America went to bed Tuesday night not knowing who won the presidential election. Woke up this morning still not knowing.
At least some of you got to sleep. Those of us in the news biz were up all night updating our stories, websites and finishing up photos.
In Floyd County, things went smooth with no real surprises. Donald Trump won the county but lost Virginia’s 13 electoral votes because most who cast ballots went for Biden.
Montgomery County went for Biden. So did Radford. Some blame the existence of Virginia Tech and Radford University for that, although most students vote absentee in their hometowns.
Exit polls show a weakening of Trump’s base of white voters without college degrees. Support from that group dropped by five percent but Trump’s showing in Floyd County rose with a record voter turnout.
Sen. Mark Warner lost the county but won Virginia overall. That’s what matters to a U.S. Senator. Like it or not, Virginia is now solid blue and no longer considered a battleground state. Democrats are in charge and with the demographics of the Old Dominion becoming less and less lily-white and conservative, that is not likely to change anytime soon.
According to the U.S. Census Statistical Abstract, Floyd County population of 15,749 residents are 95.5 percent white, three percent Hispanic and two percent African-American.
Politically, the county is heavily Republican and conservative. Fundamentalists and evangelicals dominate the area’s religions. Less than a quarter of adults in the county have a college degree.
Which makes this part of the Old Dominion fertile ground for Trump.
This, however, can and probably will change.
A quarter of Floyd County’s population is over 65. Newcomers to the county are often more liberal and progressive. The once all-Republican board of supervisors now has two “independents.”
Changes are coming, slowly perhaps, but necessary. Gays, transgenders live among us as friends. Like so many areas of the country, we have too much hate from a loud minority.
More and more see religion as a personal faith and not as a tool to promote bigotry and intolerance. Those who stick to the old fire and brimstone days find themselves preaching to smaller congregations.
Some of us lose patience are frustrated by resistance, but change will come. We may not see it completed, but perhaps our children will.
The future is theirs, not ours.