National Affairs: Tough Testing Ground

In the presidential year of 1960, bagpipe-shaped West Virginia (pop. 1,976,000) is a political enigma. Through the generations between the Civil War (when West Virginia was amputated from Virginia) and the great Depression, the mountainous state was usually a Republican fastness. After 1928 it was Democratic—until 1956, when thousands of registered Democrats switched allegiance, and Dwight Eisenhower carried West Virginia back into Republican ranks. How West Virginia will vote at any given time is anybody's guess, and it is in that battleground state that Democratic Candidates Hubert Humphrey and John F. Kennedy...

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