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Dollar General America vs. Lululemon Athletica

The New York Times ran a map today of "Election results in places near Whole Foods, Lululemon, Urban Outfitters and Apple." The advice of the Times was "To Beat Trump, Democrats May Need to Break Out of the ‘Whole Foods’ Bubble."

They need to go to Dollar General.

There are 15,000 Dollar Generals in 44 states -- triple the number of Walmarts.

There are only 14,000 McDonald's in the USA.

The Times reported, "Last summer, Senator Elizabeth Warren electrified huge crowds at rallies in Seattle, Austin and New York. The events had one thing in common besides her populist pitch for 'big structural change.' At each stop, her trademark selfie lines were less than a mile from a Whole Foods Market, a Lululemon Athletica and an Urban Outfitters.

"These high-end retailers and brands, popular with urban millennials and affluent suburbanites alike, are increasingly correlated with which neighborhoods are trending blue. The drawback for Democrats? Just 34% of U.S. voters — and only 29% of battleground state voters — live within five miles of at least one such upmarket retailer, and the Democrats’ brand is stagnant or in decline everywhere else."

That is pretty amusing. Warren is pitching a call for Big Structural Change to the people who most benefit from the structure. Her electorate is the picky eaters who ignore price in favor of what is trendy in foods. Lululemon? These people are buying designer sweat clothes.

This is where the Democrat votes are.

The Times pointed out the folly, noting, "69% of U.S. voters live closer to a Cracker Barrel, Tractor Supply Company, Hobby Lobby or Bass Pro Shops location than to one of those high-end brands."

Let's call it what it is: Dollar General America. They are ubiquitous. Republicans are winning there because they go where the votes are.

In 2016, Donald John Trump's pitch was we're going to kick the illegal aliens out and give you their jobs.

He clobbered Hillary, 30 states to 20.

In 2020, the Democrat pitch is we're going to erase your student debt and screw around with health care again.

James Carville believes Democrats win on economics, but he told the Times, "It’s cultural arrogance. On taxing the rich, health care, Roe v. Wade, we’re in the majority on all these issues. But in this country, culture trumps policy. The urbanists — voters think they’re too cool for school. And voters pick it up."

I don't know about that. Certainly the condescension is annoying, but issues do matter. Americans don't want to soak the rich. They want to be rich.

However, he could be right. The way to test this is to campaign in Dollar General America. Campaigning in Iowa in the winter of 2007-2008 opened Obama's eyes to the fact that people in rural America need guns because police are 20 minutes away. When I read that, I knew rifles were safe because he would never jeopardize his support in Iowa. And he didn't.

Buried in the Times piece was President Donald John Trump's advantage.

The Times said, "Perhaps no presidential candidate has flaunted wealth to the degree Mr. Trump has. But from construction sites to Howard Stern call-ins to WWE appearances, he also spent decades before becoming a politician developing a blue-collar persona. In 2016, as the G.O.P. nominee, he defied history by winning a higher share of low-income whites than high-income whites. And the deepening fault lines of elite versus anti-elite could help Mr. Trump once again this November — no matter the Democratic nominee’s ideological orientation."

Donald Trump never tried to be one of us. He did not need to. All he had to do was show his empathy, and that won it for him.

As for the Times report, it was nice and the writer went to the bother of listing "The Electorate for 100 Popular American Businesses in 2016" and calculating what percentage of voters lives within a mile, 5 miles or 10 miles of each outlet, and how they voted.

The list included Portillo’s, Marcus Theatres, and Sheetz.

But not Dollar General, which has more outlets than McDonald's. The story itself showed the very cultural bias it warned Democrats against.

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