Run-Up to West Virginia - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

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Despite predictions that Sen. Barack Obama will get trounced by Sen. Hillary Clinton in the West Virginia primary today, political strategists maintain that the Illinois senator’s nomination outlook is anything but bleak. He is now leading Clinton in declared superdelegates. Nevertheless, a loss in West Virginia does spark questions about Obama’s electability in the general election against John McCain, the presumptive
Republican nominee.

In West Virginia, registered Democrats have outnumbered registered Republicans two to one since 1976, a fact that would seem to favor the Democratic nominee had the state not swung right and voted overwhelmingly Republican in 2004.

Winning West Virginia is a long shot for Obama, assumes Robert DiClerico, a professor of political science at West Virginia University. For the first time this year, anecdotal evidence suggests race will hinder Obama in remaining Appalachian primaries.

Last week, Clinton received flack for comments she made suggesting that working-class whites won’t vote for Obama, but the Los Angeles Times reported that in West Virginia the stereotype may have some validity.

“The West Virginia electorate is different from the rest of the country. It  is older, whiter, poorer, and on average is less educated. Those demographics play towards Clinton,” says Neil Berch, an associate professor of political science also at West Virginia University.

Monday, was Obama’s first visit to the state in two months, and in his speech at the Charleston Civic Center he all but conceded the state to Clinton. Both candidates are pro-choice and support gun control legislation, which the majority of West Virginians oppose.

West Virginians seem to favor Clinton due to her attention to the economy, an issue that is pertinent to them. “The state is one of the most economically deprived states in the country,” says DiClerico. “When the rest of the country catches a cold, we get pneumonia.”

Comments Obama made in April about small-town Americans becoming “bitter” over job loss and turning to “guns and religion” along with comments made by the Illinois senator’s former pastor that were perceived as radical and unpatriotic have only fueled the flames of preconceived ideas held by some West Virginia voters.
“West Virginia is a state where people take their firearms very seriously,” says Berch. “That probably didn’t help him.”

West Virginians seem to overwhelmingly support the war in Iraq. The state has one of the highest veteran populations nationwide, a trait that may engender support for McCain, a U.S. Navy veteran and former prisoner of war.

On Monday, Obama sought an opportunity to tear at McCain’s stronghold with the veteran community by lashing out at McCain’s opposition to the New GI Bill for the 21st Century.

Voters in Nebraska also go to the polls to vote in the state’s nonbinding Republican primary in which 30 delegates are up for grabs.

Meanwhile, in Portland, Oregon, McCain encroached on Clinton and Obama territory by wooing Independents and Democrats with talk about regulating carbon emissions and legislation he co-sponsored supporting a “cap and trade” system, which would allow companies to buy and sell a permit to emit gases. Clinton and Obama also

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.