I’m not sure whether this is good news or bad. What is true is that Don Blankenship of West Virginia did not win his primary, and so will not be a Republican candidate for Congress this year. That’s probably a good thing in that it means the Republican voters of his state are not actually as batshit crazy as he is (see below). On the other hand, it also means the Democrats will not face an easy contest in West Virginia, which might (or might not) have been the case had Blankenship been the candidate.
Still, we shouldn’t forget Blankenship, even though he’s technically out of the picture for the rest of this year. That’s because he is instructive. He shows us just how bad, and how fascistic, the GOP is becoming.
Remember that Blankenship was gunning for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s position. Normally, of course, I’d cheer anyone who was trying to put a bit of heat on the Miserable Mitch, but Blankenship was something special. First, he attempted to smear McConnell by implying that the (not so) good senator was somehow involved in the drug trade. It seems some cocaine was, indeed, found in a ship owned by his in-laws. That’s a pretty distant connection — though it didn’t stop Blankenship from trying to nickname McConnell “Cocaine Mitch.”
But then he went further. He branched out into race baiting. McConnell is, of course, married to U.S. Transportation secretary Elaine Chao, who happens to be of Chinese descent. Eugene Scott, writing in the Washington Post, noted that Blankenship had been claiming that McConnell is, in fact, acting in the interests of his Chinese in-laws and against American working men and women. He also referred to Chao’s father as a “wealthy China-person. You don’t have to be Derrida to figure out that one.
Scott notes that Blankenship’s bizarre campaign for office could have seriously damaged the Republican Party’s prestige (what little it has left after Trump’s victory). Even Trump, says Scott, had asked West Virginia’s Republicans to stay away from Blankenship. And the voters seem to have obliged, giving Blankenship only a third place in the primary.
That said, if Blankenship came in third, he still came in…meaning, he was a serious contender and a lot of Republicans voted for him. That’s scary, particularly when you remember that this is coal mining country, and Blankenship spent a year in jail after he was a bit lax about safety regulations at a mine he owned and there was a coal dust explosion that killed 29 miners. Such is the true regard for the working man and woman that Blankenship has demonstrated — defending them against “China-persons,” while allowing them to die in a hellish pit of rock and fire.
Blankenship is thus not fit for human company, much less to be on any electoral ticket, and that he was supported by anyone in the Republican Party should be a warning to us.
We must remember there are monsters in the world. And right now, so very, very many of them, are in the GOP.
Heaven help us all.