The Appalachian Problem: Obama goes to rural Virginia (Peter J. Boyer, The New Yorker, October 6 2008 issue)The southwestern region, rising from the Roanoke Valley up to the Appalachian Plateau, is a place of small farms, coal mines, and chronic economic hard times. It was settled in the eighteenth century by Scots-Irish Calvinists who fled Anglican-dominated Ulster and, eventually, came to that portion of Virginia which the planter aristocracy didn’t want. Their descendants live in small hill towns that are nearer, in mileage and in spirit, to the old factory town of Ironton, Ohio, than to the glass office towers of northern Virginia. Three weeks after the Virginia primary, the mostly white, working-class voters of southern Ohio, a significant portion of them of Scots-Irish descent, helped deliver that state to Hillary Clinton. In the next weeks, their kin did the same in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, and Kentucky. It became clear that if Obama hoped to win in November he would probably have to overcome his Appalachia problem.
When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson