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You Are the Sucker, Appalachian Edition

[ 358 ] March 20, 2017 |

coal_export

Getting it good and hard:

During the campaign, Donald Trump billed himself as the “last shot” for coal country. He alone could save regions like Appalachia that had long suffered from poverty and dwindling coal jobs. And voters in West Virginia and eastern Kentucky believed him — choosing Trump over Hillary Clinton by wide, wide margins.

So it’s striking that President Trump’s first budget proposal would slash and burn several key programs aimed at promoting economic development in coal regions — most notably, the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Economic Development Administration. In recent years, these programs have focused on aiding communities that have been left behind as mining jobs vanished.

Even some of Trump’s staunchest allies were livid at the proposed cuts. “I am disappointed that many of the reductions and eliminations proposed in the President’s skinny budget are draconian, careless and counterproductive,” said Rep. Hal Rogers, a senior House Republican from a key coal-mining district in southeastern Kentucky.

So what gives? It’s possible Trump just didn’t put much thought into these reductions — and didn’t realize (or didn’t care) that he was backhanding his biggest supporters. Or it’s possible Trump genuinely believes he’s going to bring back coal jobs in Appalachia, as he’s promised, and hence figured there’s no need for all those other government programs.

Except Trump can’t bring back all the mining jobs that have disappeared over the past 30 years — it’s just not feasible. That’s a promise he won’t keep. And now he’s cutting the region’s safety net, too.

A lot of people are going to suffer because Republicans systematically lied to voters that believed them.

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Comments (358)

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  1. Juicy_Joel says:

    Good. Fuck them.

    • Barry Freed says:

      No. Fuck you.

      We need their votes come 2018 and 2020.

      • Derelict says:

        The problem is that these voters have to be well and truly screwed by Republicans, and screwed in ways that make it obvious that the voters’ problems are a direct and intended result of Republican policies and philosophies.

        Getting these voters to understand that may not be possible, however. I have heard people bemoaning the way Democrats molly-coddle drug users by wanting to pay for substance abuse treatment programs, and within a sentence or two complain that nobody is doing anything to help communities trying to cope with opiate addiction.

        • UnderTheSun says:

          The problem is that these voters have to be well and truly screwed by Republicans, and screwed in ways that make it obvious that the voters’ problems are a direct and intended result of Republican policies and philosophies.

          Which is what Trump is doing right now. Maybe Trump really is as suggested elsewhere a revolutionary. Trash the Republicans and then deliver what the Democrats have never wanted to deliver such as universal health care to trash the Democrats. We shall see.

          • Burning_River says:

            To take this view gives Trump credit for a kind of forethought that he has never, in his life, shown any signs of.

            Or, you just forgot your sarcasm font.

          • brad says:

            Yes, he’ll trash his party by signing bills enacting their agenda then have them embrace socialism.

            You’re not good at this.

            • Bufflars says:

              This is very similar to the argument that a lot of hard leftists were making before the election. The country needed to elect Trump so that we hit rock bottom and only then would socialism be a realistic option. Not that Trump would usher it in, but somebody would. The argument does not seem any more convincing now than it did then, however.

          • MAJeff says:

            Maybe Trump really is as suggested elsewhere a revolutionary. Trash the Republicans and then deliver what the Democrats have never wanted to deliver such as universal health care to trash the Democrats. We shall see.

            The drug epidemic in action. Put down the meth and go get some sleep. The voices are lying to you.

          • los says:

            UnderTheSun says:

            [Trump will maybe] Trash the Republicans

            Debunked. The pattern has been set.
            Trump is Kushner and Bannon’s puppet. They allow Trump to indulge his Tweetrums.

            Kushner’s interests are largely overseas, thus almost completely untouched by GOPe interests.

            Bannon’s digression from GOPe is limited to:
            1. keeping the neo-Nazis raging (though this is actually Bannon’s job assignment)
            2. likely a large arranged payoff (laundered, etc) for service rendered to the Koch party. Recall that Bannon is a Wall Streeter.

            • los says:

              … and then [Trump] deliver what the Democrats have never wanted to deliver such as universal health care

              ? I’ll agree that 1990s “triangulators” have overstayed. Reaganists were lucky, which forced Democrats to accept Triangulating.
              I think we agree that the MSM is RWNJ or corporatist centrist, and helps lock in Triangulation.

              to trash the Democrats.

              Not even the right claims the right isn’t trashing non-conservatives. (They still deny crushing Trumpcucks – non-wealthy Trump supporters).

              The right continues to destroy representative government, and not by leapfrogging from the right.

              We shall see.

              more of what we see now.

        • los says:

          Whether 2016 Trump voters had previously leaned GOP or not, the GOP knows some will revolt, thus GOP is going all out war on coal state workers to wipe them out – poison them, bury them financially…

      • zoomar says:

        We will not get their votes in 2018 and 2020. For reasons all too well known to everyone here. So yeah, fuck them.

        • MPAVictoria says:

          No Barry is right. Fuck you. Some of these are winnable votes and if the Dems ever want to get back in power they are gonna need them.

          • BiloSagdiyev says:

            Yes, we shouldn’t lose track that it’s not 100% of the people in that region, 100% of the people who voted Trump.

            But as for the 28% that Hold America Hostage who will never be reached? Fuck them!

            • Mike G says:

              This. They’ll have their white supremacy, guns and religion and hatred of liberals to keep them warm as the quality of their lives goes down the drain. And they’ll blame the Democrats anyway because Fox tells them to and their minds don’t work any other way.

          • Derelict says:

            The question always comes back to how do you persuade the unpersuadable? How do we persuade someone who despises Democrats because Democrats are socialists who want to take away everyone’s guns and force everyone to gay marry and then have gay abortions?

            How do we win over someone who rails against government spending on “useless” stuff like substance abuse programs, but is embittered because the government isn’t doing anything to help people with substance abuse problems?

            I am at a loss when dealing with such people face to face. When my friend who is confined to a wheelchair due to severe birth defects starts ranting about how we need to cut back Medicaid, food stamps, LIHEAP, and housing assistance because there’s “too much abuse” in the programs, what can I say to him? The fact that his very existence depends on these programs doesn’t register because he knows the cuts will land on “other people”–the ones who deserve those cuts.

            So, yeah–I’m caught between feeling “Fuck you, you deserve all the misery you’re bringing on yourself” and trying to gently explain that maybe cutting of your nose to spite your neighbor’s face isn’t really a good choice.

            • aturner339 says:

              One approach that may work is a concerted effort to humanize the others. Hard to do in a face to face conversation unless you rope peole into a reading group but I think that all that talk about liberals controlling pop culture and academia might actually be put to good use. Education is about more than technical skill and educating people to be good citizens means getting them to understand the interests they hold in common.

              • Derelict says:

                . . . educating people to be good citizens means getting them to understand the interests they hold in common.

                This, alas, has gone the way of the passenger pigeon. This is why union membership has plummeted, why America as the wealthiest nation on Earth cannot afford even modest investments in infrastructure, why you hear old folks shrieking at school board meetings about why they should pay school taxes because they already educated their kids.

                I think Ronald Reagan really captured and energized this phenomenon when he said, “We are prepared to pay any price, and bear any burden, in pursuit of lower taxes.”

                • aturner339 says:

                  I think it has and this has been a long term project of the reactionary right. Texas school board aside I remember being feed watered down Lost causism as a kid in 90s Alabama.

                  I think liberals municipalities need to be more active in this regard. I’m not saying indoctrinate but certainly present a broader view of America than is common in schools today.

                • guthrie says:

                  And like all conservative politicians, what he meant by “We are prepared to pay…” was “You shall pay, in spades, every day”.

            • Rob in CT says:

              This is probably the right route:

              gently explain that maybe cutting of your nose to spite your neighbor’s face isn’t really a good choice.

              Though there’s something to be said for a harsher intervention, since you’re friends.

              Which route did you take, out of curiosity?

              • Derelict says:

                Him being a friend, I have tried to gently explain. Unhappily for all involved, Trump is providing the harsher intervention.

                What really makes it so much more interesting is that I’ve been telling him for years that Republicans want to take away all of the programs he relies on to survive, but he simply will not believe it. And even now with Trump’s budget in black-and-white before his eyes and Paul Ryan talking gleefully about destroying Medicaid, he’s still saying that no Republican would ever support such a thing.

                • BiloSagdiyev says:

                  Yeah, this drives me nuts. There’s an allegegly pragmatic streak in America that hates ideologues of all types, but when a liberal or leftist points and and describes something awful a Republican is doing, all sorts of politically unaware people just cringe in fear and say, “Oh yeah? Well that’s what you say! You’re one of those political types with an agenda!”

                • Rob in CT says:

                  Yeah, I got nuttin’ either.

                  The leopard face-eating party doesn’t really want to have leopards eat our faces! That’s just a silly caricature…

                • Slothrop2 says:

                  Why do you have friends who are Donald Trump voters? You should burn those bridges.

            • btfjd says:

              You don’t do it primarily to win votes, although of course you hope that happens. You do it because it’s the right thing to do.

              In other words, you go ahead and support your friend who needs Medicaid to live by seeing that he has it. If one day he sees the light, great. If not, it was the right thing to do.

              Or should he just die and decrease the surplus population?

              • Stag Party Palin says:

                the question is, and I don’t have the answer, are you interested in saving your friend or saving millions of people like him? Eliminating him from the voting pool helps the latter.

                • btfjd says:

                  Saving Medicaid, like the rest of the ACA, will help a lot of people, and some of them fit nicely into Hillary’s basket of deplorables. But Obama and the Dems passed it because it was right, and in the long run we believe that good policy will be good politics (though the jury is definitely still out on that!)

                  Also, even deplorables have kids, and they aren’t responsible for their parents’ views. And maybe memories of government help will give those kids a different point of view. Getting Social Security survivor’s benefits may not have made a Democrat out of Paul Ryan, but it damn sure did for me, my little brother, and my mother after my dad died.

                • los says:

                  In short, deplorables saved from very dire predicaments are the deplorables most likely to escape “deplorism”.

              • Derelict says:

                Well, that’s really misinterpreting what I’ve said. How, exactly, do I save my friend’s Medicaid? I’m already in one of the bluest of blue states, with my entire Congressional delegation being Democrats. Should I move to a red state and vote there?

                This: In other words, you go ahead and support your friend who needs Medicaid to live by seeing that he has it. is just so much cavalier bullshit.

      • JKTH says:

        I’ll grant you 2018 for Manchin but we don’t need West Virginia and Kentucky voters in 2020.

        • Abbey Bartlet says:

          I’ll grant you 2018 for Manchin but we don’t need West Virginia and Kentucky voters in 2020.

          And they don’t seem to make much connection between Senate and White House.

          Speaking of Manchin, can we have a post to discuss the ratfucking “Justice Democrats”?

          • Burning_River says:

            I’d like to say they don’t deserve anymore time than this post, because well, they’re awful. However, there’s an appalling nature to people who claim to be Democrats or even progressives that really just seem to want to induce chaos.

          • los says:

            Before deciding to throw out Manchin or similar, look realistically at Manchin (etc) recent election opponents.

            10% Democrat is better than 90% Republican.

      • MAJeff says:

        Votes are one thing, and they’re likely unatainable in most elections.

        But, yeah, voting to harm people is the GOP way.

      • timb says:

        Needlessly aggressive and wrong. Way to go, barry.

        Sans Comey and running almost any other candidate, and the Dems win, maybe take the Senate, etc, just 5 months ago. You don’t need the votes of Appalachian whites who see politics as a zero sum contest between races and urbanites.

      • gmack says:

        Agree with the “fuck you” sentiment. Disagree with the “we need their votes” sentiment.

        I find the “fuck them” attitude toward the people I grew up with to be deeply off-putting. Yes, most, though not all, of the voters in Southern Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky vote for politicians that I find abhorrent. No, I don’t see much chance of convincing them of this, at least not in the short term. But all this means is that we work to prevent those votes from creating abhorrent effects, and we continue to support policies that will help things anyway. And leave the partisan-inspired schadenfreude at home.

        • mongolia says:

          “fuck them” is, for me, shorthand for “kick their asses in elections.” if my side wins, i *want* to help downtrodden people out economically, but it’s really hard to sympathize much with people who view me and my family and friends as a fifth column, and vote the way they do because the politicians they vote for specifically talk about how they want to fuck me and my community over, so…

          when we win, i don’t harbor much ill will. when we lose, my vindictive side comes out

        • ap77 says:

          You know what I find off-putting? People voting for a white supremacist authoritarian lunatic. So, yes, fuck them very much. They are the enemy.

      • ASV says:

        There are far easier and more useful votes to find elsewhere. Even if the 2020 nominee somehow claws their way back to Al Gore’s performance, that means losing Kentucky by 15 and West Virginia by 6, for fewer electoral votes than can be found in either Georgia or North Carolina.

      • zoomar says:

        Sorry, Barry, but Manchin is the best we’re gonna get out of them for the forseeable future. Serious question though, is there a strong progressive subculture to build upon in WV? The way there is in Texas? If so, Dems should make the long term investment there. Just don’t expect useable results for a generation at least. Texas progressivism is robust and growing.

      • Docrailgun says:

        No, fuck them.
        Voting shouldn’t have anything with people’s precious feelings. If they’re going to vote for another GOP trashfire just because some eeeevil libtard called them out on their stupidity then they can go do so again.

  2. ryan.denniston says:

    That picture says it all. Millions in equipment, one worker, that’s your problem. What I don’t get it certainly working in the industry knows that automation and capital investments have changed their working conditions, so they have to have known what Trump promised wasn’t possible beyond the margins. Or have I got it completely wrong?

    • Juicy_Joel says:

      Mountaintop removal mining is ecologically terrible (aside from the coal as fuel issues), and yes, much less labor intensive.

    • BiloSagdiyev says:

      Newt’s innovative, futuristic ideas about child labor can have 9 year olds pushing coal down that ramp with their feet by next Thursday!

    • timb says:

      Automation didn’t destroy coal as much as fracking has. Natural gas is cheaper and better

      • Warren Terra says:

        Automation destroyed coal mining – at its peak, coal production was twice what it had been a generation earlier, with a small fraction of the workforce (20% or less). And automation (and automation-intensive mining styles) have improved since then.

