2023 Undergraduate Research Showcase


Reaching Across the Doorstep Rather Than the Aisle: Reclaim Idaho’s Grassroots Organizing Strategies Across Rural and Urban Communities in a Conservative State

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Christopher Courtheyn


Gaining bi-partisan political support has become difficult for organizers seeking legislative changes in single-party-led states. The grassroots organization of Reclaim Idaho has been successful bringing voters from opposing parties together to obtain a majority vote for two ballot initiatives: Medicaid and Education. Access to Medicaid was expanded under Obama’s Affordable Care Act, but Idaho was one of the few states that chose not to adopt this expansion. This created a gap in coverage for low-income, working-class people which increased disparities between social classes. In 2018 Reclaim Idaho united social classes and political ideologies in urban and rural settings to get Medicaid expansion passed on a statewide ballot. Analyzing the strategies and practices used by Reclaim Idaho in urban and rural communities to gain support for the Medicaid expansion ballot initiative can inform other organizations on how to be successful in conservative states and contribute to debates about the relationship between urbanization and politics.

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