In the previous post, I talked about the reality that while Republican governors and legislatures have succeeded in implementing their political philosophy in their states, that philosophy has been a miserable failure when it comes to actually delivering what they think it will. In fact, it has been a disaster for their states. Besides that, while we like to talk about the economic recovery that the country has seen under President Obama, the sad reality is that it’s been an uneven recovery, particularly for those same states. That has led to a lot of very angry people who are upset with the Republican Party for not delivering the economic boom they were told they’d have, and as result have been the reason why Donald Trump has had so much support in the primaries.
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In my last post, I talked about how the Republican Party’s establishment has been watching in horror as their formerly (badly) hidden encouragement of racism and bigotry has exploded in their face. While true, and definitely attention-grabbing, it’s distracting from their other big problem. Three years ago, I talked about how the Republicans needed to “check their assumptions,” and sadly, they haven’t. The end result is that their basic philosophy of government has been a complete failure.
One of the things that has left most pundits scrambling for explanations this election year is Donald Trump’s success in the Republican primaries. In any previous year, he would have been considered at best a fringe candidate, and by now would have been out of the race. Instead, Republican candidates that in previous years would have been battling it out for the top spot are now out of the race, or at best, holding on. Trump is saying things that would have been lethal to any candidate in previous years, he has no set policies or plans beyond a catchphrase, yet it hasn’t impacted his run towards the nomination. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders has been hammering away at Wall Street, proposing free college and single-payer healthcare, drawing wild enthusiasm from many youth, particularly white youth. While his campaign speeches touch on long-standing liberal ideals, there still concern as to how he thinks he’s going to implement it, and none of that seems to impact his base support.
Over the past several years, I’ve had to listen to conservatives talk about “job killing environmental regulations” and how we should be doing more exploitation of fossil fuels. As they put it during the 2008 campaign, “Drill baby, drill!” Yes, if only we would wave aside all those “greenies,” open up public land and offshore areas to drilling, build the Keystone XL pipeline, and get out of the hair of those who want to frack new areas, we would hit the promised land of cheap gas and energy independence. Life would be good, right?
I was recently reading a very good series on West Virginia over at Al Jazeera. It’s the thing that you used to see from our media, but no longer. It’s a rather disturbing picture of what happens when an area is almost totally dependent on one industry, and one that is an “extractive industry:” Coal. The reports focus on one county, McDowell, which in the past was one of the major producers of coal. Today? Well, it’s not a very nice place. But there’s some lessons in there as well.