        Fracking, and perhaps some environmental regulation or anticipation of same that discouraged the construction of coal-fired plants, diminished the demand for coal significantly (maybe up to a 25% decrease), but the destruction of the coal miners was earlier, and was down to automation.

  3. anonymous says:

    Trump did not lie to them on things that mattered them. He is deporting people. He is rolling back civil rights. He is building the Wall, etc. etc. etc.

    As long as he delivers on White Supremacism and punching down PoC and as long as the Dems are the Party of PoC, he will continue to get their votes even if they fuck themselves economically and lose their healthcare.

    As George Wallace observed:

    I tried to talk about good roads and good schools and all these things that have been part of my career, and nobody listened. And then I began talking about n****rs, and they stomped the floor.

    • CrunchyFrog says:

      EXACTLY.

      Something else to understand. Whites are rugged individualists, never dependent on government handouts. Government social programs BY DEFINITION are for lazy no good criminal dark-skinned people. ALL of white peoples taxes are wasted lazy Obamaphones and Obamacare while white people have to work hard to get by on their own. As Craig Nelson observed, he was once on food stamps and welfare and NO ONE HELPED HIM unlike those lazy blacks (real quote!).

      Therefore, to the white racist voter there aren’t any white people programs to cut! Because they are so hard working and rugged and individualists.

      I know this doesn’t make any logical sense, but this really is the thinking. People can believe all sorts of fantasies that don’t make sense if you think about it for a few seconds. I mean, consider religion and the “power of prayer”. But right wingers are much more gullible than most on the whole – we’re talking about farmers who on the one hand have deep knowledge about how their growing seasons have dramatically transformed over the past 30 years but on the other hand deny that the earth is warming because their tribe knows that global warming is something evil liberals have invented as any excuse to force everyone to take mass transit or something.

      The other thinking is the “I’m different” thinking. Yes, yes, I have an abortion, but I’m different than all of the sluts who have abortions because my situation was different so I’m still automatically voting for the anti-abortion party. Yes, yes, I had food stamps once – well, quite a bit actually – but I’m different because I was very hard working unlike all of those lazy blahs and white trash in the government office who were there when I was. Yes, yes, my town is 100% dependent on government funds because our only industry is the military base, but we’re different because that’s an essential service needed to fight all of Obama’s Muslim terraists. And thus, people who are heavily dependent on the government programs for their survival rationalize that the programs themselves are still bad and figure that if the program is killed they’ll get by somehow anyway because they are hard working unlike those lazy blahs or something.

      Humans as a species are too stupid to be able to manage the destructive potential of the technologies we have invented, especially in the numbers we have. It’s our fatal flaw that future species will identify as the cause of our extinction.

    • Origami Isopod says:

      and as long as the Dems are the Party of PoC

      Which, of course, you think should change. So fuck you.

  4. Spider-Dan says:

    The idea that Trump isn’t delivering on what he promised only makes sense if you are looking at events from the (false) perspective that Trump won because of appeals to Economic Insecurity.

    Trump voters don’t really care about “economic insecurity”; they care about Trump punishing the undeserving hordes of brown-skinned leeches. And if Trump voters have to endure some pain in the process, they are willing to make that sacrifice.

    For America.

    • busker type says:

      This is certainly true of many, perhaps most, Trump voters, but definitely not all. If I had to guess I’d say the majority get a thrill from the racism, but also actually thought trump would do things to help them economically. More than enough will turn on him for a substantial republican collapse in 2018 and 2020.

      • soapdish says:

        Yes, but they thought it would help them economically by economically punishing PoC.

      • DAS says:

        I’m not so sure Trump’s supporters thought he would actually do anything. The Republican brand is that government doesn’t work, and Trump is a Republican and the people who voted for him were, by and large, Republicans.

        What mattered to them was that Trump was at least saying the right things. Economic development and job retraining are all well and good, but how many people, in middle age, want to sit through classes to train for a new job that, in the end, they might not get … and even if they do get the job, who knows if they can keep it?

        • timb says:

          My wife’s cousin voted for Trump ’cause he was going to make her husband’s health insurance cheaper. That’s right, Donnie was going to make private insurance — directly — cheaper for the white working class

        • JustRuss says:

          Kinda sorta. I believe the thinking is that Trump would get rid of all those pesky environmental and safety regulations, and once that happened coal jobs would come roaring back. Trump will be happy to deliver Step 1, which is of course Republican dogma. Step 2, well, that’s up to the Free Market, if it doesn’t happen just clap harder.

    • GCarty says:

      Given that West Virginia (the exemplar of coal country) seceded from the Confederacy rather than from the Union, I think its people voted for Trump out of anti-environmentalism (note that it was in 2000 when the Democrats lost the state, when Al Gore was their presidential candidate) as well as out of more general anti-metropolitan sentiment (the vast majority of those people still living there are those who are strongly attached to their local communities).

      • busker type says:

        There is a little bit of truth to this… but as a West Virginian myself, let me tell you that your average West Virginian is very very racist. I used to claim that we were not, but the cognitive dissonance started to give me tinnitus.

      • Murc says:

        Let’s get something straight: West Virginia stayed with the Union because they hated those bastard lowland planters. That’s it. That’s the only reason. With regard to race it has never, ever been that different from the rest of the south.

        There’s an old saying about Kentucky that its the only state to have joined the Confederacy after the Civil War. The precise same thing holds true for West Virginia.

        Sure, it stuck with the Democrats for a long time after the Democrats became the party of civil rights and equality. The only thing that proves is that tribalism is a powerful force and political inertia is as well.

        • BigHank53 says:

          Logged in to add an identical comment. What became West Virginia wasn’t any less racist than the rest of Virginia. But everyone there had been kicked off the fertile valley and piedmont land that would support a plantation and make the owners rich. Not only did they resent the fuck out of that, they knew that their only role in the Civil War would be cannon fodder for the planters–who thoughtfully exempted anyone who owned more than thirty slaves from having to serve in the military.

          • busker type says:

            Ethnically, WV is a lot different from the other Virginia. The early settlers included a lot of PA Germans as well as the much celebrated scots-Irish (similar to the Shenandoah valley.) but the real population explosion happened between 1900 and 1920, and it included a lot of immigrants from Italy, Eastern Europe, Italy, Ireland, Italy, the Deep South, Lebanon, Italy and especially Italy. (Also Italy)

        • GCarty says:

          Indiana could probably also be classed as a Confederate johnny-come-lately, given how powerful the KKK was there in the 1920s.

          • timb says:

            Hoosiers are rural and resentful and REALLY, REALLY don’t like African-Americans or Latinos….or so I’ve gathered from my reunions

          • djw says:

            The post-Birth of a Nation KKK 2.0 was a thing across the country, particularly the Midwest. They happened to have the greatest success in Indiana, but it it wasn’t particularly unique among states in the region; Ohio probably had greater membership rates. Hell, they were something of a force in Saskatchewon in the 20’s.

          • Hogan says:

            Politically and culturally, the north bank of the Ohio River isn’t that different from the south bank. There’s a Dixie Belt that runs through southern Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.

        • rea says:

          With regard to race it has never, ever been that different from the rest of the south.

          It’s different in one respect–there are not very many blacks in W Va–3.4% of the population, compared (for example) to 26.2 % in Alabama.

        • busker type says:

          Ehh… yes and no… the power of the UMWA in WV in the mid 20th century meant that we tended to be a few steps ahead of the deep
          South in terms of civil rights.

      • NickFlynn says:

        Sure.

        There’s also plenty of racism too. And sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, etc.

        And generalized dislike of “coastal elites” which is defined around here as “people who once read a book.”

      • Bloix says:

        Being anti-slavery was not AT ALL the same as being in favor of equality. What West Virginians wanted was a white man’s country – free labor without competition from slave labor. The new state’s constitutional convention in December 1861 voted down a resolution requiring emancipation, but it did approve a resolution for “Negro Exclusion” – no black people, slave or free, would be allowed to take up residence.

    • MPAVictoria says:

      “The idea that Trump isn’t delivering on what he promised only makes sense if you are looking at events from the (false) perspective that Trump won because of appeals to Economic Insecurity.

      Trump voters don’t really care about “economic insecurity”; they care about Trump punishing the undeserving hordes of brown-skinned leeches. And if Trump voters have to endure some pain in the process, they are willing to make that sacrifice.”

      This is comforting and simplistic and wrong. People can care about multiple things.

  5. weirdnoise says:

    You think Trump even read “his” budget? I doubt he could even finish “The Pet Goat.”

  6. Trump and Pruitt may think that killing the CPP will at least pay back Murray and the other coal barons, even if it does not restore jobs. But it won’t. New coal plants are too expensive compared to gas, wind and solar, according to well-known hippies Lazards. Increasingly, even existing ones are under threat. The EIA predict a short-term bounce in coal burn from higher gas prices but their forecasts (as opposed to their historical statistics) are always wrong.

    • efgoldman says:

      their forecasts (as opposed to their historical statistics) are always wrong.

      Forecasting the past is really easy.

    • Bufflars says:

      What you said is true, but I think it’s important to point out that the majority of “existing” coal plants are well over 50 years old at this point – well beyond their intended lifetime when they were initially constructed. It can be ceding too much rhetorical ground to frame environmental or other regulations as threatening “even existing” coal facilities since they have all provided plenty of additional ROI for their owners while retaining plenty of the dirty/inefficient 1950s and 1960s technology. (Not that you were necessarily doing that)

  7. Asteroid_Strike_Brexit says:

    To bring back coal jobs (leaving aside the wisdom of that), there would have to be a plan to subsidise coal. The subsidy would either have to be direct, or indirectly in the form of banning or reducing the use of other power sources. Trump had no plan, just like he had no plan to come up with an effective replacement for the ACA or anything else.

    How many times did people say ‘Trump is a conman who is only out for himself’ and were ignored?

    • Cheerfull says:

      I read, somewhere, that the Trump administration is pressing the rest of the signers to the Paris accord to allow countries to work on “clean coal” and carbon capture technologies as their contribution to saving the planet. So I imagine one possibility is shoveling chunks of federal money that would otherwise go to green technology research to the coal companies in their perpetual quest for a way to burn coal cleanly and calling it a coal jobs program. The actual effect on coal jobs slight, the possibilities for corruption substantial, the potential for fooling the remaining coal miners of Appalachia immense.

      • D. C. Sessions says:

        That still wouldn’t make coal cheaper than gas, wind, and solar.

      • Lee Rudolph says:

        Taking a leaf from Keynes’s book, perhaps we could hire people to take the coal harvested (in a worker-light manner) by mountaintop removal and bury it in old subterranean mines, one shovelful at a time. Sequestration, baby!

        • Rob in CT says:

          If we’re willing to do something like that, then what we ought to do is hire a bunch of people to clean up the mess that coal mining leaves behind.

          Of course, the “we” is the evil government, and hiring people to do that is socialism and also hippy environmentalism and [insert more argle-bargle here].

          We should totally do that, though.

          • Rob in CT says:

            Gah, now I’ve lost MY edit button. Before, I was all like IGMFU, but now it affects ME. THIS SHALL NOT STAND. I DEMAND ACTION!

            Ok, what I was going to add to my comment:

            Some of the cleanup work will require particular skills, of course. But not all. Cleaning up toxic waste is one thing. Moving clean fill around is another.

            • witlesschum says:

              Yup. Been watching the cleanups on the Kalamazoo River from its former use a paper mill effluent dumping ground that make it have fish advisories to this day. Some of the people workingt need scientific expertise, but a lot of the people working there to run heavy digging equipment, truck dirty soil here and clean there. Lots of jobs you could do, I’d think, if you have experience running heavy equipment.

              That should be a 50-state effort to cleanup and restore the ecosystem as much as possible to put people to work on jobs that need doing and only the public sector is going to do, but we can certainly start in Appalachia.

            • los says:

              i nowe what yuo ment11!
              I dont have your edit buttin! S TOp your witch hunt11!!

              im wochien yuo naw1!1

               
              Locker op11!
              Ernest T. Blogger

      • Wapiti says:

        Just assuming there is a pot of loose federal money sitting around that could be put to this effort… I think Trump, seeing it, would be loath to give it to the coal people and would instead just schedule a series of Wednesday trips to Merde-a-Lago to hoover it up for himself.

      • Mike G says:

        Bush/Cheney used to pull this BS. There was a couple billion in the budget every year for “clean coal” they would highlight repeatedly as a fig leaf to claim it wasn’t environmentally ruinous.

      • catclub says:

        to allow countries to work on “clean coal” and carbon capture technologies as their contribution to saving the planet.

        Mississippi is leading the way in this with the hugely overbudget Kemper power plant.

    • Warren Terra says:

      Subsidizing coal wouldn’t bring back coal jobs, it would just mean more extensive labor-efficient mechanized coal extraction – mountaintop removal in the Appalachians or more likely whatever they call the enormous operations in Wyoming (which not only employ very few people, they employ none in traditional coal country).

      The coal jobs that are gone are labor-intensive traditional mining. Those are horrible jobs that destroy bodies over time with a constant risk of instead abruptly killing the worker, and frankly it’s probably just as well they’re never coming back. And the subsidies that otherwise would go to coal would be better spent making some sort of fulfilling lives possible for ex-miners. Though no-one’s really found a good one yet …

    • Ronan says:

      Question

      https://mobile.twitter.com/JacquelynGill/status/842485542331846657

      (First person to say because they’re white manly men loses points for lack of originality )

      • Warren Terra says:

        Sure, some of this is about privilege – but a lot of it is also about coal mining being an example of a lost profession, something people with no education did in huge numbers for decent wages (by local standards, and often forgetting why their wages weren’t worse). I don’t know why coal mining is so strongly the symbol of this phenomenon, as versus steelworkers or other options – maybe it’s because our media so thoroughly worships the life of the ignorant rural white male, maybe it’s because the blame for coal’s decline is (wrongly) placed at the door of environmentalists, which makes it easy to tell the story as being about the culture war.

