POLITICS

The Nation: Racism explains why Pennsylvania is a swing state

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Sean Higgins

Even if you are not a leftist, the Nation is often worth reading because it has some … interesting reporting. Take, for example, this story from last week’s issue about Working America, an AFL-CIO-affiliated group that does grassroots organizing with non-union blue-collar workers. Deep in the lengthy piece is this analysis of why Pennsylvania, despite being a generally a “blue state,” is still a battleground in general elections. (And, yes, we censored a word in this block quote.):

Western Pennsylvania includes several of the handful of counties in the nation that supported both John Kerry for president in 2004 and John McCain in 2008. Two elected officials offered me an innocuous explanation: Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, is the widow of a former Pennsylvania senator. But most locals said the difference was race. Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, a Harvard researcher, found evidence to back them up. He compared the Kerry-Obama vote differential in various regions of the country with the frequency of Google searches using the word “[n----r].” “On the scale of social science,” Stephens-Davidowitz told me, “this was a very, very strong correlation.”

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