Dirt Road Revival: How to Rebuild Rural Politics and Why Our Future Depends On It

Chloe Maxmin and Canyon Woodward. | 2022
Posted in: Rural/Urban Divide

The Democratic Party left Rural America behind.

This urgent rallying cry shows how Democrats can win back and empower overlooked communities that have been pushing politics to the right and why long-term progressive political power depends on it.

Through two successful elections in rural Chloe, Maxmin (D-District 13) and campaign manager Canyon Woodward saw how the Democratic Party has focused for far too long on the interests of elite leaders and big donors forcing the party to abandon the concerns of rural America—jeopardizing climate justice, racial equality, economic justice, and more. Dirt Road Revival looks at how we got here and lays out a roadmap for progressive campaigns in rural America so as to build an inclusive, robust, grassroots politics that fights for equity and justice across the country.

Maxmin and Woodward tell the story of their successful campaigns in the most rural country in the most rural state in the nation.  In 2018 Maxmin became the only Democrat to ever win Maine House District 88 and then unseated the highest-ranking republican in Maine—the Senate Minority Leader—in 2020, making her the youngest woman senator in Maine’s history.  

Finally Maxmin and Woodward distill their experiences into concrete lessons that can be applied to rural districts across the country to build power from the state and local levels on up. They lay out a new long-term vision for Democrats to rebuild trust and win campaigns in rural America by translating progressive values to a rural context moving beyond the failed strategies of establishment consultants and utilizing grassroots-movement organizing strategies to effectively engage moderate rural voters.