        The fact is that coal production is down in recent years – by as much as a quarter in just the last couple of years, apparently – but it’s still half again what it was in the 1950s (recently twice as much), while employing barely a seventh the number of miners.

        • Ronan says:

          Does it have this much political salience because of the US electoral system (I don’t know know how important appeals to jobs like coal mining are in swing states)?

          • Warren Terra says:

            The only state synonymous with coal mining is West Virginia. Nobody cares about West Virginia – certainly not electorally, but really not much in any other way either.

            I think coal mining was also traditionally important in Kentucky. Kentucky is maybe a little more prominent than West Virginia (though not electorally), but nobody much cares about them either.

            If this were about electoral impact the focus would be on steelworkers. It’s about the culture war.

            • Ronan says:

              Thanks. That all makes sense.

            • Michael Cain says:

              The only state synonymous with coal mining is West Virginia.

              Which strikes me as strange these days, since Wyoming out-produces them by more than 3.5:1. More than 40% of all thermal coal mined in the US comes out of northeast Wyoming. Almost all of that is shipped east, some as far as the massive Scherer power plant in Georgia (largest point source of CO2 in the US, fueled exclusively with Wyoming coal).

              • Bufflars says:

                I think the driver for Wyoming coal is that it is much lower in sulfur compounds, so it is easier for plants burning it to meet SO2 regulations. The down side is that it is much less energy dense than eastern coal, so you have to burn a lot more (which I believe actually translates to a bit more CO2 and other GHG emissions than “traditional” coal, per MW of electricity).

        • Karen24 says:

          Media types who work in offices in liberal cities do love them some ignorant white men. Coal miners are ignorant white guys who do filthy work, and focusing on them also allows media types to punch hippy environmentalists. It’s a twofer.

        • Part of the reason steelworkers aren’t getting attention, has to be that those jobs left 30 or 40 years ago. It is easy to outsource manufacturing, mining has to be done where the stuff is in the ground.

        • zoomar says:

          I also don’t get why all the concern for basically a very few jobs in a really shitty industry in a state that did very little for their people or humanity in general when they did have abundant wealth, compared to the great cities of the north/northeast at the height of their powers.

          “something people with no education did in huge numbers for decent wages”

          Pretty much all big mfg jobs were like that in the rustbelt. Millions of them, not 50,000.
          mid 90s to early aughts, the film business left Rochester. Along with all collateral businesses supported by it. probably close to 100,000 jobs over the years. Buffalo lost steel, and auto aftermarket like Trico. Banking was mergered out of the economy or just walked out like HSBC. Nobody in Washington or WV or anywhere else gave a shit. Crickets. Film was Rochester’s coal. It would be absurd to expect anyone to subsidize film technology just to keep it on life support they way some (not here) want to do for coal. Imaging is digital, film is dead, just like Coal is now gas, robotics, and alt energy. Rochester and Buffalo are starting to bounce back with more diverse industry. They’re moving on. West Virginia needs to move on too. They’re the big conservatives aren’t they. Well WV, Nobody owes you a job. Take what scenery you have left and open a bed and breakfast for all I care.

  8. D. C. Sessions says:

    A lot of people are going to suffer because Republicans systematically lied to voters that believed them.

    And this is new … how?

  9. addicted44 says:

    I’d have some sympathy for these people if the Republicans hadn’t been doing this to them for years, and if they hadn’t still been voting Republicans in for years.

    I get that it was a major media failure, treating daily Republican whoppers as anywhere close to equivalent as Obama’s “you can keep your insurance” comment (Obama, as was customary, gave dumbass Republicans too much credit, and didn’t consider that dumbass Republican voters may want to keep their insurance even if the replacement was cheaper and more comprehensive, simply out of spite).

    But at some point, you have to take ownership of your own actions. Especially when that action involves voting for someone who is so grossly unqualified to be dog catcher as Trump.

    • humanoid.panda says:

      I get that it was a major media failure, treating daily Republican whoppers as anywhere close to equivalent as Obama’s “you can keep your insurance” comment (Obama, as was customary, gave dumbass Republicans too much credit, and didn’t consider that dumbass Republican voters may want to keep their insurance even if the replacement was cheaper and more comprehensive, simply out of spite).

      Let’s back off a minute here. While its true that some republicans wanted to keep their insurance to spite Obama, it’s also true that the old underwriting system worked very well for people who were young, healthy, and informed insurance customers. Those people were indeed worse off, at least temporary (until they become old and less healthy..) under the ACA. Which was worth it in the grand scheme of things, but the presumption that the only reason anyone would oppose a liberal policy goal is because they are either billionaires or assholes is faulty.

      • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

        Sure, and many of them are young people who assume, correctly, that the odds are good they can get away with having either a very flimsy plan or no insurance at all.

        The problem for the rest of us is that the relatively tiny amount of uninsured young people who do have a major medical bill generally can’t pay for it, and wind up costing everyone else a significant amount of money.

        Their thinking they can be exempt from having to buy (possibly) subsidized health insurance because they don’t see the benefit to them personally is no different than my asking to be exempt from school taxes because I have no children. (To be clear, I’m not asking that, but I see others doing it.)

      • Little Chak says:

        Those people were indeed worse off, at least temporary (until they become old and less healthy..) under the ACA.

        So what you’re saying is, they weren’t actually worse off under the ACA?

        I mean, isn’t this like saying that young people are better off not paying Social Security and Medicare? …because they might not become old, or they might become rich?

        • humanoid.panda says:

          Well, it’s complicated. First off, a lot of people who are well enough and young enough to not have a subsidy available are likely to be
          a) healthy until a relatively late age.
          b) Figure out ways to stay on their underwritten insurance for a long while.
          c) Marry someone who has generous ESI as they get into their 30s and 40s.

          Again, my point is that not the ACA is bad, or that we shouldn’t ask young to subsidized old: it’s just that yes, there exists a small group of Americans who were almost surely better off under the old regime. It’s not all Republican hallucinations.

      • catclub says:

        it’s also true that the old underwriting system worked very well for people who were young, healthy, and informed insurance customers. Those people were indeed worse off, at least temporary (until they become old and less healthy..) under the ACA.

        The ‘you can keep your insurance’ line was terrible, because it did not show REPEATEDLY, how the old insurance, that was actually going away, was terrible.

      • addicted44 says:

        A lot of the young people were actually net better off thanks to tax credits, and the fact that they could stay on their parents’ insurance.

        However, the vast majority of people complaining about the “you can keep your insurance” line were not young people.

      • altofront says:

        While its true that some republicans wanted to keep their insurance to spite Obama, it’s also true that the old underwriting system worked very well for people who were young, healthy, and informed insurance customers.

        Does anyone know what kind of total numbers we’re talking about here? I don’t know how many people in the unsubsidized Obamacare cohort are under 35 and have no chronic health issues in their families, but it’s almost certainly in the low six figures. I just can’t get that worked up about such a small group, especially since (as others have pointed out) everyone gets sick eventually.

        Of course, the Republicans’ “the young are paying more than they should!” talking point is best answered by getting the government to pick up more of the tab.

  10. soapdish says:

    There will always be a group white people who will happily live in a box under a bridge cooking pigeon over a burn barrel as long as the PoC family next to them doesn’t have a box or a pigeon or get too close to the barrel.

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

      And they get really excited if they think it’s now OK to shove the PoC into the barrel. Because it means when they get shit on they can pass it on to someone below them.

  11. malraux says:

    As a random thought, I wonder if some of the cleeks law nature of this relates to the double whammy of of both demonizing of both coal and tobacco by liberals. WV and east Kentucky were both locations for coal mining and tobacco farming. Since we’ve drastically cut back on both, for both good and bad reasons, I can more understand being skeptical of liberal ideas.

    That is, are we undervaluing the role of antismoking campaigns in turning wv hard red?

    • Redwood Rhiadra says:

      West Virginia tobacco started declining in 1910 and was mostly gone by 1950 (about 75% gone by then). LONG before any anti-smoking campaigns. So I highly doubt that has anything to do with it.

  12. King Goat says:

    Wow, the venom directed at these people here is just stunning. No wonder these people don’t consider voting Democrat now or listening to those ostensible ‘labor activists’ who try to get them on board with liberal causes. Here’s what liberals/leftists really think of them, and it’s worse than was caricatured by the Right.

    Coal miners created communities around the lifestyle of doing very hard but working class work. They found and worked for, often in the face of violence and death, worker solidarity in the face of hardship. They were reliable union members and Democratic voters well after the Democratic Party became the party of civil rights and other liberal causes.

    But recently what must have seemed like mostly city, well off environmentalists began to tell them and the world that what they and their communities had been doing for generations was dirty and bad, poisoning the world, that they were going to vigorously work to limit/end that way of life, but hey, don’t worry, we’ll retrain you for accounting work or solar energy work (that, of course, even if they were so inclined never seemed to come). Meanwhile they easily perceived some of the few pleasures they had in their lives, smoking, hunting, etc., to be under attack by the same people in the form of public health and gun control campaigns.

    So when someone came along affirming their lifestyle and promising to restore it, they took a chance with the guy who at least wasn’t telling them how terrible they were. It’s easy for us to see that Trump was conning them, that that is what he is. These people are desperate. If this were a PoC community that was similarly understandingly desperate and had fell for some con we’d have sympathy for them. But no, rural whites get nothing but straight up insult and vitriol here.

    Why do we keep bleeding white votes and support again?

    • malraux says:

      I don’t understand the assault on hunting claim. It’s not a normal democratic plank to deal with hunting. Small pistols or long magazines, neither of which mater for hunting, are the big ones. Maybe some stuff like trigger locks.

      • CrunchyFrog says:

        It’s not what Democrats say about hunting, it’s what they tell themselves Democrats are saying about hunting.

        And about everything else.

      • King Goat says:

        You’ve got to see that they not only don’t see guns as something bad that needs control, they see them as something quite good. I think taken by itself most gun control measures shouldn’t concern them, but taken in the whole ‘you’re lifestyle is terrible and you’re all polluting, racist, inbred hicks who sleep with farm animals and don’t know you’re own interests’ makes them overly sensitive about anything they think might effect their traditions.

        • Warren Terra says:

          1) the whole inbred and farm animals thing is something I only ever see from reactionaries. It’s something they complain about liberals saying, but that liberals don’t actually say.

          2) Let me give you a f’r instance: the Obama administration decided to regulate ammunition composition, because for a bunch of public-health and environmental reasons it’s a bad idea for people to actually use lead bullets. This didn’t cost anyone anything, and it would over time make the lives of these hunters slightly better. The Trump administration reversed that administrative rule, because Freedom. It was a blow against the Gun-Grabbers, never mind that no gun-grabbing was involved. People got back their freedom to be an idiot, and to impose costs on the larger society in the process.

          • King Goat says:

            “the whole inbred and farm animals thing is something I only ever see from reactionaries”

            See last night’s thread for an example, and also something like every other movie of tv film with Appalachian characters.

            • Warren Terra says:

              Prove it, asshole. With links. Because I wasn’t in the comments to that post, and I’m not going to read all 300+ of them looking for that stuff, but I did do a search for “farm” and I indeed found two references to the molestation of farm animals. Both were you complaining about this despicable smear and stereotype, that no-one in those subthreads appeared to have invoked. Only one person even bit on your bait, not a commenter I recognized, and they were told to fnck off by the regulars for echoing you in that way.

              • King Goat says:

                StellaB says:
                March 19, 2017 at 2:59 pm
                Speaking as an actual doctor, he doesn’t really need an annual physical, however, if he’s sexually active, he should drop by his local Planned Parenthood for an STD check.

                reply
                AMK says:
                March 19, 2017 at 3:11 pm
                Maybe check the cows too.

                And he was only told off by the regulars when he then later tied that comment to a sexist anti-Appalachian trope.

                So who’s the asshole now?

                • Warren Terra says:

                  Okay: one commenter did it. Though: in one subthread. In the other, it was all you, big guy. That commenter is not completely unheard of, but hardly a regular – a couple hundred comments in the last year or two. And every response told them to fnck off.

                  But you’re convinced that’s the normal attitude, because you hate liberals or something.

                • MyNameIsZweig says:

                  So who’s the asshole now?

                  Still you.

              • Nick never Nick says:

                King Goat is right here on both the details (with the exception of the joke here, no idea on that), but more importantly, the general point. I’ve heard the farm animals/relatives more times than I could count, and it wasn’t reactionaries saying it, it was everyone. More generally, hillbillies and rednecks (are those compliments?), know how people look down on them. Appalachians aren’t wrong to have a sense of resentment over how they are regarded by the general culture. They’re a distinct subset of Americans, they talk about things in different ways than Americans do, and they don’t see the Democratic party trying to communicate with them in ways that they care about.
                Since the Democrats don’t have a strong white rural policy team anyway, Appalachians have been effectively courted by Republicans.

          • humanoid.panda says:

            1) the whole inbred and farm animals thing is something I only ever see from reactionaries. It’s something they complain about liberals saying, but that liberals don’t actually say.

            King Goat is ridicilous, but c’mon: the previous thread on this topic had farm sex jokes.

          • los says:

            I see that “flyover slur” only from fakerage conservatives accusing non-conservatives for using the term.
            “Flyover” is not inherently insulting. It is a goofy term. I sometimes visualize a cartoon of playskool plastic airliner following a curved dashed line over a tiny US map.

          • los says:

            Warren Terra says:

            farm animals thing

            I joked about similar only in response to the idiots who had a fetishistic obsession with “goat marriage”.
            There was also a losing GOP candidate who had earlier told tales of molesting donkeys or mules, so people made jokes about him. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neal_Horsley
            http://independentpoliticalreport.com/2009/04/georgia-candidate-for-governor-admits-to-bestiality/

            But both of those “victims” brought the jokes upon themselves.

            • los says:

              It’s easy to find “out of the blue” pedo and bestiality slurs all over the internet.
              (I don’t include the slurs aimed at prominent persons as “out of the blue”, because newsworthy prominence nullifies the “out of the blue” attribute.)

        • Sentient AI from the Future says:

          Bonus trolling points for repeated misuse of “you’re”. And you really stuck the dismount with “effect” at the end.

