Sen. Jon Tester (D., Mont.) said he has not yet seen a Democratic presidential candidate with a shot of winning back rural America during an appearance on CBS's Face the Nation on Sunday.
"You gave a speech making the case that Democrats actually do have a shot at winning back rural america. But you said they can't promise things that don't make sense like free college or jobs for everybody. Have you seen a Democratic candidate that fits that description for you?" host Margaret Brennan asked.
"No, but I have seen some policies come out of some Democrats that fit that description," Tester said. "And I think it's important that we stay connected with reality. College is too high. We need to figure out ways to drive it down, but I'm not sure that there doesn't need to be skin in the game if you go to college. The same thing with health care. And one other proposal that was put out said you're going to have a job, the job's going to pay livable wages. You just can't do that. It's not that easy. It would be great — it's great to say it, but it's hard to implement it. Let's be grounded in common sense and move forward."
"So the bottom line is that whoever comes out of this 24, 25 people who are running for president, needs to be able to connect with rural america. You do that by applying common sense," Tester added.
A Pew survey from last year found rural voters moving increasingly towards the Republican Party. These voters also held more negative attitudes towards immigration, abortion, and government intervention than urban and suburban voters.
Rural voters overwhelmingly supported President Donald Trump in 2016.