Salena Zito’s latest reporting from the “middle of somewhere” is the best understanding of what’s actually happening in battleground states. The subject of Ms. Zito’s article is West Virginia as it relates to other battleground states. If you aren’t getting Ms. Zito’s e-updates, it’s time you started. They’re as essential of reading as Kim Strassel’s articles. But I digress.

The key part of the article comes where Ms. Zito writes “No one would argue seriously that West Virginia, where Trump got more than two-thirds of the vote, would ever be in play for the Democrats in 2020. But the story of its sentiments and the evolution of these voters aren’t just limited to within the state‚Äôs boundaries. In many ways, especially in their connection to place and their distrust of large government, political, and entertainment institutions, these voters are very similar to voters in rural, suburban, and exurban voters in the swing states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin.”

Then it goes into extended detail:

Tom Maraffa, geography professor emeritus at Youngstown State University, explained that the similarities of the voters in slow-growth metropolitan regions are striking and important to consider when trying to understand trends. He said West Virginians “share that sense of rootedness” with voters “in places like suburban Youngstown, Akron, or Ashtabula, Ohio, or suburban Erie, Pennsylvania, or Macomb County, Michigan, or Kenosha, Wisconsin.”

If Democrats don’t win back these blue collar cities and counties in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, they’ll lose this election. Period. In 2016, President Trump turned Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin from Hillary’s “blue firewall” into red states. Based on what’s happening in West Virginia, that trend is strengthening.

The premise I’m operating from is that this isn’t as much about Democrats vs. Republicans as it is about ultra-liberal nutjobs vs. sane people. Imagine the reaction of people in the audience when Vice President Biden said that coal miners should learn how to program computers:

That video says it all. Those coal miners wouldn’t walk across the street on a sunny day to vote for Biden but they’d sprint across a busy highway in a snowstorm to vote for President Trump. If Vice President Biden thinks that his reputation as a blue collar guy is enough to defeat President Trump, he’s kidding himself. A man whose job is on the verge of disappearing and whose community is falling apart doesn’t care about a politician’s reputation. That miner wants to know, first and foremost, whether that politician will be with them in their foxhole. Those miners and manufacturers know that President Trump will be with them in their foxhole.

That’s the biggest reason why President Trump will win re-election. President Trump told the people of western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Michigan that he’d be their president and that they wouldn’t be forgotten again. That’s powerful stuff to a man who’s worrying about his community, his church and his industry.

3 Responses to “Is West Virginia-itis contagious?”

  • eric z says:

    So you want us to have the West V. economy, which has attracted those of the kind of which you write.

    I would not use that state as representative of anything, besides a place to leave. Don’t take my word, ask Randy Moss.

  • Chad Q says:

    An yet again you miss the entire point of what Gary is saying.

  • Gary Gross says:

    Thanks Chad. The point I’m making is that people don’t want to feel like they’ve been forgotten. For instance, when Biden says ‘well, they can learn how to code’, he’s essentially saying ‘I want your vote but what you do for a living isn’t that important. I’ll sell you down the river.’ That’s the fastest way to ruin your campaign.

    That’s what I’m trying to say. PS- whatever you think of him, President Trump has told these people that he’s fighting for their lives, cultures & communities. Those folks would run through walls for him. That’s why he’ll get re-elected.

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