Bernie Sanders has won West Virginia’s Democratic primary.
Already, the New York publications are talking about West Virginians’ “disillusion” with Hillary.
But that isn’t it.
“All politics is local,” as someone said, and I believe it’s West Virginia Democrats’ disillusion with their own elected Democratic leaders, including their “super delegates” who almost uniformly announced for Clinton — even though many of them, at one time or another, have campaigned against her and the Obama administration.
Especially on labor and the environment, West Virginia Democratic leaders have tilted so far to the right, trying to play to the audience, and re-create themselves as right-wing Republicans — practically giving up all ground in the last election, handing the Legislature to the GOP for the first time in decades.
Now, old-time Roosevelt/Kennedy Democrats watch in shock as their conservative Democrat leaders — the governor; the senator; the secretary of state — wring their hands, powerless, as Republicans pass anti-union legislation and austerity (budget-cutting) measures that kill state-supported libraries, schools, university programs, health care, retirement programs — further cheapening social life there.
Yes, Bernie is a protest vote — but not against Hillary. West Virginia’s Democrats know that their leaders are beholden to the energy companies — always have been. But, now, even “King Coal” is abandoning them, departing the state and leaving as much prosperity behind as Hurricane Katrina left in New Orleans.
So, West Virginia Democrats have little to lose by keeping some of Bernie’s flame alive today (May 10, 2016), against their own conservative Democrat “super delegates” who cannot fill the vacuum left by the departing, bankrupt energy companies.
The one ray of light in this West Virginia election was the tepid challenge to the old guard by Booth Goodwin and Jeff Kessler, who — while seemingly unable to pronounce “green jobs” or “post-coal sustainability” — offered some resistance to the Jurassic pro-coal candidate with the unlikely name of “Justice.” Unfortunately, the two of them split the vote, giving the Democrat in Name Only (DINO) a win.
I hope the Democrats have a great nominating convention in July — and am confident the “Bernie” Social-Dems have a seat at the table, instead of being left outside, like in Chicago of 1968.
Further, I hope that, somehow, Democratic leaders can read the riot act to those who failed to stand up for their president and the older values of their party when the time was right. In West Virginia, they’ve just been put on notice that the electorate is watching.