Sunday, October 30, 2016

West Virginia-- Its Own World Politically


National Democrats-- as opposed to reactionary "Manchin Democrats"-- have largely given up on West Virginia. In 2012 not only did Romney beat Obama 412,406 (62%) to 234,925 (36%), one of Obama's worst performances in America, but Romney won every single county in the state. This year doesn't look much better, although Hillary is ahead of Trump is Jefferson County (closest , and commuter-distance, to DC) and Monongalia counties and closing in on Kanawha, the biggest county in the state (Charleston) where Romney beat Obama by 12 points but where Hillary is just 4 points behind Trump. Still, the only two relatively recent polls of the state show Trump winning by either 18 points or 27 points.

The big turnout in the primary for Bernie, was just that-- a turnout for Bernie and his populist positions, not a turnout for the Democratic Party and not a turn out that's going to do much for Hillary a week from Tuesday. More Democrats (241,016 votes,) voted in the primary than Republicans (202,880). Bernie won every county (as did Trump). Bernie beat Hillary 123,860 (51.4%) to 86,354 (35.8%). There's been a ton of anecdotal evidence that many Bernie voters will either vote for Trump or skip voting for president altogether.

That said, there is also a gubernatorial race we've talked about before between a billionaire Trump-like fake-Democrat, Jim Justice, and a hack Republican careerist, Bill Cole. Justice won his primary with the same percentage as Bernie (although with more votes-- 131,845. Over 10,000 more Democrats voted in the gubernatorial primary than in the presidential primary. And polling shows Justice up over Cole by about 6 points.

However, there's another factor that isn't being accounted for in most polling. There is an actual Democrat in the race-- Mountain Party candidate Charlotte Pritt. The Mountain Party is the local Green Party affiliate and Pritt is a real life progressive Democrat who served in both the state House and the state Senate and once ran for governor as a governor, beating Joe Manchin, who-- to put it mildly-- holds a grudge and is doing everything he can-- and he totally controls the state Democratic Party-- to undercut Pritt on every level.

Thursday the Charleston Gazette-Mail endorsed Justice with an observation that they couldn't remember "a more uninspiring set of choices for West Virginia governor." The endorsement points out how excruciatingly bad both Justice and Cole are but then summarily dismissed Pritt as a protest vote that would only serve to elect the greater of two evils (Cole). A careful read of the endorsement would certainly be encouragement for anyone to stay home. But that would be a mistake. Pritt would make a great governor and she's worth supporting. I love the letter she wrote to the Gazette-Mail editorial board in response to their insulting endorsement of Justice.
I was shocked to see your endorsement of Jim Justice coming from the Gazette especially in light of the reports of Jim Justice’s mine safety and water pollution violations, and his default on taxes that could be used for dire educational needs.

It seems that a NON endorsement was in order for the Gazette, if you were unable to endorse Charlotte Pritt, the only candidate with “hands on” experience balancing the state budget (four years on the finance committee in the WV House), or the candidate with more legislative experience than all the other candidates combined, or the one with a 100% voting record on environmental issues like clean water, and fighting out-of-state toxic dumps coming to WV, or the only candidate who is against hydro-fracking and MTR, or the only candidate with a career voting record of 100% promoting senior citizens and AFL-CIO issues!

Perhaps the reason for the falsehood is that I am the ONLY candidate with the skill set needed to address the “budget crisis” and the ONLY candidate with a specific diversified economic development plan (See: What is most disturbing about this Gazette endorsement is the unprofessional and unethical creation of a false position that was NEVER discussed with me. That smear was your excuse for NOT endorsing the most qualified candidate for governor? [The paper realized they were wrong and removed the smear from their website.]

To say that I would not be a unifying presence for the state reveals either your ignorance of WV political history or else a complete misunderstanding of who West Virginians are. And more particularly, what we are capable of. According to Arch Moore, the 1996 Charlotte Pritt gubernatorial campaign was the most successful grassroots campaign in WV history: the 10,000 plus army of Pritt volunteers in my campaign were from ALL parties.

Only the most politically naive believe that there is any real difference between Jim Justice and Bill Cole. Both are Republicans and both will be controlled by ALEC/Koch Brothers. Jim Justice, Joe Manchin’s handpicked successor to Tomblin, will have a closer tie to ALEC/Koch Brothers because of Joe’s own close ties with ALEC since the early 1990’s. Both Justice and Cole are in an income bracket completely outside the range of those they would be governing.

As a Mountain Party governor, I represent ALL parties of WV because our members and those who vote for us are ISSUE oriented rather than LABEL oriented. In fact, a Charlotte Pritt governorship would be a mandate for governorship that empowers all West Virginians. My cabinet would consist of the best appointees from ALL parties. I would work with Senators, Delegates and citizens of ALL parties because my party and my base would come from BOTH and ALL party affiliations.

Despite your unfounded claim that I “would not be a unifying presence,” the only logical conclusion is that I am the only gubernatorial candidate capable of unifying our state.

Your opinion that “a vote for her is a vote for Bill Cole” not only underestimates my candidacy, it could have been directly lifted out of the Democratic party dirty tricks playbook used earlier this the campaign season.

A vote for Charlotte Pritt is a vote for my voting record and my principled stands for the eight years I served in the WV Legislature. A vote for Charlotte Pritt is a vote of trust by the people of WV!  A vote for Charlotte Pritt is a vote of principle not protest. They are voting for me because they have someone and something WORTH voting FOR!

Since the Gazette requires that those submitting letters to the editor give their names and telephone numbers, it seems only fair that the person who wrote the endorsement, including that smear, should follow the same guidelines that you demand from your contributors. The Voters and I deserve to know who on your staff actually wrote your Endorsement Editorial.
A poll from Global Strategy Group shows Justice ahead with 44% to Cole's 34% and with Pritt at 8%. Justice is winning self-described conservative Democrats 70-30%. Hillary is losing conservative Democrats to Trump 80-18%. Justice has said he won't vote for Hillary. Spending is pretty skewered towards the two reprehensible corporate party candidates. Justice has spent $4,361,913 ($3,274,403 of which is a loan from himself) and Cole has spent $2,557,341 (including a $500,000 loan from himself). Pritt has spent $5,176.

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