These are gut-wrenching times for Iowa farmers. The recent historic “bomb cyclone” floods couldn’t have come at a worst time. Suicide rates are now higher than they were during the ‘80s. Farm hotlines are overwhelmed by the amount of folks seeking assistance.
To win back the White House, Democrats can’t just rely on “Whole Foods” districts of educated, affluent suburbanites. Democrats can do well in “Dollar General” districts if they show up and address the issues. No one gave me much of a chance when I ran against Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), but I only lost by 3 points in a district President Trump won by 27 points. Often overlooked in the discussion about how Democrats can recreate the “Obama Coalition” of minorities, young folks and educated suburbanites is that he took 41 percent of the rural vote in 2008. Hillary Clinton only received 29 percent in 2016. Democrats may not win in rural America, but they surely cannot get blown out.
Democrats should focus on how corporate consolidation and lack of antitrust enforcement was squeezing farmers on both the input side and output side, issues central to my own campaign. Seed prices have tripled in the last 20 years as our government, under both parties, allowed three big seed companies to control the market, with Bayer taking over Monsanto and DuPont merging with Dow Chemical. Meanwhile, four companies control 85 percent of the meat industry, two of which are foreign-owned by Brazil and China.