West Virginia is another special state for me, as it’s where my grandpa’s side of the family is from. It’s beautiful, and the people are the salt of the earth. It was the last state to get a case of covid-19, probably because so many of its communities are relatively rural and isolated, compared with the other states around it. I would call its natural beauty ‘unspoiled’ because there’s something relaxing and peaceful about it, but actually it has been spoiled—by mining and fracking. It ranks poorly on economic and health measures, much like its rust belt neighbors, and it went for Trump by 300,000 votes, a massive 41 points.
West Virginia is solidly red now, but that hasn’t always been the case. They’ve gone for Adelai Stevenson, Hubert Humphrey, Jimmy Carter, Michael Dukakis and Bill Clinton. They’ve been fickle and have a strange habit of voting for an incumbent whom they initially rejected—voting against Eisenhower then for him, voting against Nixon then for him, voting against Reagan then for him. It doesn’t look like they’re going to turn on Trump—he’s leading by 35 points in recent polls.
My grandpa always said he voted for Democrats because poor people are better off when Democrats are in charge. That’s why West Virginia re-elected Democratic Senator Robert Byrd so many times—because he looked after them. That’s why they went for Trump—because he said the Democrats had failed to look after them, and he promised to do it better. I really do want the best for West Virginia, and I hope if Biden wins he can turn things around for them.