      • djw says:

        I’m sure talk radio types and other “ideology entrepreneurs” on the right tell them the Democrats are coming for their hunting rifles and licenses, and that’s good enough evidence for them (and, apparently, King Goat).

        • Pat says:

          So let me come at this from a different perspective.

          The problem is that for rural whites, Democrats and liberals are not a trusted source of information. They do not believe us when we say that Obamacare will help them. My own sib, who got Medicaid in a red state after being diagnosed with cancer, simply cannot hear me when I tell them that it’s because Obamacare changed the rules for Medicaid.

          Clinton was not a trusted source of information: they were convinced that they could not believe anything she said. Hell, for a lot of people here, Clinton was not a trusted source of information, something I pushed back on a lot because I believed it was damaging to our futures.

          Trump, however, is trusted by many people. On TV, on his show, whatever he said happened. During the campaign, he said a lot of things that poor rural whites wanted to hear. But the things he said he would do were not possible.

          So how do we become trusted enough to be able to point out to poor rural whites that they have been lied to?

          • djw says:

            This is complementary with what I’ve been saying; the partisan filter means our “messaging” probably won’t work and careful efforts to not offend will probably find offense.

            So how do we become trusted enough to be able to point out to poor rural whites that they have been lied to?

            I don’t know, but it’s possible there’s really no good strategy with this crowd, that wouldn’t involve real damage to other necessary parts of the coalition.

          • xq says:

            You don’t need all of them; even getting a tiny percent matters given the closeness of US elections. We can’t and don’t need the people who hate all Democrats. Trump won a substantial proportion of whites without college degrees who like Obama.

          • John F says:

            So how do we become trusted enough to be able to point out to poor rural whites that they have been lied to?

            We keep telling the truth, and after it becomes painfully obvious that Trump/ the GOP were the ones who lied, the CHILDREN of those poor rural whites will be more likely to trust us. Their elders have been stewing in the lies for too long, they will never believe us any more than a believer in biblical creationism will one day change his/her mind and believe a biology textbook. The RW has been on a concerted and relentless proselytizing kick for decades, something the left in this country hasn’t even tried to do for a long time.

          • los says:

            Pat says:

            for rural whites, Democrats and liberals are not a trusted source of information

            Unless you live in a large city, the only non-music and non-preacher media are:
            Print newspaper (Some of the redstate newspapers are amazingly non-conservative, but I don’t know what percentage of those are college town papers)
            Alt-weeklies (don’t get out of cities)
            AM radio, nearly all RWNJ ranters
            Broadcast TV (news hours are too boring, and stations thin out at about YMMV 40 minute freeway drive outside of big cities)
            NPR, PBS (boring, opera, boring interviews, boring news. The same big city reception limits, but public broadcasting that is associated with state universities serves medium size cities.)
            Barstool rumors
            Internet (self-filtering = breitbart, thefederalist, .. LGM!)

            Almost all of those are conservative. IMO, even in big cities, newspapers are by far the best source of news.

          • los says:

            Pat says:

            how do we become trusted enough to be able to point out to poor rural whites that they have been lied to?

            excepting severe social circumstances (1861+, 1929+), by extremely slow process. And despite 1929, FDR to Jimmy Carter transistion occcured over about 25 years.

            • los says:

              Question, why are rural voters “unreachable”?
              Answer, by broad “theorizing”:

              1. As the centrist party, Democrats won’t casually egregiously brutally lie. In contrast, 2016 US Conservatism cannot survive without its system of lies.

              .
              2. Depressed populations are desperate populations plagued by constricted mind-frames.

              2. a. Simple demographic history. Populations shift to suburbs+urbs. Stragglers face underemployment.
              Rushes are fake exceptions.
              For example, Bakken oil boom/rush:
              The rush area had been depopulating before the rush.
              The rush itself is socially “disruptive”.
              If the area persists after the rush, it becomes a fragile uni-economy company town with constricted mind-frame. The constricted mind-frame underlies why rushes are fake exceptions.

              2. b. As widely observed, “retraining” is useless for the people who can’t reasonably/practically move to the “retrained” employment locations.

              • los says:

                Why do “Coal Miners” possess apparently unduly large electoral clout?
                Hypothetical answer:

                1. Escapees feel unrealistic cultural nostalgia.
                2. Escapees retain legitimate allegiance to their deadtown (extended) relatives.
                3. Escapees can’t find solutions for those people left behind in deadtown.

    • CrunchyFrog says:

      Wow, the venom directed at these people here is just stunning. No wonder these people don’t consider voting Democrat now or listening to those ostensible ‘labor activists’ who try to get them on board with liberal causes. Here’s what liberals/leftists really think of them, and it’s worse than was caricatured by the Right.

      Brilliant theory. The GOP fucks them over with their policies but they vote with the GOP because liberals on blogs say mean things about them. “Godammit – I really wanted to keep my health insurance and the social programs that our community depends on, but I was on Daily Kos and they said so many mean things about people like me that I realized it was far more important to send a message to those Kossacks than to have health care, a job, or a community center.”

      And, of course, the right wing *never* says anything mean about people who vote Democratic. Nope. That’s how they win elections – by trying to understand Democratic voters and their concerns and tailoring their message to them. Yep.

      • King Goat says:

        It’s not the GOP that has been putting restrictions on coal mining, it’s the Democratic Party that has been doing that. Now, a complex economic analysis might show that’s not really what’s doing in their lifestyle, but let’s maybe be understanding that when you have one party declaring a war on coal and at the same time the coal jobs are disappearing working class folks might connect the two.

        And this idea that insulting someone, their way of life for generations, with this kind of vitriol, and it having no political effect is pretty incredible. If a solidly liberal Democratic politician were caught on tape tomorrow talking about ‘city black people’ in terms like those found here everyone here would be calling for their resignation in a second. Rural whites are somehow immune from that bit of human nature?

        • Warren Terra says:

          Their way of life disappeared decades ago. Traditional coal-mining jobs are down ten-fold or more compared to their grandfathers’ time, with a modest compensating increase in other types of coal-extraction jobs (many of them not in traditional coal-mining country), and with twice the coal production. This has nothing to do with the environment.

          • King Goat says:

            You don’t think environmental measures have had *any* appreciable effect on the industry? I agree it’s vastly overstated by anti-environmentalists. But it’s just defies economic understanding that it doesn’t have any effect. But of course, it’s often more about just having someone stand up and champion your way of life. That’s meaningful when you’re down and feel kicked for a while. We don’t have to agree with that as a justification for supporting Trump, but a little more sympathy might be nice. These people are’nt much different than the contractors Trump has conned and stiffed throughout his career. We don’t hate them.

            • Warren Terra says:

              The contractors Trump conned and stiffed throughout his career didn’t fnck over the country, possibly the world.

              • King Goat says:

                People act from their own interests first (in fact, the entire line of reasoning of the post is: these people didn’t act in their own interest!). They’re not saints. Knowing Trump is a con, it would be best for all contractors for none of them to do business with him. But people need to feed their kids, and that makes them do unfortunate things sometimes. Likewise regions that have really suffered lately and feel kicked and down fell for a con man. If this were any other community we’d cut them some slack and ease back on the ‘they are so stupid so evil, fuck them they deserve their coming poverty’ talk. We’ve got into the habit of talking about whites in ways we would never put up with with other groups, and as a result whites, with some good reason, seem wary of liberals and the Democrats being interested in their well being.

              • Nick never Nick says:

                I agree with King Goat here. I don’t think a comparison will win or lose this argument, but take welfare reform. Everyone pretty much agrees that was a huge heaping pile of garbage that affected core Democratic constituencies in a very negative way — but those people still vote Democratic, for good reason. The Republicans offer something to rural white Appalachians, and though it’s bound up in racism, it’s not completely racist. Does it make them any less dupes for voting for Trump? No, it just means they’re human.

                I think people are often pretty good at distinguishing what is a nice lie. Personally, I think that ‘job retraining’, which is the best Democrats have to offer communities with no jobs left, is one of those — and it’s not very persuasive. “Sure,” you say, “Go ahead, disregard the ACA, SS, etc.” You’re right — but if those communities want jobs, and have been trained not to want handouts, those things aren’t going to catch them. Remember, Trump really got traction when he started talking about how his white voters deserved their handouts — he spoke about them in a way that made them OK to them. What’s happening now is that his policy weakness and lack of structure mean that what he does is controlled by hard-line Republicans, it’s exactly what would have happened on the left if Sanders had won.

                • Sentient AI from the Future says:

                  Personally, I think that ‘job retraining’, which is the best Democrats have to offer communities with no jobs left, is one of those — and it’s not very persuasive.

                  Its not very persuasive because even though it’s explicitly messaged as “training” the shitkickers just know its gonna require at least a LITTLE bit of reading.

                • Warren Terra says:

                  Don’t be an ass. It’s because there’s very little evidence “job retraining” schemes wind up getting people jobs, especially within commuting distance of their homes.

                  On the other hand: coal mining jobs aren’t coming back. No matter what. So, job retraining or some other system that pumps money into the area is preferable to just lying to unemployed miners. Also, their kids could be educated better than they were, seeing as that their kids aren’t going to get decent-paid mining jobs not requiring education. The Democrats want to do these things, even if they may not know how to do them well. The Republicans want to do nothing for them, except to lie to them about why coal mining jobs disappeared, and lie to them about whether they’re coming back.

                • farin says:

                  Hillary promised a massive investment in green jobs specifically in coal country. It wasn’t sold as “retraining” but as “getting businesses to open in your communities, hire you and pay you as well as the mines used to.” The voters there preferred blatant lies.

                • SIS1 says:

                  This comparison doesn’t make sense.

                  While a Democratic President delivered Welfare “reform”, it was a Republican Congress that pushed it. So the Dem. party was not the main actor, and the Dems. worked to limit the damage being done. They stood by the actual interests of their voters in the face of hostile forces.

                  This is not the case for Republicans and coal miners, at least to when it comes to actual economic needs, as opposed to cultural affinity.

                • Erik Loomis says:

                  Was the same for NAFTA

            • SIS1 says:

              Environmental regulations exist to make up for the externalities of coal mining: to be blunt, the whole commonweal is more important than any one singular part. The “live style” of this region (or any region) is not worth the health and safety of its residents, or everyone else around them. The people most hurt by the environmental disaster that is coal mining are the miners, and on top of that everyone else is also hurt. Dems. are right to demand accountability in this field, and it is a general electoral win – more people want clean air than to continue the mining jobs that help dirty the air.

    • Warren Terra says:

      This is utter bullsh!t. For starters, coal production and use are bad for the environment, but in any case the decrease in coal employment has not been a function of decreasing coal production – at least not before the last few years, and possibly not since then either. It’s about cheap natural gas, and automated coal extraction, and only a little about the environment.

      And not a single fncking aspect of their hunting lifestyle has been affected by gun control advocacy. Partly that’s because there’s been no gun control legislation, nor administrative action, but mostly it’s because no gun control advocates have suggested anything that would affect hunters in decades. And there hasn’t been federal action against smoking, either, except to encourage them not to poison themselves, and to give them health care when they do.

      No-one was “telling them how terrible they were”. People were telling them their grandfathers’ way of life wasn’t coming back. It wasn’t: even if there were a market for coal – heck, even if there were a huge market for coal – the coal would be mined by robots in Wyoming and maybe by robots in the Appalachians. It won’t be mined by sending people down the pit. It will be mined by a tiny number of people, period.

      Trump straight-up lied to them. He lied about why the market for coal was weak, he lied about why the market for coal miners was weaker, and he lied about bringing back coal mining jobs. And the only insults are against the deranged notions and possibly distorted motivations of those people who believed his lies, who voted against their own interests because they did so.

      Basically, what you’re saying is that these people have utterly bought into a whole pile of lies, and it’s somehow our fault that they hate us because of what those lies tell them. And maybe that you’ve bought into those same lies.

      • King Goat says:

        At least some gun control activists do push for something like the policies they had in effect in DC and Chicago, which of course would effect one of these people’s few major pleasures in life. It’s not like they’re not aware of that.

        • Warren Terra says:

          1) “some gun control activists” is like saying “some UFO conspiracy theorists”. No such federal legislation was proposed by anyone who mattered, and it had even less chance of passing.

          2) I know squat about Chicago gun laws, but am pretty sure there’s a lot of hunting elsewhere in Illinois. Let alone in West Virginia.

          3) To the extent there are gun control ideas, they’re basically all about weapons that aren’t suited to hunting anyway.

          • King Goat says:

            You’re not denying that where gun control forces have power they’ve enacted some pretty strict laws which most certainly would restrict these people’s lifestyles? When a city restricts transgender rights we rightfully get concerned and up in arms even if such a measure wouldn’t be politically viable in the city where we live, so maybe we should cut these people some slack when they’re alarmed at what’s going on in Chicago or DC.

            • Warren Terra says:

              Tell me of someplace that has a hunting culture, and it’s constrained by gun control rules. Places with gun control are called “cities”, and you’re not allowed to hunt in the city. And the gun-control rules tend to be about waiting periods, and background checks, and handguns. Not shotguns or hunting rifles.

              And, tell me why you fetishize this “lifestyle” so much that we don’t have sensible anti-crime, anti-tragedy measures that wouldn’t interfere with hunting in the slightest but would save thousands of lives. Things like gun cabinets and trigger locks. Like real safety training, and real licensing tests, and real liability – regulation similar to that for automobiles, which we also have plenty of.

              • King Goat says:

                Since you just ignored it, I’ll repeat:

                When a city restricts transgender rights we rightfully get concerned and up in arms even if such a measure wouldn’t be politically viable in the city where we live, so maybe we should cut these people some slack when they’re alarmed at what’s going on in Chicago or DC.

                • Warren Terra says:

                  That’s utter bullsh!t. I understand they’ve been raised to believe there’s such a thing as a Firearm-American just like there’s an African-American or a Gay American, but there’ really, really isn’t. What there is, is people in this country who like to hunt and fish, and who aren’t even meaningfully inconvenienced by gun control. They just can’t hunt in the city, and often not fish there either.

                  Your argument is like saying that they’re bothered that land-use regulations in the heart of the city oppress peoples’ rights to the sort of larger homesteads they grew up among and prefer, and so we shouldn’t have land-use regulation in the city.

