My new theory on why Trump urged West Virginians not to vote for Don Blankenship is that he’s jealous he’s never come up with a nickname as bad-ass as “Cocaine Mitch.” He was the master at coining memorably dopey monikers to belittle his enemies until Blankenship came along and slapped one on McConnell that makes him sound like a drug lord.

Which is funny for many reasons, but especially this one from Mary Katharine Ham: Given that Cocaine Mitch resembles a turtle, how slow and soporific would he be without the cocaine?

Anyway, if someone gives you a nickname that involves illegal drugs, you’re culturally obliged to own it. Glad to see McConnell is playing ball. And sad that Speaker Ryan is still resisting my dogged attempts to get him to start calling himself “Fentanyl Paul.”

From the Times story, it was indeed the Senate’s King Cokehead who nudged Trump to give Blankenship a thumbs down on Twitter:

Mr. Trump’s decision to speak out on the race came after Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, whom Mr. Blankenship has targeted in a deeply personal manner, urged the president in a telephone call to weigh in against the controversial former coal executive, according to a Republican official familiar with the conversation…

Mr. Trump did not need convincing, but some West Wing aides believe the fight is more about Mr. McConnell, the majority leader, than the president. And they grumbled in the hours after the tweet that some of the same lawmakers, namely Mr. McConnell, are inconsistent when it comes to what Mr. Trump’s policy should be on engaging in primaries.

Blankenship has to pull his punches in hitting back at Trump lest he alienate POTUS’s voters and, more importantly, blow any chance he has of getting Trump to campaign for him this fall. He’s following the same populist playbook as Roy Moore did when Trump endorsed a different candidate in the primary: Don’t blame Trump, blame the swamp gas that’s momentarily overwhelmed him and made him have crazy thoughts like “a guy with 29 dead miners on his record probably isn’t winning a Senate seat in West Virginia.”

The President is a very busy man and he doesn’t know me, and he doesn’t know how flawed my two main opponents are in this primary.

The establishment is misinforming him because they do not want me to be in the U.S. Senate and promote the President’s agenda…

As some have said, I am Trumpier than Trump and this morning proves it.

The last part is arguably true, at least, right down to their interactions as private citizens with the “China people”. Trump did business there but Blankenship reportedly once considered becoming a Chinese citizen because he’d have fewer regulations to deal with. “I’m actually considering moving to China or somewhere and being more like George Washington if I can get citizenship,” he said in 2009, per the Times. “I can probably get citizenship in India. I’d rather be in China.” His own fiancee was born in China, in fact. Maybe when he sniffed about Cocaine Mitch being bankrolled by his “China family,” he meant it as a compliment?

He posted an internal poll this afternoon claiming that he now has a 17-point lead on his nearest opponent: Blankenship 37, Morrisey 20, Jenkins 15. If those numbers are accurate there are still enough undecideds left to push Morrisey or even Jenkins to victory, but they’d need to be distributed lopsidedly to one or the other. This, again, was the flaw in Trump’s tweet this morning. Instead of endorsing one or the other of them, he simply encouraged West Virginians not to vote for Blankenship. Based on Blankenship’s poll, if undecideds split 50/50 between Morrisey and Jenkins with not a single vote going to Blankenship, he still wins the race. Which means it’s time for POTUS to start considering a hard question: Will he campaign for Blankenship this fall if he’s the nominee? The argument in favor is obvious, that control of the Senate may well depend on swiping this seat from Joe Manchin. The argument against is that God only knows what else Blankenship will say on the trail about Cocaine Mitch, the “China people,” “negroes,” etc. If Trump buddies up to him, he’ll be made to own it every time Blankenship cuts loose with a word-fart.