“I like the way he talks — straight,” she said, “not like that Hillary [Clinton], the way she got up there and shook her finger and said she’d shut every mine down. What would that do to West Virginia?” (In March, the Democratic presidential candidate had said in a CNN town hall that “we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business, right? . . . Now we’ve got to move away from coal and all the other fossil fuels.”)
Trump’s appeal here is stylistic as well as policy-driven, said David McCauley, the mayor of Buckhannon, the county seat, a pretty and bustling town of 5,700. It’s about coal, but also about being ornery and oppositional.
“Trump was just what people here have always been — skeptical of government, almost libertarian,” McCauley said. “He’s a West Virginia pipe dream: He’s going to undo the damage to the coal industry and bring back the jobs, and all of our kids down there in North Carolina are going to come home.”