I think this is a tough question, and I think the responses reflect it!
But I thought it'd be fun to weigh-in on the question that I'm more qualified to address, and that's whether West Virginia is Southern politically.
To me, the short answer is 'no'
One test is Civil War politics. For a century, post-civil war politics were defined by Civil War loyalties. WV is a state defined by its Civil War loyalty.
As a consequence WV was not part of the solid South. It voted GOP in all but one election from 1896-1928, for ex.
For fun, here's a map of the 1916 election (still some missing data on cleaning this up, but good enough).
WV even voted GOP in this election, the best Dem showing from the Civil War to 1932.
The contours of the Solid South are clear enough
As an aside, some people in my thread said that this was sufficient for WV not to be 'southern.' I don't think that's so obvious! As you can see, many parts of the South had union loyalties. They failed to breakaway, but if they did, I'd say an eastern TN would be Southern
West Virginia instead becomes a blue state in the New Deal, with political loyalties forged in the eras fights over industry, labor, etc.
Here's the swing from 16-44, where impoverished areas, urban north, TVA, and old economy resource extraction zones swing D
(I don't think swinging Dem during the New Deal makes WV politics non-Southern, btw; But I think *becoming* Dem during the New Deal is a story more like, say, western PA)
The next phase of Southern politics is most famous: the dissolution of the Democratic hold on the white South, beginning in 1948 and ending in 1968.
But WV really wasn't part of that swing, shown here in the swing from 48 to 68.
In fact, WV votes Humphrey *and* doesn't shift R
I should also note that WV was entirely unpersuaded by Wallace in 68 (Thurmond wasn't even on the ballot)
West Virginia's Democratic allegiance lasts all the way through the end of the 20th century, and still leans blue all the way through the so-called GOP 'southern strategy' of Nixon and Reagan. It's the only plausibly Southern state voting for Dukakis in 88
When you put it all together, WV is the only plausibly Southern state--or even *area*, to add in eastern TN--that fits all of these things:
--votes GOP post-war
--leans Dem post-New Deal, and post-Civil Rights/southern strat
--doesn't even trend R post-48
--below avg for Wallace
Since 1996, West Virginia swings hard right. To me, that's mainly the urban-rural, college-noncollege, left progressive v. populist conservative dynamic we see basically everywhere in America, in or out of the South (swing from 96-20)
This is the era when West Virginia politics do start to seem more southern. Yes, much of this pattern is just that it's more rural--like dependence on the natural resource extraction, a large number of gun owners, low college grad rates, etc
But WV is of predominantly Southern ancestry (it was part of VA, after all!). Like the South, Evangelicals represent a big share of the electorate. In part as a consequence, Bush culture war did tend to yield somewhat larger gains in the rural South than North (here swing 96-04)
WV also reacted to Obama in a way that's much more like the white South. Here the swing from 12-04.
Of the sort of spots that swung Democratic during the New Deal era (go look at the 16-48 map again), the southern ones bolted at Obama but not so much northern
There's some room to wonder how much of this represents a continuation of longer term trends. But the clear regional split here is certainly consistent with the idea that white *southern* Democrats reacted adversely to Obama because of race
It should also be noted that the particularly severe D decline in WV is undoubtedly bc of Obama's coal policies, which not only forfeited but totally reversed the source of D strength in the state
But given the pattern, naive to think it was only coal and not race too
During the Trump era, white educational polarization basically reaches everywhere in the country, regardless of region. By the end of the Obama-Trump elections, almost every vestige of the New Deal coalition is gone
There's a rough if still fairly telling correlation between Dem gains between 1916-1948 and GOP gains between 2004-2020 in white, rural areas. Fairly remarkable given just how much has changed in between
And although I apparently didn't mention at the top of the thread, despite intending to, this is all in response to the question I posed a few days ago: is WV a Southern state?

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More from @Nate_Cohn

11 Jun
Democracy is a weird thing. It can at once be measured on a continuous spectrum (more voting options, easier registration, more enfranchised people) but ultimately there's a simple binary: a party/country/election either is or isn't democratic
That line is surprisingly hard to draw; felon disenfranchisement is a nice example. Convenience voting is a good ex too
AFAIK, there are only two states where every adult citizen is still presumptively eligible to vote when they wake up on Election Day
And yet in perhaps the most important sense, I *think* there's a consensus that every state held a free and fair election in 2020--big lie concerns not withstanding--regardless of whether they had a lot of mail or early voting options, regardless of whether they had SDR, etc.
Read 4 tweets
10 Jun
If you're looking for a strategy that might heighten the contradictions of the filibuster for Manchin, this style of proposal--laws that mandate supermajorities/bipartisanship where only majorities are needed today--is a clever route
In this proposal, the threshold for overturning an electoral slate would increase to a supermajority--though one could choose 60 votes, to make the tension obvious. Today, a vote to overturn a presidential election wouldn't be subject to a filibuster, and only require 50 votes
Another example might be to subject state election laws passed without bipartisan support--say, at least 20% of all major parties, to again align with the filibuster--to VRA preclearance and new standards for partisan fairness
Read 4 tweets
9 Jun
GOP isn't willing to give Ds anything close to what progressives would want or what Ds could do on their own without the filibuster
But it's hard to think of anything like this happening back in 2009 or 2011, and I'd read something grappling with that nytimes.com/2021/06/08/us/…
Speculating, I can imagine four plausible explanations (not endorsing any):
--GOP opposition to Biden isn't nearly as deep as Obama, allowing some level of bipartisanship
--GOP laissez faire mores were routed by COVID/Trump, allowing deficit spending without angering base
--Senate GOP feels an instinct to demonstrate that the system works, given Trump and the filibuster threat
--GOP was always willing to give on infrastructure/competitiveness and Obama didn't properly test it
Read 4 tweets
8 Jun
I think this is worth a read, though I'll take this as an opportunity to note that the focus on Congress as the site of election subversion doesn't seem quite right to me
As Ross notes, we're still pretty far from the point where the House/Senate seem likely to just vote to overturn an election on a pretextual basis, even if the GOP gains a majority. There are too many Republicans who just don't seem poised to go along with it.
In 2020, there were just 7 Senate votes to overturn PA.
Opposition to 1/6 commission got 35 votes--a way, way easier vote than overturning an election result.
That's not to say it's a-ok, but I don't see the case that we're close to a congressional majority for subversion
Read 7 tweets
6 Jun
It's probably 5 months too late for something to have a chance of passage, but it's interesting to mull what a bipartisan election bill might have looked like (or perhaps might still).
I can think of two models (and no, don't take any to be likely)
One model is something like a grand bargain, where both sides get something they want out of a deal.
Today's politics are not remotely conducive to grand bargains, but on the merits there's obviously an opening.
It would require both sides to swallow things they don't like, ofc. On the progressive side, they'd probably need to be thinking about how to give ground on mail absentee or photo identification requirements.
Read 13 tweets
5 Jun
This is one of the clearest summaries of one of the more interesting critiques of the NYT call for a narrower, targeted and viable HR1.
But to me, it's very hard to read the reporting on HR1 and think it's the right interpretation of the politics here
At first, it's easy to see why you could think of HR1 as a broad bill that's the basis for a negotiation that eventually gets to something viable--like Biden starting off at $2 trillion on something in hopes of $1 trillion. In this view, narrowing is a premature concession.
But if you read the articles about HR1 in Congress, it's fairly clear that it's not on track to even serve this limited purpose.
It's basically DOA, and it is not poised to serve as the basis for serious negotiations.
It's more like the Green New Deal than a $2 tn infra. offer
Read 12 tweets

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