For a long time, thanks to a mindset that viewed businesses as carcasses to be picked, West Virginia was low in investment, and a laggard in job creation. And as a result, West Virginians were 49th in per capita income, league leaders in outmigration, and league leaders in dependence on government.
Democrats got used to it.
Generation after generation of young West Virginians reacted differently. Seeing few opportunities here, they voted with their feet, moving to other states to get jobs. This long, steady brain drain now poses an economic problem for the state itself.
The majority party was glacially slow to react, although, at long last, the party has started to try to turn this destroyer of jobs.
One way for Democrats to read the election results is: Review your relationships with your allies. Fix hostile policies. Send unmistakable, even dramatic, messages that West Virginia has changed.
It's easy to forget when you're comfortable, but the most important political alliance of all is with voters.
State government should be about how well West Virginians are doing.
Not well enough to satisfy them, apparently.