                • King Goat says:

                  Well, yeah. A rural person into property rights might be concerned about inner city redevelopment programs that are politically unlikely in their current neighborhood just like a person into gay rights might be concerned about what Davis got away with in rural KY.

                • King Goat says:

                  A person that lives in a LGBT friendly area that is

                • SIS1 says:

                  So, according to you, the people in Chicago and DC (who outnumber the people of West Virginia), have every right to be concerned about the lax gun laws of WV? Cause you can’t demand empathy one way, which is what you are doing.

                  Here is a simpler method – let the people of WV care about their gun laws, and let the people of Chicago care about their gun laws….

              • so-in-so says:

                To be fair, there isn’t a large national real estate lobbying organization trying to convince people that city land use rules are going to be applied to their rural area. We shouldn’t avoid noting that the GOP has lied for decades to create this situation with gun control laws.

            • djw says:

              You’re not denying that where gun control forces have power they’ve enacted some pretty strict laws which most certainly would restrict these people’s lifestyles?

              Not the lifestyle in question revolves around hunting, and weapons suitable for such, I absolutely am denying it. Perhaps there’s an exception I’m unaware of, but these weapons are virtually never the target of attempts at significant restrictions. If you’ve got a counterexample, by all means produce it.

              • King Goat says:

                I gave two already, Chicago and DC’s laws pre Heller and Mc Donald

                • djw says:

                  I don’t know the details of the Chicago law, but as I understand it, the DC law pre-Heller only had storage requirements for rifles/shotguns (unloaded or w/ a trigger lock). This might be frustrating for people who fantasize about guns as a self-defense tool, but is of no consequence whatsoever for people who keep their guns for the purposes of hunting (most hunters I know comply with those kind of safety rules regardless of any legal requirement to do so.)

                  Did the Chicago law actually restrict acquisition or ownership of hunting rifles? I’m skeptical, but I could be wrong.

                • muddy says:

                  Ok I just woke up, but I thought the two you gave already were TJ and NR?

                  Anyway, I just read this which doesn’t sound like a ban to me.

                • djw says:

                  An experienced hunter, McDonald legally owned shotguns, but believed them too unwieldy in the event of a robbery, and wanted to purchase a handgun for personal home defense. Due to Chicago’s requirement that all firearms in the city be registered, yet refusing all handgun registrations after 1982 when a citywide handgun ban was passed, he was unable to legally own a handgun.

                  0/2

      • Sentient AI from the Future says:

        …there’s been no gun control legislation, nor administrative action, but mostly it’s because no gun control advocates have suggested anything that would affect hunters in decades.

        So much this, as evidenced by the strategy of trying to rebrand the AR-15 as the “modern sporting rifle (MSR)”. Selling only to paranoid gunfuckers wasn’t profitable enough, apparently, so let’s try and polish this turd to make it sound like it’ll be not-terrible for hunters who want a shiny bauble when they go to the Bass Pro Shop Supercenter World

        • djw says:

          So much this, as evidenced by the strategy of trying to rebrand the AR-15 as the “modern sporting rifle (MSR)”

          I have family who are big hunters, and they make so much fun of this nonsense. Actual hunters, not people who cosplay for identiarian purposes, know this is bullshit.

    • Murc says:

      No wonder these people don’t consider voting Democrat now or listening to those ostensible ‘labor activists’ who try to get them on board with liberal causes.

      Who are these labor activists you imply aren’t actually labor activists? Name some names.

      Coal miners created communities around the lifestyle of doing very hard but working class work. They found and worked for, often in the face of violence and death, worker solidarity in the face of hardship.

      Okay? Does anyone actually dispute this?

      They were reliable union members and Democratic voters well after the Democratic Party became the party of civil rights and other liberal causes.

      The only thing this proves is that political tribalism is very, very strong.

      But recently what must have seemed like mostly city, well off environmentalists began to tell them and the world that what they and their communities had been doing for generations was dirty and bad, poisoning the world,

      How dare we tell the truth!

      but hey, don’t worry, we’ll retrain you for accounting work or solar energy work (that, of course, even if they were so inclined never seemed to come).

      This is the only legitimate point in your entire screed. And hey, guess what! The failure of the Democratic Party to have an actual answer for economically dislocated people is a topic that is oft discussed around here in scathingly negative terms. Erik makes that post at least once a month, to broad agreement.

      So when someone came along affirming their lifestyle and promising to restore it,

      By putting his boot on the neck of others and smashing them in the face, repeatedly, while cackling gleefully about it. You left that part out.

      they took a chance with the guy who at least wasn’t telling them how terrible they were.

      If these people do not want to be told they are terrible, they should stop doing terrible things and gleefully and enthusiastically voting for people who promise to do more terrible things.

      Nobody holds the “got conned” thing against Trump voters very much. A little, but not much. They hold “saw a racist sexual predator and decided ‘that’s the one for me!'” against them. You constantly ignore that inconvenient fact.

      These people are desperate. If this were a PoC community that was similarly understandingly desperate and had fell for some con we’d have sympathy for them.

      No, we wouldn’t. We would not have any more sympathy for a PoC community that decided to vote en masse for a shockingly racist serial sexual assaulter as their leader than we do for whites who do the same.

      Of course, we can’t test for that, because it won’t happen on the other side.

      But no, rural whites get nothing but straight up insult and vitriol here.


      Racist
      rural whites get insult and vitriol. Other rural whites are just fine with everyone here.

      Why do we keep bleeding white votes and support again?

      Racism and ignorance, largely.

      • King Goat says:

        My comment about labor activists was meant to invoke how funny it must be for some academic liberal that goes to SEIU rallies to come to Appalachia and preach to some UMW worker about the importance of solidarity with other liberal causes.

        “Does anyone actually dispute this?”

        The vitriol seems to belie that. These people have lived what many white collar liberals dream about while watching Matewan for the tenth time. Insulting the hell of them suggests a lack of respect for what the fact that they’ve actually done what we talk about.

        “The only thing this proves is that political tribalism is very, very strong.”

        Yes, let’s give them no credit here! They were racists the whole time, it’s just that their blind partisanship used to be stronger, not their blind racism has the edge.

        “By putting his boot on the neck of others and smashing them in the face”

        Yes, these people who’ve been ignored for generations should have been saints and focused not on the guy finally affirming their way of life, but on his awful policies towards others. Truly they are awful.

        “Racist rural whites get insult and vitriol. Other rural whites are just fine with everyone here.”

        “Why do we keep bleeding white votes and support again?

        Racism and ignorance, largely.”

        One wonders how they can’t see the distinction!

        • Murc says:

          My comment about labor activists was meant to invoke how funny it must be for some academic liberal that goes to SEIU rallies to come to Appalachia and preach to some UMW worker about the importance of solidarity with other liberal causes.

          Has this happened? Why is the SEIU sending folks to Appalachia to talk to people who are already in another union? Wouldn’t they want to liaise directly with the UMW? Does the UMW have a history of being good actors or bad actors when it comes to labor solidarity?

          These people have lived what many white collar liberals dream about while watching Matewan for the tenth time. Insulting the hell of them suggests a lack of respect for what the fact that they’ve actually done what we talk about.

          Who here is insulting labor actions taken by folks in Appalachia? Like, at all? Ever?

          Yes, let’s give them no credit here! They were racists the whole time, it’s just that their blind partisanship used to be stronger, not their blind racism has the edge.

          I’ve got no idea if they were racists the whole time, although it seems likely. I know they’re racists now because they started saying and doing racist shit.

          Yes, these people who’ve been ignored for generations should have been saints and focused not on the guy finally affirming their way of life, but on his awful policies towards others. Truly they are awful.

          Yes, KG, they are. I don’t care how bad you’ve had it; if a guy ambles up to you and says “I’ll give you a job if you help me toss a molotov through your neighbors window and then mug them when they run from the house on fire” and you not only say “Ok!” you go “WOOOOOOO! U-S-A! U-S-A!”, then you’re a bad person and deserve to be called on it.

          • King Goat says:

            “Who here is insulting labor actions taken by folks in Appalachia?”

            They’re just insulting the people who take the action, that’s totally different!

            • Sentient AI from the Future says:

              To be fair, they’re also insulting the head-knockers employed to put down said labor actions.

              So it all evens out.

            • Murc says:

              They’re just insulting the people who take the action, that’s totally different!

              Yes. Yes, it is. Doing laudable things doesn’t immunize you from insults because of the disgusting things you do.

        • djw says:

          Yes, let’s give them no credit here! They were racists the whole time, it’s just that their blind partisanship used to be stronger, not their blind racism has the edge.

          No one with a passing familiarity of recent West Virginia (or the relevant political behavior research” would dispute this. If you want to give some anti-racist “credit” to WV voters in the 80’s and 90’s for not electing Republicans, you’re welcome to do so, but there’s very little empirical or theoretical basis for doing so. That the post-civil rights realignment took a generation rather than happening instantly certainly doesn’t provide any such reason.

          • King Goat says:

            It certainly provides that in ostensible hot beds of racism we can still get majority white support for Democrats known for pushing civil rights friendly legislation.

            • djw says:

              That’s a much more constrained claim than the one you’ve been implying throughout this thread, but also a more plausible one. But you move from “could” to “can” too easily. Realignments aren’t necessarily reversible with the right political strategy. (Or if they are, it’s a strategy that would have greater costs then benefits within the coalition.)

    • Scott S. says:

      For a supposed liberal, you sure do love racists a lot.

      • King Goat says:

        These racist mine workers who were members of unions back before it was cool to be for them on college campuses, back when state policemen were knocking them on the head while they actually engage in the labor activism so many talk about now, who reliably voted for Truman after he desegregated the federal government, Kennedy as he pushed for Civil Rights, Johnson as he enacted the major Civil Rights Legislation, heck, who went for Bill Clinton?

        • Scott S. says:

          All I’m saying is, for a supposed liberal, you sure do love racists a lot. I think you’d be happier commenting on Breitbart. They hate Democrats, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and non-white people just as much as you do.

          • King Goat says:

            I’ve only ever voted for Democrats and think Obama was one of the best Presidents of all time. I was raised and lived in a very racist Southern state and yet have supported civil rights all my life. So fuck yourself.

            • Scott S. says:

              Well, that’s what you say, Anonymous Goat. All I ever see from you here is how much you hate Democrats and how we all need to work harder on kissing white racists’ asses. I’ve never seen any evidence you’re anything other than a Breitbart troll.

              • King Goat says:

                Jesus, you just don’t get it. Bleeding white votes has gotten us what? Loss after loss. It’s our single biggest weakness right now, and to you, someone trying to address it is the troll while people who want to stick their head deeply in the sand about it are the True Purists.

                • Sentient AI from the Future says:

                  CONCERN TROLL IS CONCERNED

                • King Goat says:

                  Ooh, someone knows lazy internet speak!

                  If Trump President and the GOP in charge of everything isn’t cause for actual concern for you then YMMV (thought you’d like that)

                • Scott S. says:

                  For a supposed liberal, you sure do want liberals to cater to white racists a lot.

                • King Goat says:

                  Maybe there’s a line between catering to racists and ‘white rural people are so stupid and deserve what they get?’ Nah, I must be racist myself for suggesting such nonsense!

                • Scott S. says:

                  Still not doing anything to disabuse me of the notion that you’re a barely-disguised Trumper.

                • GeoX says:

                  So, like, what exactly do you WANT? Do we just have to stop saying mean things about Trump voters, or do we have to start saying actual NICE things? And how do you square the circle of the fact that advocating for our preferred policies is pretty darned obviously going to represent an implicit–or not-so-implicit–denigration of theirs?

                  You never offer any actual, concrete ideas as to what we SHOULD do. It sure as hell LOOKS as though your only purpose here is to feel good about yourself by attacking liberals.

                • King Goat says:

                  I thought it was clear: let’s not engage in general, vitriolic insults of whites, rural people, rural whites, or other such groups.

                • GeoX says:

                  So we’re supposed to remain totally silent. Seems like a practical, workable plan that you are totally justified in banging on about at tiresome length. Also, are we allowed to speak out in favor of our own policies when it involves implicitly suggesting that theirs might be not one hundred percent ideal? Thanks so much!

          • Asteroid_Strike_Brexit says:

            I am frustrated by people voting for Trump when Trump is obviously a conman. Criticism is warranted. But there does seem to be an undercurrent of bigoted opinions about rural white people here. King Goat is substantially correct.

        • Murc says:

          These racist mine workers who were members of unions back before it was cool to be for them on college campuses, back when state policemen were knocking them on the head while they actually engage in the labor activism so many talk about now, who reliably voted for Truman after he desegregated the federal government, Kennedy as he pushed for Civil Rights, Johnson as he enacted the major Civil Rights Legislation, heck, who went for Bill Clinton?

          Yes. They did all those things. It doesn’t make them not racists. They keep voting… for racism! That makes them… racist!

          • King Goat says:

            They kept voting for racism when they voted for Truman, Kennedy, Johnson and Clinton?

            Oh, that’s right, when they do good it’s their blind partisanship obscuring their blind racism.

            • efgoldman says:

              They kept voting for racism when they voted for Truman, Kennedy, Johnson

              All or most of the people who voted for Kennedy or LBJ are dead. Certainly all but a few Truman voters are. The elecetions of the 40d, 50s, and early 60s have no relevance now.

              • King Goat says:

                They have this relevance: if these areas are hotbeds of racism they were certainly more so then than now, yet they reliably voted for Democrats getting major civil rights laws done. That suggests write offs are questionable.

                • Sentient AI from the Future says:

                  Yes, racism is an easily quantifiable entity and we can therefore make direct comparisons about the racism of the past to the racism of the present.

            • so-in-so says:

              They also voted for a guy in prison over Obama, so something changed.

              Maybe if the rest of the country had helped them during the mine wars of century ago, things would be different. Today they seem tp like Massey Energy thugs better than anyone who wants to actually help them (then too, there needs to be practical way to help. I’m not sure there is for WV or some other places that people initially went to because they are isolated).

