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Teacher Mark

Skirting Appalachia

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As Hillary Clinton's rout in West Virginia underscores, Appalachia is not Obama country. Of 410 counties in the region, which stretches from New York to Mississippi, Barack Obama has won only 48 (12 percent) so far. Of the counties he has lost, nearly 80 percent have been by a margin of more than 2 to 1. The region is whiter, poorer, older, more rural and less educated than the rest of the country, and seems to be voting like a bloc.

In fact, it hasn't been Democratic country for the last two presidential elections. Only 48 of the counties voted for John Kerry in 2004, down from 66 counties (or 16 percent) that went for Al Gore in 2000. The only states with counties in the region that have consistently voted Democratic in the last four such elections have been New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Part of Clinton's win-while-losing argument is that her husband won more than half the region's states in both elections, and so can she. Unfortunately, she is not the Bill Clinton of 2008. Obama is, and his candidacy could energize enough young voters and African-Americans to shift the landscape of swing states.

Obama is unlikely to win the heart of Appalachia in the general election, but he may not need to if he can make up ground on its northern frontier. If he wins New York and Pennsylvania (he lost both in the primaries) and flip-flopping Ohio (another primary loss) he will be in good position.

The electoral votes of the other heavily Appalachian states could be offset. For instance, if he wins Virginia (where a corner sits in Appalachia and which seems to be in play although it hasn't swung Democratic in more than 40 years) and Florida (which almost swung — or maybe did swing — Democratic in 2000), he will have won more electoral votes than in Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky and West Virginia combined.

Eschewing Appalachia might be risky but by no means suicidal. Clinton said in her victory speech on Tuesday night that no Democrat has won the White House since 1916 without taking West Virginia. True. But they all could have won without it. The margins of victory in those races ranged from 23 to 515 electoral votes. West Virginia has five.

So, when she stops casting the nomination as a standoff between the Dukes of Hazzard and the Huxtables and accepts the outcome as a fait accompli, the party can unite, and there will be a better sense as to which states are in play.

Obama has proclaimed "change" his mantra. That change may well be evident in the electoral map come fall. Appalachia is all American, but America is not all Appalachian.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/17/opinion/...&ei=5087%0A

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Appalachia ... is whiter, poorer, older, more rural and less educated than the rest of the country, and seems to be voting like a bloc.

Shame on you for that type of stereotyping! :whistle:

Shame on who? I only repost the news, I don't write it.

You're peddling the stereotypes.

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Appalachia ... is whiter, poorer, older, more rural and less educated than the rest of the country, and seems to be voting like a bloc.

Shame on you for that type of stereotyping! :whistle:

Shame on who? I only repost the news, I don't write it.

You're peddling the stereotypes.

These aren't stereotypes. They are facts.

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Appalachia ... is whiter, poorer, older, more rural and less educated than the rest of the country, and seems to be voting like a bloc.

Shame on you for that type of stereotyping! :whistle:

Shame on who? I only repost the news, I don't write it.

You're peddling the stereotypes.

These aren't stereotypes. They are facts.

You better tell somebody. :innocent:

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Appalachia ... is whiter, poorer, older, more rural and less educated than the rest of the country, and seems to be voting like a bloc.

Shame on you for that type of stereotyping! :whistle:

Shame on who? I only repost the news, I don't write it.

You're peddling the stereotypes.

These aren't stereotypes. They are facts.

You better tell somebody. :innocent:

Here's the link, they can look themselves:

http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/index.html

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