Sean Trende weighs in on the realignment of Dixie’s north flank:
“What we’re really talking about here, and as I explored in great detail in “The Lost Majority,” is “Greater Appalachia,” an area that was settled by Scots-Irish immigrants in the late 18th century and that has retained an attachment to Jacksonian populism since then. This region begins in western Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina, stretches through the Appalachians and across the Cumberland Plateau, and spills over into southern Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, across Missouri and Arkansas, and into north Texas and Oklahoma. It also brushes along the northern edges of Mississippi and Alabama.
Now, no one expects West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Kentucky to be a part of Obama’s coalition this fall. But lots of people are looking at Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina. These states are where this primary weakness becomes potentially significant.
All four of those states have substantial populations in areas geographically and culturally similar to these “problem areas”: southwestern Pennsylvania, western Virginia and North Carolina, and southeastern Ohio. In all of these states, Obama’s path to victory is to hold down his losses in rural areas, and then maximize his vote among upscale and minority voters in urban areas… “
A year ago, Trende had an excellent post that explained why Virginia has turned red in recent election cycles.
It was because the Cracker Nation in western Virginia had abandoned the Mark Warner coalition of blacks and suburbanites in NOVA, Hampton Roads, and Southside.