McDowell County, is the southernmost and the poorest county in West Virginia with a population that has been steadily shrinking since 1960. About 90% of the residents are white. Once the leading coal-producing country in America, today it's the country's 8th poorest county, with a median household income of $29,106, the lowest life expectancy in America and the county with the highest rate of drug-induced deaths. It was the first county to ever receive food stamps (1961). Once a Democratic Party bastion, McDowell went for Trump last year 78.9% to 20.4%, even redder than it had been in 2016 (when Hillary managed to win 23.2%).
The folks in the county have largely chosen to not get vaccinated. Although West Virginia has the lowest vaccination rate in America (41% fully vaccinated), McDowell County is far worse-- just 21.3% are fully vaccinated (28.7% have had at least one jab). This kind of mindset helps explain the low life expectancy, the poverty, the severe drug addiction and the overwhelming support for a NYC conman.
Back to 2016 for a moment. You'll never believe what happened on primary day. Bernie was the overwhelming pick of the voters. He beat Hillary 55.5% to 29.9% but he didn't just beat Hillary. Bernie took more votes that day than all 11 Republican candidates combined. Trump won the GOP primary by a landslide (91.5%) but Bernie was the overwhelming pick in McDowell County, almost twice as many votes as Trump!
You want to understand counties across the country that have become the Republican Party base? Watch the 10 and a half minute video above made for The Guardian. One of the people they interviewed was Matt Detch, the 2016 candidate for Congress. He lost to Republican Evan Jenkins 140,741 (67.9%) to 49,708 (24.0%). Detch delivered a hopeful message, but the third district voters weren't buying it. "I know the strength of our economy is on the mind of every West Virginian. While our state’s coal industry is a major job creator, this generation of West Virginians is responsible for preparing for our state’s future. We must create an economy that is diverse and includes coal but provides opportunities to all types of business and makes us competitive in the global market. This starts with developing infrastructure programs that will make us accessible and allow us to compete... It is my belief that West Virginia’s young minds are our state’s greatest resource. We must provide an environment where our children can grow and which will prepare them to compete in a global job market. This starts with empowering and protecting our teachers. It also means that we must develop and support education programs that teach creative thinking and encourage curiosity... West Virginia’s drug pandemic is one that must conquered. It will take a multi-faceted plan that will involve healthcare professionals, law enforcement officers and recovery experts. I will champion and support legislation that curbs abuse of prescription pain medication. I will help give law enforcement officers the tools they need to capture and convict drug dealers. I will also support programs that will help addicts recover with dignity so that they can safely return to being productive members of society."