward to helping lead our efforts to build a lasting partnership with the hardworking men and women of America’s heartland.”

DCCC Heartland Engagement

In the coming months, Chairman Luján, Rep. Bustos and their colleagues from the heartland will be advising and mentoring the many Democratic candidates stepping up to run in rural, targeted districts across the country. Bustos will play a leading role in driving the message to Heartland voters and touring key districts throughout 2018.

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Lauren Victoria Burke
Lauren Victoria Burke is a writer, comms strategist and political analyst. She created Crewof42, a blog focused on African American members of Congress, in 2009. Ms. Burke also writes for NBC BLK, The Root, NNPA and is the Managing Editor of Politic365. As part of a diverse career in politics and media, she has served as a congressional staffer for the U.S. Senate Democratic Policy Committee, Communications Director for U.S. Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) and Director of Communications for Justin Fairfax for Lt. Governor of Virginia. From 2014 to 2017, Ms. Burke appeared each Monday on NewsOneNow with Roland Martin on TVOne. Ms. Burke holds a B.A. in History from The American University. She was born and raised in New York. Email: Twitter: @LVBurke. IG: @laurenvburke. Periscope: @LVBurke