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The GOP is taking a more populist approach to rural America, touting it as a place where “we are living off the grid,” and promising to restore rural America to its pre-crisis level of prosperity.
The Republican Governors Association released a new ad Monday, featuring two rural governors, that aims to connect the dots between the GOP’s recent success in winning the rural vote and the state’s rural economies.
The ad is part of the group’s efforts to “save” rural America from the Republican party’s economic populism, according to a senior GOP aide.
“We’re not saying that this is a Democrat thing, we’re saying this is an economic thing,” the aide said.
“They are trying to sell this as the party of the working class.
That is not true.”
The ad opens with the two rural states of Louisiana and Kansas, both in the throes of a recent economic downturn, where GOP governors have made a point to emphasize rural prosperity.
“In 2016, the rural economy was down 50 percent, and our governor made it an economic priority to go after it,” the narrator says in the ad.
“Now it’s up 70 percent.
We want to go even further and invest in jobs and growth in rural America.
Our goal is to give rural America the same level of economic opportunity and prosperity that is available to the rest of America.”
The narrator then shows a video of two men, one of whom looks out the window of his home, the other is standing on the porch, discussing the state of the economy in Kansas.
The narrator says that Kansas is “sad,” because “the economy is falling apart.”
He says that it’s “saddening” to see people “sitting at home, working at home.”
The narrator then points out that Kansas, “is now one of the poorest states in the country.”
In Louisiana, the narrator then highlights the rural workforce, which has been declining, and asks the viewer to consider that “there are more rural jobs than in the past.”
In a state where more than 60 percent of the workforce is comprised of people over the age of 35, the GOP ad argues that the rural worker is “underpaid, underskilled, under-skilled.”
The ad also notes that “the rural workforce is losing jobs.”
The unemployment rate in Louisiana, according a recent report from the National Conference of State Legislatures, is 10.6 percent.
In a similar vein, the ad says that in 2015, “we saved the state $10 billion.”
It continues: “It was a great year for Louisiana, and for America.
But the Republican governor of the state was too smart for his own good.
The GOP Governor, Scott Bonner, took a chance and signed a $10 million stimulus bill that made the state even more indebted.
But instead of investing in Louisiana’s future, he spent millions of dollars in a new state-owned highway that cost more than it saved.
It took Louisiana $20 billion in public debt to make up for the $10-billion stimulus.”
In a second spot, the governor, who is black, is quoted as saying that Louisiana “has a black workforce.
It has a poor workforce.
And it has a jobless workforce.”
He continues:I want you to think about that for a minute.
This is where we are today.
We are living on the edge of a cliff.
We have people on welfare.
We do not have jobs.
We cannot afford to keep raising the minimum wage to $15.
We know that our country is headed for a recession.
We need jobs.
And we need to fix the rural job problem.
This has to be our No. 1 priority, not the health of our state.
The GOP ad ends with a quote from Louisiana’s Democratic governor, Democrat John Bel Edwards, who said, “We’ve got to get this economy right, and the people of Louisiana have to get it right.
That means a balanced budget, jobs, and a fair wage.”
The Republican Governors Assn.
is the second-largest GOP fundraising group, with more than $20 million in contributions, according the Washington Post.
The group is known for spending on TV ads in Georgia, Florida, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Tennessee, as well as online ads.
The National Republican Congressional Committee has also launched an ad campaign with the group.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee, the second largest GOP political action committee, has also begun a “No More Debt, No More Problems” ad campaign in the South.
The ad has not yet been released.
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