DON BLANKENSHIP

Tuesday's election certainly was historical in West Virginia. Just 10 years ago most politicians would have laughed at the thought of having a Republican majority in the West Virginia legislature. Lots of things came together to accelerate West Virginia's conversion to Republican although the journey had already begun years ago, and it was only a matter of time. In fact some of the things that made the Republican Party victory in WV possible Tuesday occurred before many of Tuesdays voters were even born.

The appearance of large, non-union mines in West Virginia such as Elk Run and Marrowbone in the early 80's may have marked the beginning of a change in West Virginia politics, just as the Matewan Massacre had marked the beginning of a change in WV politics in 1921. The Matewan Massacre likely played a major role in creating eight decades of Democratic Party dominance of West Virginia politics and 60 years of dominance of the West Virginia coal industry by the United Mine Workers.

It was the removing of miners from their homes by Baldwin Felts agents using force that fueled the political conversion from Republican to Democrat in '21, and ironically the removal of miners from their homes by the EPA that likely played a major role in a conversion in the opposite direction this year. In fact, Democrats across the country should have learned on Tuesday that having a home is pretty fundamental to a person's environment and people get angry when they lose their home, or their relatives do, or their neighbors do. People love and want to protect nature but they have to have a home.

It is also ironic that the 1985 "war" between Massey and the UMWA essentially occurred at Matewan, the site of the 1921 Matewan Massacre. In fact, Massey contract truck drivers were shot in 1985 in the town of Matewan just a short distance from the site of the 1921 Massacre. This 1985 UMWA battle could also have been labeled a Massacre as 91 individuals were treated at hospitals, and at least a half dozen people were shot. One -Hayes West was killed.

After the 1985 strike, many non-union mines were put in throughout West Virginia, just as following the 1921 Massacre most all new mines from 1930 or so forward were essentially put in with union labor. In essence, these two famous strikes were forerunners of a major change in coal industry labor relations which greatly influenced politics and West Virginia elections.

Prior to 1921, the West Virginia Supreme Court was so dominated by Republicans that Democrats sought to pass legislation that would prohibit all of the Supreme judges from being members of a single political party. But, by 2004, the WV Supreme Court was fully dominated by five Democratic politicians. In fact, a Republican had not been elected to the WV Supreme Court in 80 years prior to Brent Benjamin's victory that year. Although West Virginia had elected two individuals as Republican Governors during the 74 years prior to the Benjamin election, it is certain that the defeat of "unbeatable" Warren McGraw was yet another sign of political changes to come in West Virginia.

Perhaps it could even be said that the loss of state races during my failed efforts to gain seats for Republicans in the State legislature in 2006 played a role in the winds of political change. It was the first time in years that Republican candidates ran for office in most every race, and that funding was available to get out their messages. West Virginia voters chose to remain loyal to incumbent Democrats, but at least the presence on the ballot of Republican candidates gave voters a choice, and in the years following Republicans were emboldened to show their faces i.e. to come out of the closet. The presence of Republicans on nearly every ballot in subsequent years led to at least family and friends turning out to vote for Republicans, and most often these same voters voted for national Republican candidates as well.

Even though the strike of '85, the election of Benjamin in 2004 and the failed efforts of 2006 had put political change in motion, the single biggest catalyst for Republican victory last Tuesday was clearly Barrack Hussein Obama. His disdain for American founding principles; his positions on abortion, gun control and immigration; his war on coal and his failure to stand up proudly for America as he traveled the world all caused an acceleration of a change that was clearly already in motion and which led to the result last Tuesday November 4, 2014.

The biggest message in this essay is that Republican politicians have had little to do with the change that occurred Tuesday. If they don't recognize that they did not cause the change and if they do not protect America and its borders, if they do not stop the war on coal and coal miners, if they do not allow people to work and remain in their homes, if they are not proud of Americas heritage and if they reach across the aisle to compromise with those that seek to destroy America their celebration will be a short one. The people did not elect them so much as they fired the other fellas. The Republicans are like new hires at any company. They must now show they can do the job. I am reminded of what a peer executive would tell his new workers--your friends and references and interviews can get you a job but only you yourself and your performance can keep it.

Other tidbits---

I appreciate the positive emails I have been receiving that are complimentary of the documentary and of my efforts in regard to coal miners and workers. The documentary has now been seen by more than a quarter of a million people and we are planning for it to be seen by an additional quarter million before year end. I also have other plans to carry the message forward which is that Americans can no longer afford environmental extremism or the transfer of their jobs and their way of life to China.

Also many of you expressed outrage at the use of me by the Democrats as a political issue. But you expressed horror and anger and disgust that the Evan Jenkins' campaign included a reference to me in their ads. Let's all just set this aside and enjoy that West Virginia and the country have taken a step in the right direction. It is that which is important. After all I have had far worse done to me over the years. I have been shot at, had urine thrown on me, been lied about, been pursued for decades by law enforcement-- no I mean tyrants, been demonized, and been abandoned by those that once were friends. But it's all made for an interesting, and I believe a meaningful, life.

Another of Evan Jenkins ads seem to imply that Evan is proud to have worked with Joe Manchin to reduce the WV Food Tax. That was funny as I don't recall Joe nor Evan being happy about my ads and efforts to reduce the food tax. Nor for that matter, about the defeat of the WV Teachers Pension Bonds which forced the politicians to be frugal and to fund the pension fund out of state revenues as it rightfully should be. In fact, the defeat of the bond issue was also a precursor to what happened Tuesday as it showed that West Virginians would vote against the bad ideas of even the most popular politician in WV at the time (i.e. Joe Manchin) even as he rushed to personally appear in TV commercials which said "don't listen to that coal guy". Anyway, Evan is not a friend of coal, but unlike Rahall he is not a devout supporter of Obama either.

One observation that most will miss about Tuesday's election is the need for Associations to be more careful about who they support. The National Rifle Association (NRA) for example should take note of Rahall's loss in particular. The NRA has always taken the position that they will support incumbents like Rahall who have a record of opposing gun control regardless of their other votes or stated positions on other issues. I have tried to convince them and other single issue associations that this is a flawed policy. My view is that it makes no sense for the NRA to support a Rahall like candidate solely because he votes against gun control measures if he is also voting for Nancy Pelosi or similar politicians to be Speaker of the House or head of a committee. It is anti-gun democrats that pose a real threat to our right to bear arms and the NRA's support of those who then vote to empower Nancy Pelosi types who campaign on their support for gun control is illogical, shortsighted and insulting to NRA's paying Members. If Rahall had not been in Congress for 30 plus years voting for other Democrats empowered to put gun control on the agenda there would not have been so many legislative votes taken to take away your gun.

Another observation is that the UMWA has destroyed their political influence with West Virginians by previously supporting the likes of Al Gore, John Kerry, and Barack Hussein Obama. Actually the UMWA leadership has destroyed their union. I recall that when Massey bought the Bethlehem Steel mine at Van I spoke to the union members there and told them their unions' support of Al Gore was support for a man who would destroy their union because Gore was the man behind the Global Warming hoax. Later I overheard them talking in a group asking each other if what I was saying about Gore intending to take away their jobs was true. I guess by now they know I told them the truth.

I could say much more but this is too long already. Congratulations and thanks. And enjoy the balmy weekend courtesy of Global Warming.

-Don Blankenship

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