May 31, 2017

Robeson County: America’s most racially diverse rural county goes for Trump

Robeson County is one of America’s most interesting places. It’s the country’s most racially diverse rural county: roughly 38 percent American Indian, 33 percent white and 25 percent black. It is also one of North Carolina’s poorest and most violent counties.

That poverty is evident in the shuttered factories and abandoned manufacturing plants Jordan and Daniel Allott saw along Interstate 95 as they approached Lumberton, the county seat, on a recent visit.

Robeson County is traditionally Democratic, with registered Democrats outnumbering registered Republicans 2 to 1. Until last November, the county hadn’t voted for a Republican for president since 1972 or for a Republican state senator since Reconstruction after the Civil War.

But Republicans in Robeson County won up and down the ballot last November. An easy explanation of Robeson County’s transition from blue to red focuses on economic stagnation and cultural despair.

But from another vantage point, one the Allott brothers captured during a recent visit to the county, Trump’s 5-point victory had more to do with his ability tap into the same desire for hope and change that Obama retained in an 18- point victory four years earlier.

This video was originally featured as a part of the Washington Examiner’s series The Race to 2020: The people and places that will define a presidency. You can read more about Robeson County, see more videos, or use the form below to get email updates about future updates.

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