If you look at the results of last year's congressional elections you can't help but notice that the rural areas or the "STICKS" across the country heavily favored the GOP.
I suspect that for farmers and ranchers it turns less on partisan politics, and more on practical considerations and values that guide their lives and their businesses.
These voters did not cast their ballots in fear or ignorance. No they didn't! You know, as I was thinking, part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now and facts and science and argument does not seem to be winning the day all the time is because we're hardwired not to always think clearly when we're scared.
People such as farmers who wager their livelihood on the weather and the markets each growing season don't run scared every time the economy tanks. They deal with the issues up close and personal every day, and they have a clear understanding of the facts.
They are not against government. Even the most conservative farmer or rancher understands that there are a few big things government does well -- defense, air traffic control and law enforcement, for instance. They are against a big, intrusive government that reaches into the smallest aspects of their lives.
They resist unreasonable rules and regulations formulated by unelected and unseen functionaries or "SLICKS". They resent the patronizing paternalism of the nanny state. Look what happened to Rep Sanford Bishop in 2010. After voting for Cap and Trade, the Healthcare Legislation, he almost had his goose cooked by the HICKS who live in the rural areas of the district, had not been for the SLICKS in the cities of Columbus & Albany who bailed him out by a hair.....Farmers abandoned him in droves despite being the go-to guy when it comes to Agriculture in this district & probably the entire state
The "HICKS" are unwilling to surrender their independence. They don't want a government that dictates what they should eat, what they should think, what they should do with their own property. They are tired of the arrogance of the SLICKS, that assumes bureaucrats know better than the rest of us how we should live.
The SLICKS might say it's simplistic, but farmers and ranchers really do expect a legislator to read and understand those 2,000-page pieces of legislation before voting "yes." It's just common sense.
When times are hard, farmers and ranchers cut back. They do without. They have a hard time understanding why government doesn't do the same. They can't accept that government employees are an elite class whose pay and benefits are protected from the harsh economic realities that impact their neighbors.
Many farmers and ranchers still unapologetically believe in America's exceptionalism. To them this is still a special place, where great things happen. It's a country where people of the most humble origins can make something of themselves if they are willing to work hard. They believe in providing a helping hand to those in need, but balk at creating ever larger groups dependent on entitlements.
Farmers and ranchers are the epitome of individual responsibility and self-reliance. Faith in themselves, and in the grace of God, drive them to plant the next crop, raise their families and provide stewardship for the resources in their care. And rather than bitterly clinging to these values, they happily embrace them as the guiding force of their lives.
Candidates, especially democratic who hold similar values earn their support.