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Sun Jun 3, 2012, 09:26 PM

In Pennsylvania coal country, voters not thrilled with their choices

UNIONTOWN, PA — This is coal country, even if there’s hardly any coal anymore. The elders can name the coal veins and describe their dimensions. People will still say, “I grew up in the patch.” That means they were raised in a cluster of company houses back in a hollow near the mouth of a mine. The kids would play king-of-the-hill on gobheaps of broken slate and mining waste.


This part of Pennsylvania is a political and economic battleground, a transitional place loaded with history, with memories of prosperity but also of vicious poverty. It’s on the front line of America’s economic doldrums, and it is not incidentally a swing county in presidential elections.

John Kerry carried Fayette County in 2004, but four years later John McCain squeaked by Barack Obama. McCain’s margin, 25,669 to 25,509, represented barely enough voters to fill half a basketball court.


This is an overwhemingly Democratic county by party affiliation, but it is politically conservative. It’s full of prototypical Reagan Democrats. That said, Obama has the lead in Pennsylvania polls and handily won the state four years ago. It’s not clear whether it’ll be as competitive as Ohio next door or some of the other swing states.

But the president faces headwinds here. Fayette County’s unemployment rate is higher than the national average. And the memory of coal and the dream of gas will not help Obama as he mines votes in this part of Pennsylvania.

full: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/in-pennsylvania-coal-country-voters-not-thrilled-with-their-choices/2012/06/03/gJQA5pHzBV_singlePage.html

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Reply In Pennsylvania coal country, voters not thrilled with their choices (Original post)
alp227 Jun 2012 OP
blue neen Jun 2012 #1

Response to alp227 (Original post)

Sun Jun 3, 2012, 10:08 PM

1. This quote from the article is what it's really about here in rural PA:

“When I was a little kid, all I could see was black smoke and fire,” said Gary Smitley, 62, a disabled Vietnam veteran who lives in a leafy declivity known as Yaugher Hollow. He’s voting for Obama, saying the president has helped veterans. “And I’m not prejudiced. Too many people are prejudiced.”

I've been around for a long time, and I've never seen the bigots so emboldened. I'm sure the Republicans designed it that way, because they've got no policies except failure and nothing at all to offer to the American people.

Believe me, it's not about the coal mines. The coal mines were already long gone when Fayette County voted for John Kerry.

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