Skip to content

Articles by Melinda Henneberger

All Articles

  • Race mattered in the W.Va. primary, but will it keep mattering?

    This is the second in a series of dispatches from Melinda Henneberger, who's talking to voters around the U.S. about their views on the election.

    Charleston, W.Va. -- According to the exit polls, I was hanging out with a bunch of racially challenged Hillary supporters at last night's victory party here.

    One in five West Virginia voters fessed up that race was an important factor in their choice of a candidate –- and they didn't mean they saw Obama's diverse heritage as a positive. How do we know that? Because of those who walked right up to pollsters and said out loud that race was the elephant in their donkey-party living room, 81 percent voted for Clinton. Not only that, but 7 percent of West Virginia voters went for John Edwards –- who ended his run decades ago, as measured in political time –- but was the only white dude still on the ballot. What does that tell us? Nothing we want to hear.

  • Talking with voters in the Mountain State

    This is the first in a series of dispatches from Melinda Henneberger, who's talking to voters around the U.S. about their views on the environment and the election.

    Photo: Wignut via Flickr
    Photo: Wignut

    Huntington, W.Va. -- Door-knocking for Barack Obama in a state where he expects to get stomped today has been kind of thankless for Pam Wonnell, a nurse and old friend of mine who moved here from Illinois last year for her husband's job in coal mining: "I am not feeling the love" while phone canvassing or standing on front porches watching the people inside pretend not to be home. "But I'm not quitting, 'cause I'm a fighter, like Hillary," she says, and laughs at her own joke. "Isn't that Hillary-ous?"

    Canvassing with her in her hilly, aerobically "butt-busting" neighborhood on the eve of the Democratic primary, though, one surprise is the can't-wait-for-November enthusiasm for Obama among ... Republicans? Hmm. Another is that even -- or perhaps especially -- in this coal-mining state, where billboards along I-64 scream, "Yes, Coal" and "Coal Keeps the Lights On," voters say they want to hear candidates talk more about the environment, not less.