It is generally recognized that rural constituents are critical for winning elections. Development economists also recognize the importance of pro-agricultural policies to economic growth. Yet, little attention has been paid to the effect of rural politics on regime stability. Against conventional wisdom, this article argues that leaders who support rural areas and suppress urban demands are better able to stabilize the state and avoid coups. Because Ghana was able to politically stabilize after a period of state decay and five coups, the article presents an in-depth analysis of the tactical decisions made by the Ghanaian head of state who presided over these changes, John Jerry Rawlings. Using process-tracing, the study illustrates the importance of rural coalitions to stability and regime success.