For White Working Class, Obama Rises on Empty Wallets

It once seemed potent enough to cost Obama the election. But as the economy falters, race is receding. A battleground report

Greg Miller for TIME

Lincoln County, Mo., a fast-growing exurb northwest of St. Louis, is one of a handful of U.S. counties that always vote for the winning candidate in presidential elections. This perfect record goes back more than a half-century. And it explains why I recently set out for that oracle county, traveling across the middle of bellwether Missouri to ask how the ultimate swing voters — the white working class — are looking at this year's decision.

I followed a cord of suburban and rural communities that connects the urban Democratic strongholds of Kansas City and St. Louis. After stops...

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