Bernie Sanders Courts the Jimmy Carter Democrat

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Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has found another type voter to target for his 2016 presidential campaign – the Jimmy Carter rural Democrat – although it remains to be seen just how many rural Democrats are left (outside of the organic farm belt in Vermont and Northern California).

When Carter ran for president in 1976, the evangelical farmer was able to rally like-minded rural voters to clinch the Democratic nomination – in fact he ended up taking the entire South, based in part on this strategy.

Of course, the Democratic and Republican parties are vastly different today than they were in 1976, but in Bernie Sanders’s latest ad, he makes the pitch that there are still enough rural Democrats out there to give him a leg up in the 2016 race.

Bernie Sanders: #FeelTheBarn

Sanders’s new spot features a Vermont diary farmer who endorses Sanders for being “a well known friend of family farms” – good news for voters from Iowa’s massive farming industry.

After seeing clips of Bernie at small farm campaign rallies, the ad transitions to shots from Sanders’s now famous massive arena rallies, as the narrator echoes Bernie’s stump speech of taking on Wall Street and “big money.”

The ad is part of a two-spot program in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire. These spots mark a shift away from his previous biographical ads to focus more on his platform.

The small farm vote helped Jimmy Carter in 1976 – it even helped Bernie in 2006 when he snagged the endorsement of well-known country hippie Willie Nelson.

Much like Carter, Bernie Sanders’s populist “fight for the small guy” message does well with rural Democrats. But unfortunately for Bernie, there aren’t much of them around anymore.

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