In my previous, post-election summary post, I described Donald Trump as a trust-funded con artist. Among his many marks are Rust Belt voters who, rather than adapting to the 21st century, keep electing Republicans while praying that the economy of the nineteenth century will make a comeback.
Those voters are especially numerous among the coal miners of Kentucky, and the members of the families that depend on them. And one of the best enablers of Trump's con-act campaign was someone who, appropriately, has the word "con" in his name: Senate Majority Leader (from Kentucky) Mitch McCONnell.
For months prior to the election, McCONnell took advantage of every opportunity he had to publicly pretend that President Obama's environmental policies were systematically destroying the coal industry, including jobs in Kentucky. Trump, for his part, piggybacked on McCONnell's lies by promising to undo those policies and unleash coal mine owners so that money would start coming out of the miners' ears.
But now, of course, the election is over, so it's safe to tell the truth: that the coal industry's decline is all about automation and competition from alternative energy sources. You can read about the end of the dissembling here, while reading at the same time about McCONnell's comfort with more or less admitting that he dissembled. You can also read here and here about how the decline in coal has nothing to do with Obama or the Democrats.
Sorry, coal miners. You've been played by the man who's going to "Make America Great Again," and by his fellow con artist, the senior senator from Kentucky. Time to start changing your voting habits, and elect progressives who will invest in the jobs of the future. Coal isn't coming back. And we can all breath easier as a result.