Ending GOP Exploitation of Rural America: Strategies for Change

Ending GOP Exploitation of Rural America: Strategies for Change
Ending GOP Exploitation of Rural America: Strategies for Change (Credits: Washington Monthly)

Congressman Chip Roy represents Texas’ Twenty-First Congressional District, spanning from the suburbs of San Antonio and Austin to the more sparsely populated regions of central Texas. Following the 2020 Census, state Republicans redrew the district’s boundaries, shifting it from a slightly Republican-leaning district to one with a stronger Republican tilt. This solidified Roy’s re-election prospects.

Days before the 2022 election, we met with Roy at a restaurant in the small unincorporated town of Hunt. Arriving with campaign staff, Roy exuded confidence, delivering a discussion on congressional strategy to a crowd of seventy-five supporters. When asked about his agenda for rural constituents, Roy focused on broader issues like illegal immigration and inflation, highlighting his stance against certain congressional spending bills.

Like many representing rural areas, Roy lacked a specific rural agenda. He subsequently won re-election convincingly and returned to Washington, where he challenged Kevin McCarthy’s bid for House Speaker, resulting in promises that contributed to the 2023 debt ceiling crisis.

Ending GOP Exploitation of Rural America: Strategies for Change
Ending GOP Exploitation of Rural America: Strategies for Change (Credits: Washington Monthly)

For politicians like Roy, representing rural White Americans has proven politically advantageous, despite ongoing challenges faced by these communities. This electoral power allows Republicans to maintain control, often without significant competition. However, this political security doesn’t necessarily translate to improved livelihoods for rural constituents.

The political divergence between rural and urban areas has widened significantly in recent years, with rural White Americans increasingly supporting Republican candidates. This has made rural America less politically competitive, leading to a lack of attention from both parties. While Democrats have made efforts to address rural issues through policy proposals, Republicans often prioritize ideological goals over the practical needs of rural communities.

Despite the detrimental effects of Republican policies on rural America, many voters remain steadfast in their support due to cultural and ideological alignments. Breaking this cycle requires a new approach from rural voters, focusing on their own interests and demands rather than relying solely on party affiliation.

Creating a potent rural political movement is essential, one that transcends racial divisions and focuses on the shared challenges faced by all rural Americans. This movement must acknowledge the root causes of rural issues and advocate for policies that address economic, healthcare, educational, and infrastructural needs.

While there are various ideas and efforts underway to revitalize rural communities, it’s crucial for any movement to be inclusive and representative of all rural residents, regardless of race. Without a concerted effort to address these issues and forge a new path forward, rural America risks perpetuating its own decline and exacerbating broader political crises.

Hi, I'm Daz, pronounced "Daa-aa-z." I love to write content on gaming and stuff, but I can write on pretty much anything. You can reach me through my social handles or [email protected]