When I was growing up in McDowell County, WV, deep in the mountains, my father and his two brothers may have been the only Republicans in our little town of Anawalt. The governor, all the Congress members and two Senators and most local officials were Democrats.
West Virginia was deep-Blue back before we were using that description for Republicans and Democrats.
When I was 13 years old, Jack Kennedy won West Virginia by 53% of the vote--in a state that was, perhaps, 5% Roman Catholic. Democrats before and after him won by more than that.
But He-who-will-not-be-named here, won WV in 2016 by 68% and this year by 69%.
How did things change so much in my lifetime?
First of all, most of rural WV is 'coal country' and even when it became clear, 20 some years ago, that coal--especially the 'soft', bitumonous coal of most of WV--was on it's way out, people didn't want to face it.
The current president ran on 'bringing back coal' and he didn't--couldn't, if we're honest about it.
My county had over 100,000 residents when I was in high school. The last census, it had 27,000.
Can you imagine that? The death of coal took 3 of 4 people away.
Democrats have urged coal miners to find training for other jobs. The current president said he'd make coal great again. Yet they voted for him.
Those voting for Democrats in my childhood may have been as myopic as those voting for Republicans now.
But, oh my goodness, how things can change!