POLITICS
08/10/2016 06:26 pm ET Updated Aug 10, 2016

West Virginia And Virginia Are Not The Same State

There are 50 states. Virginia is one. West Virginia is another. Are you listening Donald Trump?

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump kicked off a rally in Abingdon, Virginia, on Wednesday by describing how well he did in the West Virginia primary.

Throughout the rally, he mentioned both Virginia and West Virginia:

To be totally, completely, 100 percent clear for anyone who might not know: Virginia and West Virginia are not the same state. Virginia became a state on June 25, 1788. West Virginia split from Virginia during the Civil War and became the 35th state on June 20, 1863.

See here, a map showing the outlines of two different places:

Your eyes aren't playing tricks on you -- those are two different states.
belterz via Getty Images
Your eyes aren't playing tricks on you -- those are two different states.

Trump was speaking at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center ― his first clue he was not in West Virginia. Granted, he was speaking to a group of coal miners, and West Virginia is known for its mining, so he could have been trying to make a connection. But it was a weak one, if so.

Compared to the rest of the racist, xenophobic things Trump says, this is hardly a big deal. It’s nothing compared to his statements that implied he wanted someone to shoot Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, or his proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States.

But this explainer was a long time coming. Trump is hardly the first to mix up West Virginia and Virginia ― it’s sadly a common occurrence.

As a native West Virginian, I regularly receive questions about how close my hometown is to Roanoke. (It’s 168 miles away, across the state line.)

Sportscasters regularly mix up the states during games for West Virginia University, Marshall University or other schools in the Mountain State. Shirts have been made to clear up the confusion, like this one worn by actor Ryan Dorsey, a native West Virginian:

Game day !!! Let's goooo #mountaineernation ! #WVU

A photo posted by dorseyryan (@dorseyryan) on

Many West Virginians encounter others on a daily basis who could use some clarification on the whole 50-state situation: 

Musician John Denver even sang a whole song about West Virginia:

Like Denver says, “life is old there, older than the trees, younger than the mountains” ― and younger than Virginia.

Spread the word: West Virginia is a state.

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liarrampant xenophoberacistmisogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims ― 1.6 billion members of an entire religion ― from entering the U.S.

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