AP NEWS

WV candidates strive to remove coal as an issue

August 26, 2018

My friend Stephane Heck, a dyed-in-the-wool West Virginia Democrat, brought up an interesting point on Facebook after President Trump brought his version of truth and light to the Charleston Civic Center last week.

It involves the race between Democrat Richard Ojeda and Republican Carol Miller, who are running for the 3rd District West Virginia House of Representatives post in the November general election.

Trump offered pie-in-the sky promises to West Virginians who yearn for the day when coal can be returned to its former stature as the salvation of West Virginia.

Trump says his administration will remove all the Obama regulations established to eliminate poisons from the water and air that comes with unregulated coal mining.

Trump has convinced his followers and even some of his non-followers in the state that coal can once again be king.

It’s easy for Republican Miller to fall at the feet of her hero and believe every word that comes out of her leader’s mouth.

But what about Democrat Ojeda? Well, he’s apparently all in favor of Trump’s plan as well. Why? He’s no dummy. He knows that Hillary Clinton got thumped in Mountain Mama because it appeared she didn’t support coal and apparently believed the mineral was a short-timer.

So, Ojeda has apparently backed Trump’s pro-coal plan, no matter how impossible it is.

The same holds true for U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat who is running against Republican Patrick Morrisey for the Senate in the November general election. Manchin seems to support Trump’s coal plan without backing Trump.

Why is this happening?

No matter what the Republicans say or do, there is only one issue that matters to most West Virginians in November. And that issue is coal.

So if all four of the above-named candidates seem to support the same coal plan, that eliminates coal as an issue.

As Heck put it:

“The GOP cannot win if coal is not an issue. If both candidates (Ojeda and Miller) speak out in favor of coal, there is nothing to debate. This in essence slaughters the GOP cash cow that the GOP uses to raise money with.”

A wise observation. With the Democrats agreeing with Trump that coal can make a comeback, they eliminate dousing the spirit of the Democratic Party in the state.

If the truth was known, I doubt that Ojeda or Manchin (or Miller or Morrisey for that matter) believe coal can make a comeback. But they must pretend.

Despite all the Trump bluster, the number of coal workers has increased only about 4 percent since Trump took office, which is probably due to the upswing in the general economy rather than an upswing in coal usage.

Cheap natural gas is winning out over coal as an energy producer at power plants and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

After that, windmills and perhaps millions of acres of solar cells worldwide, especially in deserts, will replace both coal and natural gas as electricity producers. Totally clean and harmless to the environment is what that means.

So two Democrats have made their wins much more possible because they have eliminated the issue that could destroy them by agreeing with their political enemies.

It’s a wise political move indeed.

Dave Peyton is on Facebook. His email address is davepeyton@comcast.net.

AP RADIO
Update hourly