Don Blankenship to Trump: You are now the president of fake news

I needled him yesterday for being unwilling to say an unkind word about Trump in his concession speech, even after POTUS had helped squash his primary chances. But he did throw a few jabs afterward on Facebook.

Thought: Should a guy who spent much of his primary campaign trying to tie Mitch McConnell to cocaine trafficking be lecturing people about “fake news”?

I say yes, dammit.

The attacks on me began 33 years ago and culminated with my being falsely charged with three felonies. Even though the odds of beating three felonies are at least 150 to 1, I did beat all three that were levied against me. However, I was then sent to prison for a fake misdemeanor charge and conviction — a fact your son, Mitch McConnell, and even Fox News all ignore when they call me a felon…

I share most all of your policy views, but I refrain from taking positions based on fake news and swampers’ rhetoric. You, of all people, should also refrain from doing so.

You, yourself, also spread fake news against me. Your interference in the West Virginia election displayed a lack of understanding of the likely outcome of the upcoming general election. Patrick Morrisey will likely lose the general election. It’s too late to change that, but it’s not helpful to do to me what others are doing to you.

“Blankenship can’t win a general election” isn’t fake news, it’s a judgment, and almost certainly a correct one. But fairness requires me to note that by Trump’s own definition of “fake news,” in which anything negative is necessarily “fake,” he is indeed guilty as charged:

The real fake news in West Virginia, notes pollster Scott Rasmussen, was that Blankenship was ever a serious threat to win the primary. He points out, as I did yesterday, that Blankenship was running third in the few public polls taken in the state. The idea of a late Blankenship surge caught on in the media partly because of the internal polls that were leaking but partly too because after Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle and Todd Akin and Roy Moore and (maybe) Kelli Ward or Joe Arpaio in Arizona, no one trusts GOP primary voters not to lunge for terrible primary candidates just because they’re noisily anti-establishment.

Sadly, many national Republican political operatives also have a condescending view of their party’s voters. They were ready to believe in a Blankenship surge because they feared those voters weren’t smart enough to understand what was at stake.

When the votes were counted, however, it was the journalists and operatives who looked foolish. Their frenzied speculation in the election’s final days were as far off the mark as their discussions about how big the Hillary Clinton landslide victory would be in 2016.

Once again, the elites demonstrated how little they understand the American people.

An interesting postscript to the Trump/Blankenship standoff: POTUS phoned Blankenship yesterday, presumably after his little Facebook missive went live, and cordially congratulated him on his campaign. (As of last night, Trump hadn’t yet touched base with the man who actually won the primary, Patrick Morrisey.) Is that because Trump was uneasy with a fellow populist effectively calling him a sellout on social media? Nah. Almost certainly it’s because Blankenship has flirted with the idea of making trouble for the GOP nominee in the general election. He suggested at one point that he might run as an independent, but West Virginia’s “sore loser” laws will prevent that. He could, however, make a point of telling his supporters not to support Morrisey, which might keep just enough populists home in November to tilt the election to Joe Manchin. I doubt Blankenship’s support will matter once Trump shows up in-state to campaign for the nominee, but just to be on the safe side, POTUS may have to make nice with him for the next few months. A unified party is a party maximizing its chances of victory. Being conciliatory to Blankenship helps with that.

Exit quotation from the man who coined the term “Cocaine Mitch” and used it as a serious argument to voters to support him in the primary: “Mitch McConnell’s cocaine tweet is just more proof that he is not an America person. Thousands die from cocaine use year after year, and he thinks it’s funny that his family’s shipping business hauls cocaine on the high seas. It is not funny. It is sickening.”