Magazine November 1, 2010, Issue

Rust Belt Revival

Broken windows at an abandoned manufacturing plant in Detroit (Eric Thayer/Reuters)
A GOP tide is surging through the Great Lakes region

Call them Reagan-Hillary Democrats. That label may sound awkward, but it provides a useful description of the working-class whites who helped the Gipper secure a pair of landslides in the 1980s and then propelled Clinton to a series of primary victories in 2008. While these voters represent a declining share of the national electorate, they are heavily concentrated in the Rust Belt — the blue-collar manufacturing region centered around the Great Lakes. It’s a region where Republicans got absolutely clobbered in the last two election cycles. This year, however, the GOP has experienced something of a Rust Belt revival, which

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