It’s the demographics, stupid = it’s Appalachia, stupid

The talk of the lefty blogosphere today is this map of Clinton's voting by County (counties in purple are those in which she won 65% or more of the vote). 

Basically, Obama does not have so much a white rural problem as an Appalachia problem.  Josh Marshall puts his History PhD to work with some smart commentary:

There's been a lot of talk in this campaign about Barack Obama's
problem with working class white voters or rural voters. But these
claims are both inaccurate because they are incomplete. You can look at
states like Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and other states and see the
different numbers and they are all explained by one basic fact. Obama's
problem isn't with white working class voters or rural voters. It's
Appalachia. That explains why Obama had a difficult time in Ohio and
Pennsylvania and why he's getting crushed in West Virginia and Kentucky.

If it were just a matter of rural voters or the white working class,
the pattern would show up in other regions. But by and large it does

In so many words, Pennsylvania and Ohio have big chunks of
Appalachia within their borders. But those regions are heavily offset
by non-Appalachian sections that are cultural and demographically
distinct. West Virginia is 100% Appalachian. If you look at
southeastern Ohio or the middle chunk of Pennsylvania, Obama did about
the same as he's doing tonight in West Virginia…

Let me offer a series of overlapping explanations. First, some basic
demographics. It's widely accepted that Hillary Clinton does better
with older voters, less educated voters and white voters. These
demographics perfectly match West Virginia — and, more loosely, the
entire Appalachian region. A few key points from tonight's exit polls
demonstrate the point: 4 out of 10 voters were over 60 years of age. 7
out of 10 lacked a college degree — the highest proportion of any
electorate in the country. And 95% of the electorate was white…

As I alluded to earlier, this was the origin of West Virginia, which
was originally the westernmost part of Virginia. The anti-slavery,
anti-slaveholding upcountry seceded from Virginia to remain in the
Union after Virginia seceded from the Union. Each of these regions was
fiercely anti-Slavery. And most ended up raising regiments that fought
in the Union Army. But they were as anti-slave as they were
anti-slavery, both of which they viewed as the linchpins of the
aristocratic and inegalitarian society they loathed. It was a society
that was both more violent and more self-reliant.

This is history. But it shapes the region. It's overwhelmingly
white, economically underdeveloped (another legacy of the pre-civil war
pattern) and arguably because of that underdevelopment has very low
education rates and disproportionately old populations.

For all these reasons, if you're familiar with the history, it's
really no surprise that Barack Obama would have a very hard time
running in this region.

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