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Sunday, June 18, 2017

An Insight That Most Miss

This morning I read a column by Selena Zito in the New York Post that ought to be required reading in Washington and in the newsrooms across America.  Zito discusses the opening of a new coal mine in Pennsylvania and what that means for the local community.  Simply put, the new mine is a major engine of economic growth for the area which has been under economic decline for decades.  The only comments from our nation's capital have been cheers from President Trump and complaints from liberal Democrats.  Coal is outmoded as a source of energy has been their cry.  Of course, the problem is that the coal which will be obtained from the new mine is intended to be used for steel-making, an endeavor that still requires coal.  The Democrats are so quick to condemn the mine on ecological grounds that they don't even bother to find out the details of what the mine actually is.  Their simple equation is written like this:  "COAL = BAD".

I grew up in Pennsylvania.  One thing was a given in the politics of the Keystone State; it was that miners and mining communities would vote for the Democrats no matter who they ran.  This changed briefly at times, and it changed in a major way when Ronald Reagan ran in the 1980s.  Since then, however, the Democrats still had a majority of the miners supporting them until the last decade.  The Obama attack on coal mining started a trickle of Democrat support which grew into an avalanche after Hillary Clinton admitted that she would put the coal miners out of work in one of her worst lines of 2016.  To win in Pennsylvania, the Democrats have to get back the support of the miners and mining communities.  The anti-coal outbursts that came in response to the new mine opening is likely to push even more people over to the Republicans and to President Trump in particular.

It's not often that you can watch a party throw away its chances in a vital swing state like Pennsylvania (as well as in Ohio and West Virginia).  It seems that 2016 did not teach the Democrats anything.

I strongly recommend reading Zito's column.  The link is in the first line of this post.

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