The George Wallace Vote

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 2 2012 9:41 AM

The George Wallace Vote

ELKO, Nev. -- I landed at Salt Lake City's airport in the afternoon and jumped in a car rented by Garrett Quinn, a stringer for Reason. He'd been to Elko several times, enough to pick out haunts and favorite eating spots. First on the list: BJ Bull Bakery, a Cornish pastie shop, specializing in hot, affordable pies ("a meal in every one") and home-made sauce. We stood in line behind a family ordering nearly $50 worth of $3.50 pasties, the order barked out by a father who talked exclusively in radio jargon.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

"You want two chicken and rice?" asked Paul Dunbar, the owner, taking orders in an apron.

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"Affirmative," said the dad. "Where are the rhubarb pies?"

"They're right here for you."

"Roger that."

The family gathered their wares, and started to head back home to Sacramento, six or seven hours away. They'd gotten hooked when Dunbar's shop was in the Bay Area. Why'd he move?

"Too many liberals. Too many laws," he explained. "And it only made sense to move to a mining town. That's where you need pasties."

So was Dunbar a conservative? Would he caucus on Saturday? He let out a loud stage laugh at the stupid question.

"I don't know -- they all do such a great job! Ha, ha! They're why the country's in such great shape. Ha, ha!" He couldn't stand any of the candidates, not even Ron Paul. "He's going to divide people so Obama can win." Paul and Romney would both be campaigning here in the next 48 hours. He'd skip 'em both.

"They shot the last one I would have voted for."

Who was that?

"George Wallace! Him and Curtis LeMay. Like George Wallace said, there ain't a dime's worth of difference between the parties."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.