AP - Mike Kirk leans across the counter of the pawnshop where he works for $11 an hour. It's less than half what he made in the mines, but the best he can do these days.
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Many of the storefronts on the narrow downtown streets are empty. Some of the buildings burned. Their blackened shells, "condemned" signs taped to the doors, stand as a symbol of how far they've fallen.
In 10 years? A ghost town, one customer offers. Another wonders if it might simply cease to exist.
There are places like this across America — poor and getting poorer, feeling left behind while the rest got richer. But nowhere has the plummet of the white working class been as merciless as here in central Appalachia. And nowhere have the cross-currents of desperation and boiling resentment that have devoured a presidential race been on such glaring display.
It used to be that young people could finish high school and get a job in the mines that paid enough to feed their families. Now the mines are idle. Families are fleeing.
The population of Logan County is 35,000, half what it was 50 years ago. More than 96 percent of residents are white; one in five lives in poverty. Few have college degrees. Drug abuse is rampant. The life expectancy for men is 68 years, eight years shorter than the average American man.
"Look around, this town went to hell," said Kirk, who lost his $28-an-hour job on a strip mine and his three-bedroom house with a two-car garage.
The unemployment rate is 11 percent, compared to less than 5 percent nationwide. West Virginia is the only state where less than half of working-aged people work.
Anxiety turned to despair, said James Branscome, a retired managing director of Standard & Poor's. And desperate people, throughout history, have turned to tough-talking populists.
And that is how, in one of America's forgotten corners, the road was perfectly paved for the ascent of Donald Trump. He won by spectacular margins across the coalfields.
"He offers us hope," Kirk said, "and hope's the one thing we have left."
Daniel Cox, the research director for the non-profit Public Religion
Research Institute, said an uneven recovery from the recession lined up with societal shifts — the election of the first non-white president and a rising minority population. It left many in struggling, blue-collar communities feeling deserted for the sake of progress someplace else.
"When confidence falls, it's all too complicated to understand an elaborate plan or an articulated policy," Atwater said. "We don't want to wait for the details; we don't want to read the footnotes. Just give me a powerful headline."
His critics warn that his red-blooded, racially tinged rants threaten to unravel the fabric of the nation. Here, the same words translate as truth-telling.
A think tank called the Economic Innovation Group created the Distressed Communities Index , which combines several factors for every county — poverty rate, the percentage of people without a college degree, the number of abandoned homes.
The most distressed patches stretch through Appalachia and across the South. Trump won in rich places and poor places and places in between. But an analysis shows that Trump's strongest support increased along with the level of economic hardship.
In Buchanan County, Virginia, a quarter of people live in poverty and one in five live on disability. In March, 70 percent of primary voters supported Trump.
"Maybe part of it is his ego," said Gerald Arrington, Buchanan County's 37-year-old prosecutor. He voted for Trump. "His ego is going to make him want to be the greatest president ever."
Albert Adams and a friend quit their jobs after decades in the mines and opened up Big Al's Auto and Small Engine Repair in Logan to try to build a life after coal.
They hung a "Make America Great Again" sign over the coffee maker.
Adams doesn't like everything Trump has to say. He imagines immigrants are a lot like West Virginians: doomed by the place of their birth to be down on their luck, looking for a better life.
His conundrum is echoed all over these mountains. People like Trump's rat-a-tat-tat of promises and insults so unscripted they figure he couldn't have given it enough forethought to be pandering. Yet they're occasionally disturbed by the contents.
Adams' business partner, Leslie Arthur, isn't sure Trump should be trusted with the nuclear codes. Mike Honaker, who runs the funeral home, doesn't appreciate how he talks about women.
But they're willing to forgive because they believe the political machine left them with no other option.
Coal is all but gone, Adams knows. There are no factories, no infrastructure to build any and no companies that want to relocate here.
They knew opening this shop was a gamble. Maybe they'll stay afloat, maybe they won't. Maybe Trump can fix it. Maybe it can't be fixed.
Sometimes Adams thinks of packing it all up and moving himself. He figures he'd head west, where the coal seams still run thick.