Fayette County’s political history is typical of West Virginia as a whole. The county leaned Democratic during the Third Party System before the power of industrial and mining political systems turned it strongly towards the Republican Party between 1880 and 1930. Between the 1884 and 1928 elections, the county did not vote Democratic except when the Republican Party was divided in 1912.  Unionization of its predominant coal mining workforce during the New Deal made the county powerfully Democratic between 1935 and 2005: no Republican in this period except Richard Nixon against the strongly leftist George McGovern won forty percent of the county’s vote, and Lyndon Johnson in 1964 exceeded eighty percent against the free-market Barry Goldwater . However, the decline of mining unions and the out-migration of historical black mining families,  has produced a rapid swing to the Republican Party – so that over the past three presidential elections swings to the Republican Party have averaged thirty percentage points and Democratic vote percentages plummeted to levels historically more typical of Unionist, traditionally Republican counties like Morgan or Upshur .
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