              • King Goat says:

                Protests votes are often irrational. These people had some reason to think the Obama administration was the epitome of the wing of the party that heavily favored environmentalism over their lifestyles.

                • aturner339 says:

                  Racism is also irrational and is also a very common poltical motivation and always has been. Yes there were southern racists democrats under LBJ. This is news?

                • MyNameIsZweig says:

                  These people had some reason to think the Obama administration

                  And I wonder what that reason could be …

            • Murc says:

              They kept voting for racism when they voted for Truman, Kennedy, Johnson and Clinton?

              They did when they voted for Bush twice, McCain, Romney, and Trump. The last time they didn’t vote for racism was in 1996.

          • djw says:

            Yes, the implication that they were once proud union men, so the charge of racism can’t be accurate, is very strange. I don’t see how anyone who has even a passing knowledge of union history would find this rhetorical strategy persuasive.

            • muddy says:

              Look it's just like police unions and also the military. These people are heroes and can therefor not be racists. How can they be racist when they are protecting everyone!

    • Karen24 says:

      I grew up in East Texas, which is West Virginia without the coal mines. We are an extraction economy with the culture of Appalachia and the Deep South. I am related to the same kinds of people discussed here. I know whereof I speak. So, please attend:

      1. They cling to stupid culture war crap that they do not actually follow in their lives. They are far more sexist than racist, worshipping a family model taken from 50’s sitcoms that never existed anywhere but in TV scripts. Because they think women’s work is gross, they believe that all white men should be guaranteed a job that pays enough to keep a family of five in a four-bedroom house with all mod cons on one salary. That job should not involve caring, nurture, bodily fluids, children, old people, or the use of cleaning materials, and should either require a tie or a lot of loud machinery.

      2. They have a deep-seated hatred of certain kinds of knowledge, especially of the kind acquired by reading. They may actually be quite intelligent, but they aren’t intellectual and find reading boring and think people who read are weird. They do have an almost superstitious respect for people who are good with numbers, because math is one step more abstract than reading history books and therefore far enough out of their experience so that they can ascribe math skill to genetic anomolies. Reading, by contrast, is something they don’t like but think they should be obligated to do and therefore people who are good at it and like it are always looking down on them.

      3. To the extent that you have any point at all, it’s that liberals tend to use academic jargon too much. We speak of “intersectionality,” which, while a really good image in the original article, has become useless newspeak. We need to express the idea using the original image and not the annoying polysylllable. Same for most other culture war ideas. It won’t make much difference to the men, but speaking clearly and explaining how our ideas work might peel off a few women.

      4. Beyond that, I don’t want to be a party to an organization that sells out its core voters just to pursue a rather small group of people who don’t like us very much, especially when their dislike is for things that we do right.

      • N__B says:

        The last clause of your last sentence is, for me, the heart of the argument.

      • King Goat says:

        I grew up in a deeply red Southern region. I get there’s a lot of ugly racism and sexism out there, and I’ve tried all my life to stand against that when and where I thought it right and productive. I’ve no halycon ideas about these places.

        Having said that, we used to, and I think still can, get more support from places somewhat like that than we currently do. We used to get more support, and that was at a time when the Democrats were certainly still for womens and Poc’s rights.

        So since without doing better in some of these areas what we get is an orange fascist and GOP control of everything, don’t we owe it to women, PoC, everyone else really, to explore what we can do differently, without, for sure, selling out core values? I mean, sure, the easiest thing to do is say ‘we’re not doing anything we could change, it’s just those white people are so racist and ignorant.’ That’s so easy and it absolves us of anything. But is it working for anyone except our own sense of self-righteousness?

        • Murc says:

          So since without doing better in some of these areas what we get is an orange fascist and GOP control of everything, don’t we owe it to women, PoC, everyone else really, to explore what we can do differently, without, for sure, selling out core values?

          Sure. We can offer those people the best options for a better life that the Democratic coalition can support. I don’t think anyone thinks we shouldn’t do that.

          • King Goat says:

            Can we agree that for a while, since Bill Clinton at least, we’ve offered them pretty much nothing except talk about how coal mining is bad for the world. We might have to say that last part, because it’s probably true. But if that’s *all* we’re offering them, then when they turn and support the other side, let’s not call them stupid inbred racists for doing so. We’ve literally offered them nothing when they’re in a bad spot.

            • Rob in CT says:

              Hillary Clinton’s “we’re gonna put a bunch of coal miners out of work” gaffe was actually part of a long discussion of how she wants to invest in the region to provide something else because the coal jobs are gone and not coming back.

              Now you could argue that her policy proposal was insufficient – and maybe it was (leaving aside whether it would’ve been passed by congress).

              They didn’t believe her/didn’t listen to her/voted for Trump anyway.

              Part of the problem here is that there is no simple, easy solution to the problem. A conman like Trump can promise to MAGA, but if you actually have a shred of decency, you don’t do that. You try to craft something realistic. And, well…

            • JKTH says:

              So why did Bill Clinton get their votes and Obama and Clinton didn’t if they’re offering the same thing?

            • Murc says:

              Can we agree that for a while, since Bill Clinton at least, we’ve offered them pretty much nothing except talk about how coal mining is bad for the world.

              No, we can’t. What’s on offer hasn’t been sufficient but it both has existed and has been better than what the Republicans have offered.

              But if that’s *all* we’re offering them,

              It’s not.

              then when they turn and support the other side, let’s not call them stupid inbred racists for doing so.

              I’m going to call people who do racist things racist. That’s just true.

              • humanoid.panda says:

                Medicaid expansion doesn’t exist in King Goat’s timeline.

                • King Goat says:

                  ‘We know you’ve long provided key support for us. But here’s the thing. What you, your dad and your grandad did is awful and poisons the world, and we’re going to put you out of work. But hey, here’s some half ass accountant retraining and Medicaid expansion. What, you’re taking another offer? Racist inbred hick!’

                • humanoid.panda says:

                  1. Your argument was that we gave them “nothing.” I pointed out that’s not true, so you shifted goalposts.
                  2. I’ve had some indirect-via-spouse contact with rural PA communities who benefitted from Medicaid expansion- and let me to tell you that only people who dismiss it like you do are people who treat rural WWC communities as fetish objects, not real human beings.
                  3. And finally: in the end, no matter what our feelings are, coal mining is an economically declining sector, and a major danger for survival of modern civilization. Those are facts. Would you prefer us to ignore them and simply subsidize coal production – the only way to keep that industry alive? In other words, if you were liberal king, what be your value proposition to those communities?

                • Murc says:

                  What’s the other offer? Whether the insult is justified or not depends on what the other offer is, and how enthusiastically they accept it.

                • King Goat says:

                  To drop the restrictions on your livelihood and affirm it as a good profession.

                • Murc says:

                  To drop the restrictions on your livelihood and affirm it as a good profession.

                  And that’s the entirety of the offer? There’s nothing else? Nothing else at all?

                • King Goat says:

                  Having someone affirm your oft trashed identity and at the least promise to not put roadblocks in its way is no small thing.

                • humanoid.panda says:

                  To drop the restrictions on your livelihood and affirm it as a good profession.

                  So, let’s be clear here: what you want is for the liberal party in the US to support coal extraction, no matter it represents existential danger to… everything.

                • Murc says:

                  Having someone affirm your oft trashed identity and at the least promise to not put roadblocks in its way is no small thing.

                  This seems like a way of saying “there was in fact more to the offer, but I don’t want to say what it is or answer the question.”

            • davidsmcwilliams says:

              We’ve literally offered them nothing

              If only Obama had done something to benefit the rural poor, like pass a sweeping health care reform bill that helped them get insurance and kept their hospitals from going out of business!

              Didn’t. Even. Try.

      • Thom says:

        I (with some, though much less, experience of NW Louisiana) agree with all this. As a minor side point, though, there are a lot of coal mines in East Texas, as I have seen flying over in a small plane and confirmed just now looking at maps via google.

      • Do you know the Suzanne Vega song?

        I haven’t been able to listen to her comfortably since I realized she was singing from a rightwing perspective but it’s a good song.

      • humanoid.panda says:

        To the extent that you have any point at all, it’s that liberals tend to use academic jargon too much. We speak of “intersectionality,” which, while a really good image in the original article, has become useless newspeak.

        I’d like to push back agains this one. Who is the “we” here? Politicans? I don’t think so. Media stars? Almost surely not. Campaign volunteers? Nope. Hard core activists and academics? Yes. But- conservatives also use all sorts of terms no one uses in real life when debating issues amongst themselves..

        • Karen24 says:

          True. I just wish we had a more visceral and concrete way of expressing what is a really obviously true idea. The original article did that so well, too.

          • humanoid.panda says:

            And while I am not an expert, there is no reason why intersectionality can’t include the struggles of white working class people.

          • Rob in CT says:

            It’s not really all that hard a concept. Who has it easier: the poor son/daughter of a coal miner in WV or the wealthy son/daughter of… oh let’s say Donald Trump?

            What’s hard is dancing around the fact that while there are many underprivileged white people, their whiteness (and, for the men, maleness) is a plus. Whereas many of them feel the opposite. No discussion of privilege can square that with reality.

            • humanoid.panda says:

              It’s not really all that hard a concept. Who has it easier: the poor son/daughter of a coal miner in WV or the wealthy son/daughter of… oh let’s say Donald Trump?

              But that’s not intersectionality. That’s simple class analysis.

              If I get it right, where intesectionality gets counter-intuitive is when it says that there are SOME ways in which the son of a WV Virginia miner is more privileged than, say Malia Obama.

      • John F says:

        4. Beyond that, I don’t want to be a party to an organization that sells out its core voters just to pursue a rather small group of people who don’t like us very much, especially when their dislike is for things that we do right.

        Ditto, we could lay off the inbreeding jokes though.

    • Gwen says:

      I don’t know much about West Virginia, but I do know a lot about East Tennessee.

      ET has always leaned Republican (except, recently, the purple-haired hippies in Knoxville). And frankly it probably always will.

      Generally the people who would vote Democratic these days, get an education and then get out (or at least move to Knoxville).

      The result is that the people who stay are old (cranky old person Republicans), or moderately successful business types (Chamber of Commerce Republicans), or not-well-educated (need I say it?)

      This is compounded by Angry Old White God religion, Confederate tribalism, and anti-urban/anti-coastal chauvinism.

      To many of my folks, any economic problems are just another opportunity to blame liberals, blacks, lesbians and Satan. Whereas any opportunity is either “deserved” or proof of the power of prayer.

      Anything Trump does will be graded on a *massive* curve. He could show up in Bristol, burn down a preschool, and a significant number would either find a way to blame Obama or attempt to rationalize it.

      Which isn’t to say everyone is indifferent. You might have 10 or 20 percent who will switch parties if Trump screws up badly enough. Unfortunately that wouldn’t be enough to make Tennessee competitive by itself.

      Bottom line is this: you’re not dealing with rational economic calculators who “just need love.” As a child of Appalachia my advice would be… Please wish them well and help when you can, but lower your expectations and never, ever pander!

      • Gwen says:

        Also I want to make it very clear… Climate change, CPP, “War on Coal” etc. are a scapegoat. A scapegoat of course is a Biblical concept… It’s a thing you pile your sin on. The sins being ‘scaped here are numerous but obviously a big part of it is class.

        Without trying to pander to prejudice – the Democrats have got to speak clearly to class-based resentment. The strategic aim of class warfare is blowing up white tribalism and getting people to think about their objective individual interests.

      • Bas-O-Matic says:

        ET has always leaned Republican (except, recently, the purple-haired hippies in Knoxville). And frankly it probably always will.

        This is compounded by Angry Old White God religion, Confederate tribalism, and anti-urban/anti-coastal chauvinism.

        What’s funny is that Eastern Tennessee was one of the least Confederate parts of the Confederacy and was Republican in the years when being a Democrat in the South meant being like George Wallace and the Republican party in Tennessee was largely being run by a black man in Memphis (who was later basically run out of town on a rail by the Democratic Crump machine).

        What’s always been crazy to me is how openly racist white Democrats can be in East Tennessee. Like otherwise nominal liberals have said the most incredibly racist things to me and assumed I’d be OK with it. I had one woman who’d gone to nursing school in Memphis tell me (after I told her I lived there) that she normally voted Democrat, but didn’t when she lived in Memphis because it “means exactly what you think it does.” And these are people who would get offended if you told them they were racist.

    • efgoldman says:

      Why do we keep bleeding white votes and support again?

      Hey look, everybody. It’s KG back again to tell us everything about the Democratic party is bad.
      Goya lot of stamina, KG does; he was at it late last night, derailing. derailing, derailing.
      Engage at your own risk.

    • Rob in CT says:

      If this were a PoC community that was similarly understandingly desperate and had fell for some con we’d have sympathy for them. But no, rural whites get nothing but straight up insult and vitriol here.

      This depends on what the conman they fell for was saying. Making unrealistic promises about jobs WITHOUT also a huge amount of “I’ll stomp on Others for you” would likely garner some sympathy.

      If they fell for someone who was not only making ridiculous jobs claims but was also running on racism, the amount of sympathy would be reduced, perhaps to zero depending on the details.

      So. Speaking for myself alone here, I’d be a lot more sympathetic if the con these people fell for wasn’t so heavy on bigotry (and authoritarianism, and just plain sadism like bring back torture, go after their families, and the like).

      • King Goat says:

        When PoC voted in large numbers against SSM in California and elsewhere were there plenty of comments about ‘stupid people of color’ here? Or did people understand that perhaps there was message fail and that these people were not homophobic assholes or some such similar insult?

        • Rob in CT says:

          There were certainly recriminations in liberal circles. I do not recall how much play that go here, as I don’t think I was commenting here at the time.

          • Rob in CT says:

            To be clear, the recriminations weren’t that they were stupid. It’s that they did a shitty thing knowingly.

          • King Goat says:

            I wasn’t either, hence my question.

            I did hear some people other places, I thought, and said, that o thought it was as bad as what I’m talking about now.

            • Rob in CT says:

              It would be nice if we could neatly separate who people are from what they do, but it’s not so easy.

              So, when discussing why an AA voter in CA might’ve voted for prop 22, you can’t just ignore homophobia.

