During President Barack Obama’s “exit interview” podcast with his former advisor David Axelrod, Obama mentioned that he felt the Democrats lost the election in part because the media just wasn’t effectively communicating all the ways rural America has prospered under Obama’s presidency.
“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 said on “The Axe Files” podcast.
“And — and it paid great dividends, but you just wouldn’t know that, that’s not something that you would see on the nightly news,” he told Axelrod.
Obama also purported that the Democratic party had not done a good enough job using emotional appeal as opposed to relying on the facts to make their case.
“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,” he continued, making a reference to the issue of fake news, “because the facts are all in dispute these days.”
Obama also claimed that although Trump won rural American three-to-one, that his own policies actually helped them, they just didn’t realize it.
“Look, the Affordable Care Act benefits a huge number of Trump voters,” Obama told Axelrod, referring to an article posted on Vox claiming that a large number of Kentuckians who voted for Trump were utilizing Obamacare.
Obama failed to mention the ever-rising insurance premiums and the increasing number of Americans forced to purchase insurance from government insurance exchanges since the introduction of the Affordable Care Act .
“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,” Obama said.
He told Axelrod that another problem the Democrats had connecting with rural Americans was that they weren’t “on the ground communicating” that they are “bleeding for these communities.”
Obama again reinforced his idea that what his party lacked was an emotional connection to rural America, and focusing on that connection instead of depending on media to communicate their message effectively.
“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,” he said in closing.