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Slate's coverage of West Virginia the swing state

West Virginia Swing State 2004

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#1 tennyson

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Posted 17 June 2004 - 01:27 AM

Here's the link to the article,


while I found it to have several interesting points I also noticed that it was trafficing in the same old stereotypes that it tried to escape from in the intial praragraph.  (Why do so many not understand Deliverence was in Georgia?) Instead of getting to know the state and its people as a whole you have a trip through an economically depressed southern West Virginia small town that in turns in my opinion mocks and praises those in the town.
I have wondered why West Virginia is so firmly democrat in the past. When my grandfather took me to be registered to vote thier wasn't even the thought that I would register as anything but democrat in him.
I've had my own mostly hate relationship with my home state thanks to the poverty and general ignorance that I've come to associate with a certain strata of where I come from but it annoys me to still find attitudes about where I was born still defined by images from the popular media of the West Virginia of the 1920s and 1930s. The place I would hear about in the various media services and in popular programs was not the place I grew up in and it seems like more time and energy has been spent trying to get my state taken seriously than in dealing with its real issues.
Anyway, this is why I thought posted this here for thought and discussion would be a good thing. To see what people think and maybe learn something.
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#2 JadziaDax


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Posted 17 June 2004 - 04:27 AM


It has Colorado listed as swing.

Colorado tends to vote republican unless the republicans do something incredibally stupid and piss off people.

......Like randomly annoucing that Denver and Bagdad are sister cities without telling anyone in Denver!

Not to mention the republicans outnumber democrats by about 200,000....or was that 400,000? I don't really remember.

Well... 200,001 ;) when I changed my address, I switched from Democrat to unaffiliated....purely because I like to sit on the fence ;).
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#3 Cardie


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Posted 17 June 2004 - 05:46 AM

The reason West Virginia has a majority Democratic political affiliation is simple.  It's a one-industry state: coal.  And the only thing that stood between the workers and the rapacious mine owners were the unions (which later turned rapacious themselves, but that's a different story.) The author is right that tradition is strong in WV, and the state still divides along the union/Democrat vs. management/Republican axis that characterized national politics before the party divides got to be more about race and about lifestyle issues and values.  The author does seem to have ignored the many times in the last half century that the state has elected a Republican governor, however.

Growing up middle-class in Charleston, I never lived in the sort of WV that visiting liberals like to write about, but you can drive out into the rural areas and find it pretty easily.  Poor whites have also been forgotten in the politics of poverty these days, which seems to have been turned into the politics of race as well.

The only outside liberal who ever "got" West Virginia imo was John Sayles in his film Matewan.

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#4 Kosh


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Posted 17 June 2004 - 08:14 AM

I've been to Hinton, it's not all that rural.
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