              Similarly, Trump & other forms of bigotry.

              In both cases, when discussing what led to the bad act, you rapidly get into deeper, hot-button things. Core identity stuff, maybe, or maybe not.

              I really don’t know that a bunch of liberals from the coasts, no matter how earnest and careful with their language, are going to be successful in talking Appalachian whites into voting D anyway (anymore than an Appalachian Trump voter is going to talk me into anything).

              What is needed is for liberal (or just centrist FFS) locals, also white and having the same general tribal affiliations. This brings us back to the vaunted 50 state strategy, which produced a bunch of blue dog Dems in R-leaning states. By all means, let us pursue this again. The $$ raised centrally should be sent out to state parties so they can build locally.

        • MAJeff says:

          White resentment is a hell of a drug.

        • Murc says:

          When PoC voted in large numbers against SSM in California and elsewhere were there plenty of comments about ‘stupid people of color’ here?

          No, there were comments along the lines of “there appear to be a lot of homophobes in the black ans hispanic community. This is a shame and also a problem.”

          • Rob in CT says:

            That’s how I remember it, yeah. I also remember some pushback along the lines of “this is an attempt at scapegoating, since a ton of white people voted for it too, but people are getting all worked up over one slice of the YES vote” which seemed mostly fair to me. It was not a defense of the vote itself, or a call for sympathy & understanding for the YES voters.

            • Rob in CT says:

              See also: lower AA turnout in 2016, and Romney-like levels of AA vote for Trump.

              These are bad things. We haven’t spent much time railing about them. I think we don’t because, while I have no defense for those voters/non-voters, Trump also doesn’t win without a major shift in rural white areas, Comey, Russia/Wikileaks ratfucking, and so on.

              Also, there hasn’t been a spate of articles written about why poor AA people in Detroit didn’t show up. Not like the articles we’re seeing on the poor misunderstood white Trump voters. If there were, I think we’d be talking about the AA turnout drop & debating how much was “not Obama” and how much might be explained by other factors like the economy, sexism, anti-immigrant sentiment, etc.

          • MAJeff says:

            There were plenty of racist white gays willing to engage that discourse, though.

        • CP says:

          Um, voting against SSM does, in fact, make you a homophobic asshole, yes. That doesn’t mean it’s all that these voters are, nor that they’re the only ones who were that way – sadly, being a homophobic asshole was the mainstream position of society until very recently. But yes, calling them that would have been entirely appropriate. It wouldn’t have been a smart thing to say as a politician giving a speech, or the beginning and ending of crafting public policy, but a liberal blog is not a political speech or a Democratic message crafting session and there’s very little reason for the people who know that it’s homophobia and a dick move not to note it amongst themselves.

          And yes, conversely, Log Cabin Republicans who voted for Trump are racist assholes, as is the rest of the voting community that watched his year-long screed of white nationalist word-vomit and went “sure, I’m okay with that.” And so on, and so forth.

          It’s standard fare for right-wingers to trot out a black, gay, Muslim, or other non-White-Male-Christian-Straight person who shares their prejudice and go “ohhhh, I’ve got you now! You can’t possibly call it prejudice if a black man is saying it!” Sorry that you’re into the same crap, but utterly unsurprised.

          • King Goat says:

            You seem to not get that what conservatives that do that are trying to show is quite different than what I am.

            • Aaron Morrow says:

              You seem to not get that what conservatives that do that are trying to show is exactly the same as what you are doing, especially the trolling aspects.

            • CP says:

              Of course they are.

              • King Goat says:

                The conservative is hoping you’ll call the black voters, and the white ones, racists, bigots, stupid. I’m telling you not to.

                • CP says:

                  They are being bigots. They are being stupid. You are asking me to lie so that you and they can feel better about them. Which I haven’t the slightest problem doing if I’m running for office or representing the party on a Sunday talk show, but you’ll forgive me if on a liberal blog, I don’t self-censor just to avoid hurt fee-fees.

                  (This is, of course, all avoiding the fact that you and the conservative are both in fact doing it primarily to concern-troll liberals, as Aaron correctly points out).

    • MAJeff says:

      They also know the work is killing them. After all, Black Lung is happening to them.

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

      I note that you never specify what YOU are doing to change the situation, you just criticize what is basically an angry response by those of us who are hacked off at these people electing Trump.

      We’re all human beings. I’m pretty sure any objective measure would find out that Trump voters have been extremely pissed off for years, and seem to be staying that way even though their candidate won, while we are people who mostly don’t spend long periods of time being pissed.

      • humanoid.panda says:

        The only logical extension to what KG says is that we need to is:
        1. Subsidize coal massively.
        2. Drop any gun control efforts, even locally, in places thousands of miles away from Appalachia.

        • humanoid.panda says:

          And 3, find way to censor liberal blogs and twitter feeds.

        • King Goat says:

          Yup, no middle ground between subsidizing coal and stopping all new plants, or calling for less insulting of whites and rural people and censorship of liberal blogs. None at all. Only a racist conservative would suggest there is!

          You’re like an android programmed to only think in extremes.

          • Aaron Morrow says:

            King Goat thinks that King Goat is a fascist…

          • humanoid.panda says:

            At this point, any plant construction that would make a difference in terms of coal miner employment would require subsidies AND roll back of environmental regulations (a hidden subsidy, in that it would allow to socialize the costs of coal extraction). This is a simple economic fact.

            • King Goat says:

              Do you not get politics is often about optics? If, as you say, restrictions on new plants are meaningless either way, then why proudly announce them? You’re just risking the lifelong coal worker who feels harried enough concluding the restrictions do matter-against their livelihood.

              • humanoid.panda says:

                No, restrictions on new plants are not meaningless either way. Zeroing out coal-generated electricity production as fast as possible has the potential of saving millions of lives, tens of millions if the effort is part of an international campaign.

                Which again, is not to say that coal miners are bad people, or racists, or that we shouldn’t do anything possible to make the transitions easier. It’s just that maintaining production at current levels is environmentally catastrophical. Raising production marginally is environemntally catastrophical and doesn’t do much for coal miners. Raising production significantly is suicidal on every level. Those are the facts. Ignoring them is not how one treats adulsts.

                Another fact: total employment in coal mining in the US is 83,000.

          • humanoid.panda says:

            Less insults is a good idea in general, but given that no liberal politician or media figure uses insults of coal miners, your suggestion to stop insulting as key to success does depend on grassroots censorship. One could even call it a form of PC police… And mind you: it might be goo idea, but is kinda ironic, isn’t it?

    • ap77 says:

      Wow, the venom directed at these people here is just stunning.

      Agreed. I would say that the level of venom directed at them is alarmingly low. They deserve much, much worse.

  13. Snarki, child of Loki says:

    Donald Trump billed himself as the “last shot” for coal country.

    The coup de grace, if you will.

    • busker type says:

      I just heard an interview on the radio (a wv public radio show called “inside Appalachia” which is excellent and can be found in podcast form) with a coal mining family who voted for trump. One said “imagine you’re starving and one guy says ‘I will give you food’ and the other says ‘no food for you’, now even if you don’t really trust the first guy you’re gonna vote for him because at least you’ve got a chance”

      Sadly I think Trump is likely to push some coal field communities off the cliff into complete collapse.

      • Rob in CT says:

        The frustrating thing is that the “other” didn’t say “no food for you.” She said I want to invest $30 billion in Appalachia.

        Now, you can certainly criticize her proposal as leaning on job re-training and therefore unlikely to do much good.

        But she did not say “no food for you.” Trump said “I’ll pull a rabbit out of this hat!” and, of course, that he would stomp on Others.

        • Matt says:

          But she did not say “no food for you.”

          I think you’re taking “food” too literally here. T-Rump offered them the only “food” they actually care about – hate. I hope they fucking choke on it.

  14. Lord Jesus Perm says:

    Gonna be a fun one. Don’t disappoint me, people!

  15. zoomar says:

    Coal jobs are as over for West Virginia as steel and manufacturing jobs are from Buffalo to Duluth. Being from Rochester, NY myself I don’t remember a lot of sympathy from West Virginia and southward for all the shoe factories and textile jobs we lost to them. As far as manufacturing jobs, all I’ve ever heard from every political corner, Dem or Repub for the last 40 years is “The jobs are gone, get used to it, learn computer programming, sell Amway, move to Houston or just shut up.” Why all the love for West Virginia jobs? It’s not like the state and it’s ignorant voters have any intention of approaching their situation with any creativity or imagination. The best real hope for a new economy for them would lay in tourism of their beautiful mountains and hollers. But they’re eating their seed corn their in a big way.

    • Snarki, child of Loki says:

      They’re not “eating their seed corn”.

      They’re setting it on fire, and smearing their faces with the ash

      Or perhaps it was a meth lab blowing up, hard to tell.

    • King Goat says:

      The UMW was most certainly in solidarity with those in other industries losing their jobs. So much so that despite the fact that the national Democratic party seemed to be veering from (or painted to be doing so) their culture in many ways they still turned out for the Dems reliably for a long time. The problem was this: “all I’ve ever heard from every political corner, Dem or Repub for the last 40 years is “The jobs are gone, get used to it, learn computer programming, sell Amway, move to Houston or just shut up.” The party they were supporting told them the same thing the other party did, so eventually they just went with the one they thought was at least more culturally in line with theirs.

      • Is the UMW coming back as a political force? Are the jobs that gave them power coming back? Do the political forces that caused unions to support civil rights still exist?

        Is there a reasonable hope for liberals (I like to use “neoliberal” in this context but I suppose that’s not to everyone’s taste) and the center-left to stop putting all the burden on individuals who are un- or under-employed, to change themselves so they can get the jobs that, by definition, exist, and/or work on their attitudes?

        I think the answer to those questions is no.

        Does this mean that the new natural home for white people who once might have voted D is going to be the Republicans, and nothing can change that? I hope not.

      • ColBatGuano says:

        Your understanding of Southern Democratic “culture” and it’s relationship to unions is fundamentally flawed.

  16. Asteroid_Strike_Brexit says:

    I am interested in the differences between the US and the UK with regard to coal jobs. Here, bringing back coal jobs tends to be a vague desire of the far left, rather than the right. Here is Jezza explaining his thoughts here, which he later walked back: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/labour/11791434/Jeremy-Corbyn-Labour-could-reopen-coal-mines-and-nationalise-gas-and-electricity-sector.html

    “The last deep coal mines in South Wales have gone but it’s quite possible that in future years coal prices will start to go up again around the world. And maybe there will be a case for what is actually very high quality coal, particularly in South Wales, being mined again.

    “But if there’s to be substantial coal fire generation it’s got to be clean burn technology, it’s got to have carbon filters on it, it’s got to be carbon neutral. I’ve looked at it, I’ve discussed it. It’s complicated. At one level it looks very expensive. But the advantages also look quite attractive.”

    It all stems from the infamous miners strike in the mid eighties, when Mrs. T. fought the NUM and won. Many coal mines later closed and Britain started importing most of its coal from much cheaper locations.

    From the information here (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal_mining_in_the_United_Kingdom), I am struck by the fact that the biggest decline in coal jobs occurred in the sixties – I don’t recall anything being made of that in documentaries and books – and also that coal production has fallen much slower than coal employment.

  17. aturner339 says:

    Beyond the remonstrations (sincere or not) about commenter rhetoric and the alienation of white voters from the Democratic Party I think there is something to be said for examining racism beyond the pejorative. More than simple hate racism is an all encompassing worldview and it is foundational to the American social order. Getting fellow democrats to understand and confront that is going to sound to many people as an unfair accusation. There no avoiding it but it can (and I suspect will) be more than finger wagging.

  18. Rob in CT says:

    Trump can’t bring back all the mining jobs that have disappeared over the past 30 years — it’s just not feasible. That’s a promise he won’t keep. And now he’s cutting the region’s safety net, too.

    This point should be made again and again. Trump is a conman who spouts bullshit and has no intention, let alone the capability, of backing it up. Even when he has the intention, he’s comically inept (see: “Muslim Ban” and hopefully more fuckups to come).

    For reasons expressed already upthread, it’s not going to work on many Trump voters. But it will work on some, and some is all we need. We’re noting gonna flip WV. But MI, PA, WI, NC, maybe OH, maybe IN, ME-2… and oh by the way managing to hold on to MN, NH, ME? That can be done. Whether it can be done while also taking shots at flipping GA and AZ, I don’t know.

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

      Even when he has the intention, he’s comically inept (see: “Muslim Ban” and hopefully more fuckups to come).

      Trump cannot fail, he can only be failed.

      See, he really is a conservative after all.

    • Dennis Orphen says:

      I play rhythm guitar. I like to work with a hot-shot lead guitarist who takes all the solos, unless we’re practicing the ancient art of weavingg. However, on one song I played a solo. When it came time to the song all I had to do was show up at the studio and play along with the rhythm track for about 30 seconds or so. I absolutely nailed my part on the first take. It was the best version of the solo I had ever played for that song, live, rehearsal, practice or otherwise. Except, I threw out one sour note. After the playback, I looked over at the producer/engineer, sort of shrugged, apologized and said that I’ll do another one although I was clear to him that it would never be that good again. He looked at me and said no way I’ll fix that with ProTools or whatever software he was using. So, I put my guitar away, left the studio and never heard that bum note again.

  19. Caepan says:

    I grew up in the post-coal mining region of northeastern PA. The mines were on the decline by the 1950s, and once the mines were flooded by the Knox Mine Disaster in 1959, deep coal mining has all but disappeared. (There are a few mines operating in the bottom tip of the Southern Anthracite Belt, but that’s about it.)

    But one of the most pervasive ideas passed down from generation to generation is that coal mining – back breaking labor that doesn’t pay well, is inherently dangerous, economically unreliable (supply of coal goes up, price goes down, mines are closed until the price goes back up), and is run by sociopaths on land owned by old-line families who moved out of the region decades ago – is NOT a career to aspire to. It’s the old immigrant story – work hard so that your kids, and their kids, can get an education and never have to work underground.

