Tuesday, November 7, 2017

On Ralph Northam's win and rural Virginia

Ralph Northam has been declared the winner of the Virginia gubernatorial race, and the New York Times coverage of that victory includes this regarding Northam's rural origins: 
A native of Virginia’s rural Eastern Shore who bears a Tidewater accent that reveals his rural roots, Mr. Northam, 58, was a perhaps an unlikely vessel for the resistance-era Democratic Party. But the left overlooked the two votes he cast for George W. Bush before he entered politics and his otherwise sterling resume — he is a pediatric neurologist and Gulf War veteran — proved far more appealing to the state’s broad middle than Mr. Gillespie’s background as a corporate lobbyist.
The playing up of rural-urban difference is interesting--and perhaps something that would not have happened before the Election of 2016 made us more acutely aware of this divide (or, what I tend to argue, is really a continuum). 

Here's a story from last week's Washington Post that might have predicted how Virginia counties would vote, based on economic recovery (or relative lack thereof) from the recession of 2008. I see that Northam's home region includes a number of counties that went for him, in spite of their weaker economic recovery. 

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