Virginia is one of the so-called “swing” or “battleground” states in the 2016 presidential election. Voters there could decide whether Republican Donald Trump or Democrat Hillary Clinton becomes president.
The town of Leesburg, Virginia holds many memories of the past. In many places, it looks like the Virginia that voted for many years for Republicans in presidential elections.
But Virginia is changing. Democratic candidates for president know that it is no longer a state Republican presidential candidates know they will win.
Craig Green is a Clinton supporter.
Green is a Democratic activist in Loudoun County. Loudoun County is a part of northern Virginia that has changed due to the growth of the high-tech industry and a rise in the number of foreign skilled workers.
Green says the changing demographics will help Democrats and hurt Republicans.
“I went canvassing this weekend, and pretty much universally it was, ‘Oh, that Trump guy, there is no way I could vote for him.’”
From 1968 to 2004, the county voted for Republican presidential candidates. But in 2008 and 2012, Barack Obama won Virginia with the help of Loudoun County.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 15 percent of the county’s population is Asian. Green notes many African, Indian and Chinese families also live in the county.
Sri Amudhanar is a software engineer. He is a Democrat and a Clinton supporter. He came to the United States almost 30 years ago. He says the county’s growing immigrant population is affecting the politics of Virginia.
“They take an oath of citizenship when they become Americans, and that's a very solemn process. It's a very moving process, and we have all gone through that, and that binds us to America very, very strongly and to its values, and one of the values is that everybody is really equal.”
Even though the state’s demographics are changing, Donald Trump is working hard to win in Virginia.
Leesburg restaurant owner Bryan Crosswhite is a Trump supporter.
“He resonates because he's a straight-talker. He speaks the truth whether you like it or not. He’s going to tell you what he thinks.”
More than 150 years ago Virginia was the site of many battles during the Civil War. Today, it is a different kind of battleground. The state is changing, and an increasingly diverse population is writing a new chapter in America's story.
I’m Jonathan Evans.
VOA National Political Correspondent Jim Malone reported this story from Washington. Christopher Jones-Cruise adapted it into VOA Special English. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.
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Words in This Story
canvass - v.
universally - adv. done or experienced by everyone
oath - n. a formal and serious promise to tell the truth or to do something
solemn - adj. very serious or formal in manner, behavior, or expression
bind - v. to cause (people) to be joined together closely
resonate - v. to have particular meaning or importance for someone
diverse - adj. made up of people or things that are different from each other