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Expand chart
Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Senators representing West Virginia — one of the smallest, whitest and most pro-Trump states in the country — have been holding a Democratic-controlled Senate, House and White House from knocking out big agenda items.

What's happening: Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) failed to reach an infrastructure deal with President Biden. And Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has consistently refused to support several of his party’s initiatives, such as voting rights legislation.

Why it matters: In a representative democracy, lawmakers rightfully represent the interests of their constituents. But the raw demographics of West Virginia differ from those of the rest of the country affected by Capito and Manchin's actions.

  • The state has experienced the fastest rate of population decline in the nation, according to census data.
  • It looks completely different than the rest of the U.S.: 92% of the population is non-Hispanic white, making it the third-whitest state in a rapidly diversifying country.
  • It also has the lowest percentage of people with a bachelor's degree or higher, and was the state that had the second-highest margin in favor of Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

Go deeper

Sep 15, 2021 - Health

Pandemic didn't lead to spike in uninsured

Expand chart
Data: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Roughly 8.6% of Americans didn't have health insurance in 2020, a figure that has stayed consistent since 2018, according to the latest U.S. Census Bureau data.

Why it matters: Government assistance, in the form of beefed-up Medicaid eligibility and heavily subsidized plans in the Affordable Care Act markets, kept people insured despite the pandemic-fueled recession.

Arkansas set to redraw voting maps this month

Expand chart
Map: Axios Visuals

There's not much that's less sexy than redrawing congressional maps following the census, the process commonly called redistricting.

  • But it's a necessary and important part of our democratic process.

What's happening: State lawmakers will reconvene Sept. 29, which is an extension of their regular session. The plan is to redraw boundaries for Arkansas' four congressional districts.

Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers

President Biden speaking from Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 21. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal workers on Friday, citing the outcome of last week's Supreme Court ruling that nullified the administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

Why it matters: It's a blow to President Biden's efforts to increase the U.S.' vaccination rates, though much of the federal workforce has already been vaccinated against the virus.