John McCain won all but one of Southwest Virginia’s counties. Barack Obama pulled out a narrow victory in Montgomery. In Floyd County, Obama pulled 39.02 percent while McCain received 59.01. The third party candidates and assorted fruitcakes got the rest.
In the Senate race, Democrat Mark Warner pulled down 62.48 percent in Floyd County while Democrat Rick Boucher, running unopposed, tallied 97.93 percent (2.07 percent wrote in other names). Some exit polls showed three quarters of white voters in Southwestern Virginia voted for Democrat Warner and Republican McCain and half of those admitted that race was a factor.
Hmmmm. Democrats carried two of three races in the county, along with most of Southwestern Virginia. But a black Democrat who swept most of the rest of the nation couldn’t beat an absent-minded old man saddled with the albatross of George W. Bush’s failed policies and a nut case governor from Alaska.
Some will, of course, claim their vote for McCain was all about the man and his policies and had nothing to do with the color of Obama’s skin.
I’m sure a number of voters made their decision based on policy or philosophy and note race but too much hate preceded this election season in the mountains of Southwestern Virginia, much of it emanating from the bowels of the rabid right, the pulpits of the ignorant and the armpits of white supremacy. This, unfortunately, is a bastion of fear mongering with unsubstantiated claims that homosexuality is a sin, marriage must ony be between men and women and abortion is murder.
While some may have had honest policy differences with Obama, I believe too many voters in on the Southwestern part of the Old Dominion voted their fears, their stereotypes and their bigotry on Election Day. Too much hate flowed out of this part of the Commonwealth in this election, from the disgusting emails spread by the anti-Obama extremists, the invective-filled last-minute ad by the "Republican Trust" that dominated TV ads in the final weekend, the racist diatribe of longtime GOP activist Billy May to the anti-Muslim ravings of Virgil Goode. Let’s remember that Southwestern Virginia voted overwhemingly for the racism of former Senator George Allen and the homophobic Marriage Amendment two years ago.
Retiring Virginia Republican Congressman Tom Davis put it best Tuesday when he said the GOP has become "a rural, white political party."
Still, there were signs of hope in the final results. Obama got almost 40 percent in Floyd County. That’s progress, but we still have a long road before racism is a historical footnote and not a sad reality of modern life.