My Trip to Dollywood Today

As many of you know, I am the rare breed of Appalachian Obama supporter. I'm not a native to this region by any stretch, but East Tennessee is my home and I have supported Barack Obama from the very beginning.

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Appalachia is Clinton Country

Barack Obama, on the verge of his own premature victory celebration, had time to visit Michigan this week -- a state where he voluntarily removed his name from the ballot for political gain in Iowa, then subsequently blocked a re-vote.  But apparently he couldn't squeeze in even one visit to the Bluegrass State in advance of its primary this Tuesday.  Not to worry, though, Obama assured the people of Kentucky from afar that he'd be back before November to win them over.

In lieu of visiting Kentucky to ask voters personally for their support, Obama has spent a fortune in television and radio ads, plus handbills, that play up his Christianity.  He's also found the time to blame a bunch of people, including FOX News and political opponents, for his impending double-digit loss there.  Arriving on the heels of a humiliating 41-point defeat in neighboring West Virginia (where he spent a few hours campaigning), it would be understandable if Obama was feeling a little down about now.

Appalachia, a region rich in battleground electoral votes, is most definitely Clinton Country.  A set of maps courtesy of Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections illustrates Hillary's overwhelming Appalachian advantage.  In case the legend is hard to read, dark blue in the top map shows counties Clinton has won (light blue is Obama). In the bottom map, pink represents Republican-won counties in the general elections of both 2000 and 2004; dark blue is for counties won by Democrats in both years; and those won by Democrats in only one of the two years are light blue.

The Democratic Party should study this data carefully.  Hillary Clinton has the same populist appeal in the region as her husband, who won more than half of these states in 1992 and 1996. Remarkably, even as the mainstream media writes her obituary, in general-election surveys Clinton still out-polls"presumptive nominee" Barack Obama in Pennsylvania and Ohio. And, based on her strong primary performances, Hillary gives the Democrats tangible hope in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee for the first time since 1996.

So...while Barack Obama writes off another swing state, Hillary Clinton continues to solidify her popularity with the people of Appalachia, working like a die-hard Democrat should to build the party's base, going door-to-door stumping for votes in Kentucky.


And the people of Kentucky, like their neighbors in West Virginia, will come out in full force this Tuesday -- ignoring all the grand displays of victory by Obama -- to tell America that they want Hillary Clinton for President.

Word from the Clinton campaign is that Kentuckians are warm and hospitable hosts.  I sure hope Barack Obama has the opportunity in his lifetime to spend a bit of time in Bluegrass Country getting to know them.

Cross posted at texasdarlin and Taylor Marsh

TexasDarlin, all rights reserved
Not affiliated with the Hillary Clinton campaign

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Is it Appalachia or the Working Class? (UPDATE!!)

WOW! What cool and thoughtful dialogue we have going in here. Thanks to everybody who is arguing and discussing with respect. This is a cool thread.

This is a diary that seeks to explore the mystery of why the democratic primary electorate in the Appalachian region votes so differently than the rest of the country.

It seems that some people want to give West Virginia an outsized influence in the debate over whether or not Barack Obama has a problem securing the vote of blue collar white voters. I do not pretend to be able to dissect the psychology of these voters, and certainly do not ascribe to them any nefarious motivations such as fear of an African American candidate. But for whatever reason WVa's white voters turned out for Clinton in numbers that are different from white voters in most other parts of the country.

Yesterday, another poster had a chart up that showed the counties nationwide in which Hillary Clinton had won by margins larger than 65-35. Almost all of these counties came in Appalachia, and the only hole in the Appalachian section of the map at this point were the states of WVa and KY. Filling them in completes the cycle of Appalachian regions that Clinton can expect to win overwhelmingly. Again, why this is, I have no idea but it is so clearly regionally delineated that I feel I can say that with good confidence that Obama has a problem among Appalachian voters (and I say this as a strong Obama supporter).

At this point in this long race, Obama has won in predominantly white states on the west coast, the plains, the midwest, and the southeast. This demonstrates a breadth of support that is not shaken by the mysterious loss of support in Appalachia. It is foolish to suggest that because Obama seems to not connect with voters in Appalachia that he can't win the general, or even that he wouldn't be as strong a candidate as HRC.

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Al Gore: "Mountaintop Removal is a Crime, and Ought to be Treated as a Crime"

Al Gore:

Mountaintop removal is a crime and ought to be treated as a crime

Al Gore recently addressed Appalachian resident Ed Wiley, Ed's granddaughter Kayla, and the audience at the 2008 Nashville film festival, to present Director Michael O' Connell the 2008 "Reel Current Award" for his most recent piece "Mountain Top Removal."

You'll remember Ed Wiley as the  grandfather who walked 455 miles from Charleston WV to Washington DC to speak with Senator Byrd about mountaintop removal mining in his community, and Marsh Fork Elementary School which sits right below a sludge impoundment holding 2.8 billion gallons of toxic sludge.

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Obama, Go There

And I don't mean negative.

The key to an Obama victory in the primary and the GE now lies nowhere else but in the misty mountains of Appalachia. So strap on your geeek glasses and lets have some fun. We've got work to do.

I am writing this diary out of a desire to see Barack Obama win the primary and general election. There is no doubt that Appalachia is the absolute KEY area to electoral victory for Obama. With the Appalachian vote goes the potential swing of WV, OH, VA, NC, PA and potentially KY and TN depending on the numbers come November.

So far, Obama is under-preforming 44% in Appalachian areas. Tennessee hinted at it (-41), Virginia seconded (-61), and SE Ohio (-31) has made it exceedingly clear. But it can, and will be his.

Dive in with me to see how Obama locks up the primary, and crushes John McCain in the General Election.

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