    Plus when the mines closed, there was little effort to either clean up the mess left behind or to bring other industries in. This left the region doubly handicapped – land that could be used to build factories is so honeycombed by the mines left underneath that it is unsuitable to build upon without the fear of mine subsidence destroying the investment. Combine this with the hellscape of open mine pits, mountains of waste and slag, mine fires left burning underground, and sulphuric acid seeping up and destroying local waterways, and who would want to bring this era back?

    Yet far too many people back home are convinced that the only way to bring back prosperity to the region is to “bring back the coal jobs.” (How? By draining the mines that have been flooded for over 50 years? Who’s gonna pay for that? They don’t have an answer.) But they will all swear that their hero Trump will magically bring back an economy that has all but disappeared. And for every one I ask if they would want to work in the mines their grandparents dreamed of never having them do, they all tell me no, of course – but maybe their kids could. Why not jobs making or installing solar panels or wind turbines instead? Oh no – they may be manufacturing jobs, but those are wussy “green” jobs.

    Trump’s allure to these voters (and yes, they’re all white descendants of immigrants) is to turn back the clock to a time when they had jobs – shitty jobs, but jobs nonetheless. After all, they could make the same money stocking shelves in the local Wal-Mart, but where’s the legendary glory in that?

    If only they could harness the energy of their grandparents spinning in their graves.

    • MPAVictoria says:

      “Oh no – they may be manufacturing jobs, but those are wussy “green” jobs.”

      Bullshit. If these jobs were offered and the pay was ANYWHERE close to what they made in the minds people would be lined up 1000 deep for the chance.

      • humanoid.panda says:

        Or alternatively, those jobs are theoretical in Appalachia, which, not being a major population center, will never be a solar energy hub, and such are easy to demonize.

        • aturner339 says:

          Absolutely. Loss aversion is a pretty universal heuristic. It’s lot easier to get people to organize against losing a way of life than for a new one.

      • MyNameIsZweig says:

        I dunno, I think you are underestimating the power of the Culture War over a lot of people in places like WV.

      • Caepan says:

        Bullshit? Fuck you. I was told that by someone when I had asked him if there were any chance that solar panels could be built in the region. His actual response to me was, “Ahh, ya ain’t gonna get nobody ’round here workin’ to make that hippie shit anyways!” He may have been an outlier, but that conversation happened.

        Now to soften that “fuck you,” I will say that there is what turns out to be a somewhat famous work ethic amongst the people of Northeastern PA. They will work harder for less money than many other Americans. In fact, it was part of a PR campaign I worked on back in the mid-1980s to bring manufacturing and businesses to NEPA. (Unfortunately, we were told by a major headhunter at the time that no company wants to send their executives to a region where they have to pass culm banks and open mine pits to get to the office every day.)

        I’ve seen people line up one hundred deep to apply for part time jobs at a multiplex in downtown Scranton. But much like fast-food jobs, these places don’t want to hire people in their 30s or 40s. They want high school kids that have no work knowledge, and therefore easier to exploit.

        And it’s difficult to keep that kind of work ethic when every time you get a job at some factory for <$10 an hour, you wind up getting laid off six to twelve months later, and have to start the job search all over again. And when you have a wife and kids, plus at least one elderly parent to take care of, leaving the region is rarely an option.

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight says:

      I see similarities in this attitude and that of the Palestinians who have passed on the keys to the homes they lost in 1948 to their progeny. Both have built their lives around a past defeat. This narrative continues to hurt their chances of having a decent today or tomorrow.

      I have sympathy for both groups because they’re mostly ordinary people who had little actual control over the forces that wound up destroying their lives. The fact that they (mostly) supported the way things were over half a century ago doesn’t mean this support actually had much impact. However, my compassion for them includes the idea that they’ve got to find a better way of coping besides focusing on the fantasy that the good old days are going to return, and supporting people who promise to bring them back.

      • CP says:

        The difference is that in many cases, Palestinians are actually forcibly stopped from moving on to something else. Entire generations of them have been born, lived, and died in refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and within Palestine itself that’ve existed since the sixties, fifties or even forties. Tens of thousands of others have migrated to the Gulf kingdoms where they find work as an exploited labor force with no rights alongside migrant workers from a bunch of other poor countries. A few have managed to find citizenship in the countries that “welcome” them – many more haven’t. That kind of situation does a lot to breed the fantasy of “one day we’re going to take it all back!”

        What’s the Appalachian coal miners’ version of the guards keeping them penned into refugee camps or the exploitative system refusing them basic rights? What’s stopping them from at least trying to improve things for themselves, especially when there are politicians out there who want to help (as pointed out above WRT Hillary Clinton?)

        • John F says:

          What’s the Appalachian coal miners’ version of the guards keeping them penned into refugee camps or the exploitative system refusing them basic rights? What’s stopping them from at least trying to improve things for themselves

          A big problem the Dems are having with places like Appalachia is that the TYPE of whites whop still tend to vote Dem, LEAVE places like Appalachia, you are left with old whites, small types and the less well educated- who are all “straight.”

          I live in the NE, damn near every person I’ve met who grew up in the “South” but lives in the NE is a liberal.

          Brownback has lost among whites under 30 in every election- the problem is that a big chunk of those 20-30 year old Kansas Dems, will NOT be Kansans in their 30s and 40s, they will have moved on to somewhere else.

          • CP says:

            Yep. It’s self-selection in the worst possible way.

          • GCarty says:

            Wouldn’t surprised me if internal migration was a factor in Trump’s victory, as young liberals left the Rust Belt states and moved to Chicago, New York, California (or even Texas or Georgia) meaning that their votes no longer counted for much.

            Plus of course Florida may well have turned red due to an influx of conservative boomer retirees…

            • Caepan says:

              Personally, I “self-migrated” at least three times. Twice to attend college out of state, and the final one to upstate NY, where I manage to double my income just by leaving to do the same job I was doing in NEPA.

          • ColBatGuano says:

            The other thing is that trying to win back the coal mining vote is what’s known as “hunting where the ducks aren’t”. West Virginia isn’t going D for president for awhile. For PA, OH, MI and WI, the votes are in the suburbs, specifically white women and getting the young to actually show up to vote. Wasting vast resources trying to attract the toughest crowd in the U.S. for Democratic values is dumb.

        • humanoid.panda says:

          Think about this in terms of positive and negative freedoms. So, yes, Appalachians have the formal right to migrate anywhere, and the enormous privilege of being white American citizens. But, on the other hand: migration is hard and costly, many of them don’t have the health and education and seed money to move, and people have families and communities and memories and such. In other words: saying “why can’t they improve their lives” is just about as useless in regards to Appalachian folks as it is for inner city residents (with the exception that inner city residents don’t demand ritual humiliation of Appalachians as part of their policy platform demands).

          • Rob in CT says:

            Right. A far cry from being prevented from moving by people with guns, but still not without difficulty.

            As for the internal migration theory… well, that’s the idea behind The Big Sort, right? I wonder if it could actually be proven.

            And how does it end?

          • CP says:

            (with the exception that inner city residents don’t demand ritual humiliation of Appalachians as part of their policy platform demands).

            Other than the ability-to-move-to-areas-with-better-jobs thing, that’s my point. Appalachians can vote. They have representatives in one of the wealthiest and most powerful governments in the world. They’re not some dispossessed stateless refugee population. There is nothing stopping them from electing people who will go to Washington and ask for more funding and assistance in redeveloping the area with jobs that are more stable than what last century’s dying industry can provide, and/or more help in providing for those that are too old to work anymore. Certainly they wouldn’t encounter the kind of virulent opposition that black people do whenever they ask for a few more dollars in funding for inner city schools. It’s entirely their choice that they continue to piss away those votes in order to deliver a few more kicks to the undeserving blacks in their inner cities instead of using them to look after themselves. And if an ever-increasing number of white Americans hadn’t been doing exactly that for the last fifty years, neither they, nor I, nor even the black people in the inner city would be in the economic balls-up that we’re all in now.

            • Caepan says:

              In NEPA, we did have such a Congressman: Dan Flood. He brought home the bacon, and was reelected multiple times. Only a scandal about him accepting kickbacks brought him down.

              From the Wikipedia:

              Flood used his considerable influence in Congress to develop ways to transition the economy of his district,[4] which was devastated when the anthracite coal mining industry took a severe downturn. While in Congress, Flood was credited with sponsoring the Area Redevelopment Act in 1961 and the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969.

              But since the emphasis back home is the offspring of immigrants hating on the more swarthy immigrants, they now vote for his opposite: Lou Barletta.

      • LeeEsq says:

        To be fair to the Palestinians, the other Arab states decided that even though they were all for Arab unity that the Palestinians needed to be put into refugee camps indefinitely rather than naturalized into their new countries like Israel did with the incoming Jews.

  20. Matt says:

    “I am disappointed that many of the reductions and eliminations proposed in the President’s skinny budget are draconian, careless and counterproductive,” said Rep. Hal Rogers, a senior House Republican from a key coal-mining district in southeastern Kentucky.

    No you’re not, you fucking turd. “Draconian, careless, and counterproductive cuts” has been your party’s policy for decades. *You’re* disappointed because the cuts hit your constituents – and that there aren’t any Democrats around to blame it on.

  21. Crusty says:

    Coal mining is close to the worst job ever. I mean, its certainly better than no job, and it can be a “good job” if you’re unionized and are able to support a family, but that doesn’t seem to be the way the world is going.

    In any event, displaced coal workers don’t want a safety net, they want to not need a safety net.

  22. King Goat says:

    A point: it seems whenever I comment about what I think liberals or Democrats are doing wrong I get people saying ‘well conservatives and the GOP write people off and behave in this way’ and then go in to say I must hate the former because I criticize them. That’s daft. Of course Republicans are incredibly smug and insult entire groups and regions regularly. They’re worse about this, easily. But I don’t criticize them because it doesn’t bother me when they shoot themselves in the foot. It bothers me when the side I prefer does it, because I hate to see them lose, which we’re doing now. We’re bleeding voters that are electorally key. At least I’m suggesting how we can change this. A lot of people seem to want to respond by doing more of the same. If anything, it’s that that you’d think would be indicative of being unfriendly to our prospects since we know where that’s led (I say you’d think, but I believe most everyone here wants the same thing).

    • Crusty says:

      “Of course Republicans are incredibly smug and insult entire groups and regions regularly. They’re worse about this, easily. But I don’t criticize them because it doesn’t bother me when they shoot themselves in the foot.”

      What you seem to be missing, by miles, is that insulting entire groups and regions regularly hasn’t been republicans shooting themselves in the foot, it has led to them winning, which drastically undercuts the value of being nice to everyone.

  23. A long time ago, there was a Marxist thing where the “people” had to be valorized whatever they said or did. For the most part this meant white people, obviously. So it’s difficult, I guess, for a lot of leftists to feel like a big group in they want to label “the working class” is no longer the base for the left. It goes against their nature to tell “the people” that they’re wrong.

    It’s been a very long time, though, since parts of the left began explaining why “the white working class” just isn’t, it turns out, a good candidate for some “revolutionary class.”

    The focus on this online among the left sometimes puzzles me. In the mainstream media I get it–it’s a huge cultural thing, what do the people think. Beyond the fact that there are a lot of them and they buy papers. Anyway, it seems like an intraleft dispute, one to which people who consider themselves “liberals” (like me) can probably only participate by, essentially, concern trolling.

    It does seem pretty bad in terms of electoral, etc., prospects for things I care about though.

  24. cleek says:

    A lot of people are going to suffer because Republicans systematically lied to voters that believed them.

    and they’re going to be told their suffering is the fault of liberals. and they’ll believe it because it’s a comforting story.

    • witlesschum says:

      Yup. Losing less badly in places where a lot of people who liked “Make America Great Again” live requires the Dems have to come up with a story that beats “Those people over there you don’t like anyway are to blame for everything wrong in the world.” And that’s really, really hard because it’s a pretty great story. It’s practically everyone’s favorite story.

      The Eric Hoffer quote about mass movements not needing a god, but needing a devil certainly has some truth to it, so I wonder who can the Dems offer for an acceptable devil? Obviously, Donald Trump is the best candidate for that role right now, but more long term I don’t know. As a far lefty etc etc, I want the answer to be the rich and their shittiest corporations. That worked for FDR, after all. But maybe that’s not possible for a party which includes a bunch more professional class, well-educated types who have not necessarily incorrect problems with that simple narrative than FDR’s did.

      • Rob in CT says:

        Bernie’s devil was The Banks, and that had some pull. The Rich is similar, though expanded from just evil Bankers.

        Re: Dems having lots of educated/well-off people in our ranks… well, I for one see a distinction between a 2-worker family making a couple hundred thousand a year and someone whose much higher income is derived primarily from investments. Someone who, whether they do or not, doesn’t actually need to work another day in their life. I will of course also grant that it may be easier for me to see that distinction, since the former is my family.

        Democrats have split this difference before. It’s why when it came time to raise taxes, the people who got hit had incomes higher than $250k(individual)/$400k (married filing jointly).

        • farin says:

          The problem is that Democrats will never have a party devoid of rich people, but Republicans do have an essentially whites-only party. That makes it more convincing when they say those people are the problem; if Democrats really thought banks/the super-rich were the problem, wouldn’t they be working to drive all of them out of the country?

        • los says:

          I’ve perceived the same. Mid income to lower-upper income Democrats tend to be professionals, academics, researchers, writers, etc. – more creative, inquisitive.

          Mid-income and up Republicans are business owners or pure investors – narrowly analytic, though some business can be sometimes creative. Some less common “bluecollar like” business can be somewhat creative (custom machining/fabrication)

    • farin says:

      And because it’s being told by the national political media, who everyone knows are just an adjunct to the Democratic Party.

  25. e.a.foster says:

    if they were dumb enough to vote for Trump because he promised them he could bring back coal, they will be dumb enough to vote for him again. some one ought to have checked to see how much coal China has and what they can get from other countries.

    Coal mining is a dying business in more than one way. You’d have thought people would have pressured their local governments, etc for re training programs and such…….

    I do feel very sorry for the people who live in these economically depressed areas. They didn’t do anything to deserve what happened to their communities, but expecting Republicans or for that matter Democrats to help them isn’t ever going to happen. the state governments didn’t do much to try to turn around the economies either.

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