I’m writing a series of previews of congressional midterm elections for the Daily Yonder, a website about rural America published by the Center for Rural Strategies out of Whitesburg, Kentucky.
“Rural” as measured by the US Census—which is based not on geography but what percentage of a population is living in metro vs non-metro areas.
My first story focused on upstate New York, home to two of the 20 most rural districts in the US. This story looks at developing midterm races in NY-19 (a toss-up) and NY-21 (safe R). Read it at the Daily Yonder here.
The second story looks at West Virginia’s 3rd congressional district, which Donald Trump won by 50 points but which is an open seat with unpredictable dynamics. Read that story here.
When he first entered the West Virginia Republican primary for U.S. Senate, I kind of wrote off Don Blankenship’s campaign as an effort at rehabbing his image after a year in prison. But now, five weeks out from the primary election, it appears that the former apex predator of blood capitalism is in the hunt.
Read my story about Blankenship’s background & the current moment at The New Republic.
I spent the last day of February in Charleston at the WV Capitol, where despite the governor’s announcement of a resolution, hundreds of teachers showed up to chant, sing, shout & dialogue. Schools in all 55 counties are out again today, as lawmakers debated what to do. Here’s what I saw & heard.
Read the story at Vice.
The 2018 GOP primary for West Virginia’s US Senate seat was turning into another Mitch McConnell/Steve Bannon proxy fight. Then one of the most hated men in West Virginia announced his candidacy.
I think Don Blankenship is using this mostly to grind his ax against MSHA, incumbent US Sen Joe Manchin & the federal government. Even so, he’s injecting a unpredictable element of chaos into what had been a seemingly straight-forward primary.
Read the story at Blue Ridge Outdoors.
The Daily Yonder is a web publication that is aimed at the 55 million people who live in the rural United States. It’s been published on the web since 2007 by the Center for Rural Strategies, a non-profit media organization based in Whitesburg, Kentucky, and Knoxville, Tennessee.
I started writing for the Yonder in August, with stories that included reactions to white supremacy rallies in small towns and rural areas, as well as a preview and recap of how rural areas played into the 2017 Virginia governor’s race.
Here are some recent stories, all of which have been subsequently re-published at 100 Days in Appalachia:
– How #NoHateInMyHoller became a war cry for Appalachia: An interview with Eastern Kentucky artist Lacy Hale
– Policing white-supremacist rallies: Lessons from small-town America
– “Margins matter”: How rural voters could tip the scales in Virginia’s governors race (spoiler: they didn’t)
– GOP’s rural numbers in Virginia slip only slightly from 2016
West Virginia’s 3rd congressional district went 73/23 for Trump over Clinton last year, but Democrat Nick Rahall held that seat up through 2014. With the seat open again (Evan Jenkins is running for Senate), I wrote about how Democrats are trying to engage voters and address the real challenges of poverty & economic disruption there (including at least two who are doing so by running for the Republican nomination).
My story for the New Republic looks at several present and past Democrats in the district (including some current Republicans) who are now maneuvering for the open seat. The story focuses largely on Richard Ojeda, a veteran and state senator who supported Trump in 2016 but is building a campaign that combines his brawling anti-establishment style with a generally progressive platform.
Donald Trump dominated Appalachia on Election Day, 2016, and he wasted no time in loosening regulations on the region’s coal industry. In the big picture, however, the regulatory shifts mean an extension of the status quo.
His proposed budget, however, which would gut the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Economic Development Administration, the USDA’s infrastructure budget and other programs crucial to economic development efforts, may well wipe out any job gains from the coal industry.
For Vice, I tried to sort out the impact of federal actions on Appalachia under Trump. Read it here.
Donald Trump’s 2016 election win put an exclamation point on two decades worth of political shift from Democrat to Republican in Appalachia. Except for urban centers and a few notable exceptions, Democrats have essentially been wiped from the map in the region.
Now, in an ever increasingly polarized political environment, can they make up ground by using the new president as a foil?
I looked at the early signs in 2017 for 100 Days in Appalachia. Read it here.
Donald Trump’s election as president shocked and electrified America. But what does his election signify for America’s wildlands?
Environmentalists predict disasterous consequences for public lands and beyond. But outdoor sports groups are surprisingly optimistic.
Find out why in my story at Blue Ridge Outdoors.