Chris Hedges interviews Eleanor Goldfield, director of the film, “Hard Road of Hope.” This is the state Joe (they don’t need any more money) Manchin represents.
- In the 2016 Democratic Primary, Bernie Sanders won all 55 countries in West Virginia. In the general election, however, Trump took 68.5 percent of the vote . This was his largest share of the vote in any state.
- By the time of the 2020 Democratic primary, Sanders had suspended his campaign (after the DNC annointed Joe Biden).
- Trump won 69 percent of the vote opposing Biden.
- West Virginia is the poorest state in the nation.
- The state is characterized by an opioid epidemic.
- The death rate in recent years from drug overdose has exceeded any other state.
- The cancer rates in the state are high.
- The southern part of the state has been turned into a toxic waste dump by coal companies.
- West Virginia is a “resource colony” and displays the consequent devastation in the environment and the health of the people living there.
- So, why in a state characterized by such poverty, illness and exploitation did people vote for Trump?
- Big Coal has orchestrated a decades old long propaganda campaign to convince people who should know better that big coal is their friend.
- People identify with big coal and express pride when they, for example, develop black lung disease. The disease demonstrates that they have worked hard all their lives to keep the “lights on” in America.
- If evidence comes to light of the egregious exploitation of big coal, people write it off as “bad companies.” These companies are the “bad apples” but not the harvest.
- West Virginians have been separated from their own radical past through the suppression of information about actions such as the 1921 armed uprising on Blair Mountain., where miners took on the coal industry.
- So, coal and fracking continue to result in environmental and health damage.
People in West Virginia believed Bernie Sanders would do something about changing the conditions of their lives. They, however, did not believe that the corporate Democrats (Clinton an Biden) would.