West Virginia shows us how we could easily win over this key segment of society, working class whites, with a New Deal-style industrial policy. Currently, 85,000 people in the United States are employed by the wind industry; Slightly more than the 81,000 in the United States working as coal miners.
On election night 2000, the biggest shocker for me wasn’t Florida, but that West Virginia had voted for a conservative Republican presidential candidate for the first time in nearly 70 years.
For decades, West Virginia, with one of the highest rates of unionization in the country, regularly voted for progressive candidates, even being one of only nine other states in 1988 to vote for the epitome of a Massachusetts liberal – Michael Dukakis. To know the story of West Virginia is to know why the progressive movement is failing to win over white working class voters. Because of their primary concern: jobs.