I’ve known about West Virginia since I was very young, thanks to John Denver’s ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ .. but I’ve never been there, actually. So with yesterday’s Presidential primary elections there, I had to take a look at the map. West Virginia is coal country, and candidate Clinton got in hot water for being too candid about the prospects of the coal mines, and jobs in the coal industry. (It is probably one of the reasons that Bernie Sanders beat Hillary Clinton there).
Those coal mining jobs have been disappearing for many years – for decades – and they will not come back. The US government has put a freeze on issuing new leases for coal mining on public lands this January. There are cheaper and cleaner alternatives such as natural gas, available. And finally, the coal industry itself has been mechanizing the mining of coal, so an entire mountain top can be mined with a handful of operators.
But never mind all this : a few days ago Donald Trump had a big ostentatious rally with coal miner hard hat and all, pantomiming a coal miner shoveling coal, and declaring : we will get those jobs back. And this tweet : Obama’s war on coal is killing American jobs, making us more energy dependent on our enemies & creating a great business disadvantage. Well. If only the world were that simple.