The Republican Party and Don Blankenship; Made for One Another
The news out of West Virginia is that Republican leadership is scared to death that Don Blankenship could win the Republican Senate primary there on Tuesday. They believe that he would have little chance against Democratic incumbent Joe Manchin in the Fall because his extreme views and criminal record would turn off Independent voters. According to recent polling Blankenship seems to have moved ahead of two more mainstream rivals in the race, [who even knows what "mainstream" means any more in the Republican Party]. And he seems willing to spend as much as it takes to win the nomination.
Blankenship is a wealthy coal baron who spent some time in prison after the 2010 explosion at his Upper Big Branch Mine that killed 29 workers. He is running to the right of his rivals for the nomination and has recently focused his ads on bashing Mitch McConnell after national Republicans signaled they were cool to his candidacy. In one ad he refers to McConnell as "cocaine Mitch" and then he released a bizarre and racist video ad last week that has to be seen to believed. See it here.
But, its difficult to feel much sympathy for Republicans because through their continued support of Donald Trump they have signaled that their party is a comfortable fit for all sorts of disturbing characters from Roy Moore in Alabama, to Nazi sympathizers such as Arthur Jones in Illinois and Patrick Little who is leading in California for the Republican nomination for the Senate. How did the Republican Party get to the point where their candidates can openly state that Hitler is "one of the greatest leaders in history," and refer to people of Chinese ancestry as "China-people"? How is complex, but I can tell you the exact moment it occurred; when Trump could refer to undocumented Mexican immigrants as "rapists" and get away with it. And not just get away with it; prosper from it. That is when every nut in America felt they had a politician who could relate to their mental illness.
And, if you think these are isolated cases, you are wrong. I haven't even mentioned Joe Arpaio in Arizona and Corey Stewart who is the front-runner for the Republican Virginia Senate nomination. More on them later, and many more.....sadly.
Photo credit: AP