On the one hand, this article and takes from @yfreemark and others are very correct, and it's a trend I wish had been better recognized before.

But there's some technological fatalism here that doesn't recognize how Democratic strategies have helped create this alignment.
So let's start with one thing. This isn't about "coasts vs. heartland," or "economic anxiety," or any other dumb thing.

It has to do with Democratic strategists obsessed with an insanely simplistic and myopic view of the electorate and microtargetting subpopulations.
The geography to this is that the media outlets which most strongly shape political narratives are based in DC and New York, and smaller outlets with smaller budgets increasingly rely on syndicated columnists either based there or edited by them.

Nothing against DC or NY....
...but there are very strong forces which shape political lenses there which make it hard to see nuance between former coal country in WV and newer boomtowns like Birmingham, AL The predominant narratives flatten this all into "Trump Country."
When, in fact, the economic, social, demographic, and development concerns of those two places alone are extremely different.

But views from DC-based consultants (and I'm generalizing here but with a LOT of examples to draw from) flattens those two, infuriatingly.
Anyone who lives there could tell you about the enormous differences between, say, the Virginia towns of Petersburg, Harrisonburg, Floyd, and Wise. The view from the capital will see these all as small southern towns with economic concerns.
The actual politics of each are radically different -- there is literally no pair of those four towns where the same message will resonate the same way. Flattening them with demographic and economic data leads to a political strategy which sounds stupid and tone deaf in all four.
Petersburg's concerns can basically be all traced back to white flight, disinvestment, and structural racism. It sits right across the river from a wealthy and prosperous county whose population exploded after school integration.
Harrisonburg is under transition from a hub of commerce, banking, retail, small manufacturing, and finance in a rich agricultural region with close access to the DC area. Its economy is shifting towards its strong higher education sector, health care, and tourism.
Floyd is a very small mountain town which formerly relied on timber and tobacco as major sources of regional income. It's changing over to rely on tourism and in-migration from a kind of formerly urban, artsy type, which creates concerns about cultural loss.
Wise is actual Appalachian coal country, but where coal has almost disappeared entirely. People don't want coal back, they want the kind of high security, strong income jobs that coal brought. (Just read Elizabeth Catte's book on this.)
In all four of these places, there are strong constituencies to which sensible, responsive Democratic candidates can relate. But the Warner/McAuliffe model of NoVa-related centrist, while it wins at the state level, fails horribly there.

And that's a big problem.
Now a sensible class of Democratic consultants would show up, shut up, and listen. But that's not what's happened for the past 20 years.

Instead, they show up and tell people that their local politics and concerns don't matter, then push out commoditized outreach efforts.
Examples: As @elizabethcatte related, a DC-based Dem consultant showed up in the Shenandoah Valley (I think Staunton) and when local people tried to tell him about how their place was unique, he cut them off and said, "it's not unique."
In the 2010 NC Democratic Senate primary, the DC money showed up in force for a candidate few in NC new named Cal Cunningham, the only reason anyone could determine being because he was a veteran with a good looking family. Unimpressed, NC Dems picked Elaine Marshall.
Marshall was no radical but she had been an effective and generally good NC Secretary of State, and was well known in the state.

In a huff, the DC boys took their money and went home, giving no national support to Marshall.
Republicans flooded the state with money, and in the absence of a strong top of ticket, the GOP seized control of the NC legislature and used it to gerrymander a net loss of 4 House Dem seats, engage in widespread vote suppression, and attack NC's longstanding progressive trad,
In the 2012 NC Amendment 1 fight over gay marriage, I volunteered to knock on doors for Protect All NC Families (the pro-gay group). Despite many of us having rather long resumes in local politics, many of the DC-centric staff had us out on the most insane canvassing routes.
Every last other canvasser that I talked to knew, from experience, that our best bets lay in the urban, heavily black districts who are often open to canvassing and in our experience generally receptive to messages of gay inequality.
Instead, I guess because of an internalized "black people hate gay people" message, they had us trying to bother a bunch of suburban white voters *EIGHT TIMES EACH*, which led to us constantly getting doors slammed in our faces.

When I tried to express my concerns to the organizers, they defended the strategy, constantly referring back to their voter roles.

With two days left and much of their rolls untouched, I offered to go through my own neighborhood and help them prioritize.
This is how damned absurd it was. I tried to tell them we don't need to bother either Paul or Theo Luebke (the late progressive NC House icon and his political mover and shaker son).

Like literally, we had scarce resources, and they were being deployed so ineffectively I started to wonder if the staffers were conservative moles.

Most were so flamingly gay I can't imagine that being the case, but they completely botched Durham politics.
And let me stress this: they botched it in a way which consistently played to white voters and de-emphasized black voters. (And one of the staffers who was the biggest brick wall for my arguments was black.)
My guess is if you talk to people who volunteered for Joel Ossoff or others you'd hear the same story. Huge emphasis on data, no capacity to organize volunteers effectively and listen to their experiences.

In other words, situated urban knowledges misunderstanding local context.
And if you consistently, repeatedly fail to understand politics in certain regions, your vote totals in those regions are going to keep going down and down and down and down to the point that it sinks you as a national party.

And that's where we are now.
*gay equality. Or the problem of gay inequality.

Y'all know what I mean, but just...
(but no really let's have another round of articles lecturing rural people that "coal mining jobs aren't coming back" because that's totally going to turn this around....)
Erm, wow, that hit bigger than I thought it would.

Um, this is where I say please support @democracync and @UniteThePoor I guess? Also get involved in your local IAF affiliate if they're near you! Also #BLM and #ReuniteTheFamilies.
A disclaimer --

This thread was written "from the hip," and while I'm reasonably certain about geographic facts presented here, all were from memory and I didn't check them b/c it was just a rant. Please verify before spreading too far.

I can vouch for the anecdotes, though.

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