Coal / Energy / Mountaintop Removal

How to oversimplify coalfield politics (and policy)

CHARLESTON, WV — “Earlier this week, the National Journal published a piece called The Shift Of King Coal: The coal industry still dominates in Appalachia, and that’s bad news for the Democratic party. Here’s how it started out:

When West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller formally announced his decision to quit the Senate on Friday, he opened the next chapter in one of the few true historic shifts taking place in American politics. Even before his announcement, Republicans were eyeing his seat as a prime pickup opportunity, a reflection of the ascendance of the Republican Party in Appalachia, a shift in which working-class white voters who have reliably cast ballots for Democratic politicians for the better part of a century are moving inexorably, and perhaps permanently, toward the Republican Party.

That’s because in Appalachia, coal is still king.

The piece reminded me of the one that the Wall Street Journal published way back in June 2001, in which it explained George W. Bush’s victory in West Virginia with this similar, one-issue narrative.”

— Ken Ward Jr., Charleston Gazette

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