A reader writes:
From my limited perspective - my dad grew up in the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia; my mom's family for five generations has lived in the Blue Ridge in Virginia; I grew up in the Blue Ridge and lived as an adult for a year in West Virginia - there is in mountain culture a wariness or suspicion of outsiders. People I've known all my life, who've lived in my hometown for 40 years, are still known as "not from here" (though after 40 years they're well enough liked or tolerated, depending on the person, nonetheless). If you apply this dynamic alone to the primary results in Appalachia so far, it goes a long way toward explaining the results.Hillary, by virtue of the 1990s, is simply far better known than Obama.
She's "Hillary," of "Bill and Hillary" fame, while he's this younger black man from Chicago with the funny name. And she has other traits that almost amount to cultural ties: primarily here I'm thinking about a troubled marriage with sordid moments, to which she has nonetheless adhered, no doubt with often gritted teeth. She has at times, whether or not she deserves it, an air of having toughed it out. In a gestalt sort of way, she can sometimes come off like a scarred but resilient matriarch. In a lot of places in Appalachia, that counts for a whole lot more than soaring rhetoric.