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Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-N.Y.) stoops to chat during a visit to a one-room schoolhouse on Feb. 13, 1968, during a two-day tour of eastern Kentucky's poverty pockets. Photo: Bettmann Archive

Starting in 2004, Appalachian counties filled with Kennedy Democrats began to shift Republican during presidential races. "And in 2016, Donald Trump carried each with 70% to 80% of the vote," USA Today's Rick Hampson writes from Barwick, Kentucky.

Why it matters: "What was Kennedy country is Trump country. Children of Kennedy Democrats are Trump Republicans."

RFK's visit to Appalachia — 50 years ago:

  • "The line of big cars pulled up outside the one-room schoolhouse, which had a potbelly stove for heat and an outhouse in back,"
  • "The senator burst in the door, followed by a pack of politicians, aides and journalists."
  • "Robert F. Kennedy had come to learn about rural poverty. Instead, his arrival petrified the students, who sat riveted to their ancient desks with their heads down, afraid to even look at the great man and his entourage."
  • "Instead of making a speech for the media, Kennedy moved quietly among the students, stopping to reassure them. He’d squeeze a hand, murmur in an ear. 'What did you have to eat today?' he asked one girl. 'I know you’re scared,' he told a boy, 'but it’s gonna be all right.'"
  • "For two days, he met people as poor and isolated as he was rich and famous."
  • "That was 50 years ago — Feb. 13, 1968. Bobby Kennedy was a month from declaring for president and four months from an assassin’s bullet."

Go deeper

Updated 4 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan tributes flood in for "giant of the Senate" Bob Dole

Then-Vice President Joe Biden and former Sen. Bob Dole at an event put on by the World Food Program where he was awarded the first “McGovern-Dole Leadership Award” in December 2013. Photo: Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call

Republican and Democratic politicians, including former Senate colleagues, are sharing condolences and memories commemorating the life of Bob Dole, who passed away at 98 on Sunday morning.

The big picture: Dole, the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, was the longest serving Republican leader in the Senate until 2018, when current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell surpassed his record.

Former Sen. Bob Dole dies

Former Sen. Bob Dole in 2019. Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

Former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole passed away Sunday morning at the age of 98, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation announced in a statement.

Driving the news: Dole, a revered figure in U.S. politics and the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, served in the Senate for 27 years, including 11 years as GOP leader. Earlier this year he revealed he had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer.

Movie theaters go out of style

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Vaccination rates are going up, people are going out to restaurants again — although the new COVID variant may get in the way — but they still aren't rushing back to the movies.

By the numbers: Some 49% of pre-pandemic moviegoers are no longer hitting theaters, according to a study from the film research company The Quorum, as reported by the New York Times.

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