By Bill Diem

Dr. Bob Lorinser, Democratic candidate for Congress who was trounced in 2022, has already announced that he will run again in 2024.

His plan to win is to get known and to change the way his Democratic party treats rural America. It might work.

“My main focus is on proving to fiercely independent rural voters that there’s a better path forward on our side of the ticket,” Lorinser wrote in answer to questions I asked him

Bergman won his seat in 2016 with 54.9% of the votes in Michigan District 1, and he did better the next two elections, with 56.3% and 61.6%, but Dr, Bob in 2022 whittled that lead down slightly, to 59.9%. Still, those numbers make Michigan’s first district a safe Republican district to the nation’s analysts.

I asked Dr. Bob where are the 44,000 voters that he needs to change (about 375 in Luce County) in order to win the job.

“Disenfranchised and disaffected voters, Independents, reasonable conservatives, and loyal Democrats,” he said in his email. “To earn their support, I will champion rural America and its needs.”

Bergman has not announced his plans for 2024. If he runs, he will probably win the Republican primary although Lorinser thinks that “Rep. Bergman is embattled, controversial and divisive; he may have exhausted his support from Republican leadership in Northern Michigan and the UP.”

Lorinser’s strongest support came from Marquette (his home), Grand Traverse, Leelanau and Benzie Counties, and what he needs is more support from poor counties, like Luce.

“My party has a lot of work to do to prove how our policies benefit hardworking rural families, and I hope my campaign can be an example of how to ‘run rural’ in a divided Nation,” he wrote.

There was a time when poor America tended to vote Democrat. Democrats brought in Social Security during the Depression, and that has saved millions of Americans in their old age. But lately, Democrats have had an urban aura, and people in the country have chosen not to live in cities.

Personally, I don’t think that Republicans have done anything to win rural voters; they just thrive on the anti-city feeling. That’s why two years of Dr. Bob sharing a different story might work.

“All residents in Michigan’s First — Democrats, Independents, Republicans — need affordable healthcare, housing, education, and childcare,” he wrote. “We also need infrastructure investment, job opportunities, and economic prosperity. The challenges our rural communities face are some of the most distinct in the Nation, and we need a Congressman eager to listen to constituents and solve real problems.”

Democrats are like cats, very hard to herd together, and Lorinser will be a cat.

“I will vote for the people I represent over my party or another,” he wrote. “I will vote for my country over either party.”

Jack Bergman is basically a non-resident Congressman, with a home in Louisiana and a summer place near Ironwood. He votes with the most conservative Republicans, those who want to cut back Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, the programs that keep rural America alive. I hope Dr. Bob Lorinser pulls it off.