The state IS losing it’s blue collar jobs…..
That means Trump people are an endangered species ….
And Democratic Senator Manchin has to be well aware of this….
Could Democrats be getting a rebirth in the ole’ Coal Mining state?
“The state doesn’t offer much to the younger generation, so you have to leave, and when you leave, you leave this massive hole in the state, and you feel guilty,” he told me. “I want to be part of the change and go back.”
Whether the experimental program (and one like it in Charleston that promises $5,000 to remote workers willing to relocate) will lure entrepreneurially inclined high-earners who will stay long enough to actually make an impact on the economy remains to be seen. Similar programs are playing out in places like Indiana, Michigan and Oklahoma with some early but encouraging results. But in the heart of Appalachia, a place still reeling from decades of exploitation by outside corporations, the Ascend program has triggered a familiar feeling of betrayal. Why, ask skeptical local leaders, isn’t the program focused on keeping current residents from leaving rather than looking to replace them?
It’s hard for people like Joe Gouzd, president of United Steelworkers Local 8-957, to not take the state’s excitement around the new recruiting program personally.
“We didn’t detach from West Virginia,” Gouzd said. “They’re detaching from us.”
On the campaign trail in 2016, Trump promised to take care of West Virginians. He spoke to a packed Charleston Civic Center where supporters still in their neon striped work uniforms waved signs that read “Trump digs coal.” He put on a miner’s hat and pantomimed digging with an invisible shovel to roars of applause. “We’re going to put the miners back to work. We’re going to get those mines open,” Trump said between boasts about his polling and ticket sales. “If I win, we’re going to bring those miners back.”
What Trump promised was always hard to believe based on the evidence; about 40 minutes west of the Viatris plant, a coal mine will close in August, leaving another 200 people unemployed.
But his anti-regulation, anti-elites message suggested that nothing really had to change for the state to escape the economic dead end it had found itself in. Trump went on to win West Virginia with nearly 70 percent in both the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections, all but branding the state as “Trump Country.”
But six months have passed since Trump left office, and it is clear the state is no better off than when he first appeared, and in some important ways it has fallen farther behind. While Trump maintains a philosophical hold on a portion of the voting populace that still adores him, even his most prominent supporters in state government now recognize that Trumpism offers no viable solutions for reversing the state’s decline and are throwing their weight behind forward-looking programs like Ascend WV, which promote the appeal of some of the most liberal parts of the state where the partisan culture wars that Trump has pushed are least popular.
The message is clear: Improving conditions in red state West Virginia, it turns out, could mean making it look a little more like the bluest parts of the rest of the country….