Ron Gregory: Campaigns unending in age of social media

December 29, 2018

While we’ve briefly made reference to 2018 apparently being the year of never-ending political campaigns, one wonders if social media has spurred it on or vice versa.

It sort of seems to me that, years ago, the losers went over into a corner with some supporters, soaked up their losses and moved on.

Now, the next day usually features them lamenting their losses on Facebook. The words get stronger by the end of a week and, by then, the losers are vowing to avenge their losses in the next election.

Thus, as I said, the campaigning just never ends.

We can dismiss the congressional losers who are now running for president. That’s just silly on its face, but one wonders about some of the others.

Is winning an election — ANY election — the ultimate life goal for some? If Jake could get elected janitor down at the Moose lodge, would his legacy be written? Would he become an instant hero?

Maybe. Don’t get me wrong. Some very good candidates lost in 2018. Some newcomers looked and sounded good. A few have bright futures. And I’ve always said one can’t start campaigning too early.

But open your social media account. Click on the “search” engine and look for accounts related to elections. While some are leftovers from 2018 campaigns, others are clearly updated 2020. And you thought Walmart kicked off Halloween early?

I don’t know when or how exactly it will happen. Voters will reach the saturation point. They’ll walk in the store to buy an outdoor grill and wonder why they’re greeted by a life-size model of Bernie Sanders. Then they’ll walk away.

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It seems to me the candidates with close to the right idea for kicking off campaigns early are the ones emphasizing issues not personalities. Sanders, at least, has several tenets of his democratic socialism he wants to enact. He doesn’t just say, “Get me elected two years from now and the world’s saved.” He and his supporters have common goals and aspirations.

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Undoubtedly some of these more unusual candidates see filing as their “15 minutes or seconds of fame.” While I’m not saying any of this year’s crop are just flimflam artists, there are definitely true believers.

Lissa Lucas, a House of Delegates candidate to the left of Bernie, believes everything she says, I think. She’s the one who accidentally parlayed getting thrown out of a meeting by Del. John Shott, R-Mercer, into $45,000 in donations.

I’d say all the challenging congressional candidates — including Sen. Richard Ojeda — believed their rhetoric.

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Meanwhile, have no doubt Del. Riley Moore is dead serious in taking aim at Democrat State Treasurer John Perdue. The only holdover of the once unanimously Democrat Board of Public Works, Perdue has not yet announced for re-election. In this case, by filing early, Moore is attempting to keep other Republicans from considering the race.

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President Trump’s signing of the farm bill, which legalizes hemp, may be just enough to get West Virginia legislative action to implement medical marijuana.

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Although the voting and otherwise balance of power is moving from west to east in West Virginia, there’s clearly no Eastern Panhandle takeover yet in West Virginia leadership.

When one needs legislative action, he or she is more often than not dealing with a leader who learned the ropes in the southern coal fields.

Political genius, the late Gov. Arch Moore used to downplay the idea that the North Central and Eastern parts of the state would take over. “A coal miner in Belington thinks just like one in Matewan,” he always said.

There has been a lot of changes in the intervening years, but there’s still much truth to Moore’s theory.

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A Christmas Day drive from Logan to Williamson revealed railroad car after another loaded with gleaming coal. Obviously, some of it is still going somewhere. One can sense economic optimism among the resilient folks of Southern West Virginia.

Better yet, it seems we’ve reached the point where nearly all agree economic diversity is the only long-term answer for the Mountain State.

Contact Ron Gregory at 304-533-5185 or ronjgregory@gmail.com.

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