Don Blankenship is done. Nihilist populism is not.

Compare and contrast President Trump and the Blankenship populism. Trump promised to go to Washington and drain the cliche swamp to restore the system. It requires a sort of hope and something to conserve. Blankenship pledged, on the other hand, to go to Washington and undermine the status quo. He didn’t offer any hope, only his own victimhood.

From the moment Blankenship declared his candidacy, he ran his campaign on his martyrdom. The economy was rigged. He pointed at all the regulations imposed by democracy. The political powers were conspiring against him. He griped about Republicans not willing to support an ex-con. The judicial system was corrupt. He insisted his prison sentence was a miscarriage of justice at the hands of the Obama administration.

All of this is absolutely crazy. None of this could persuade a chunk of West Virginia to vote for a more reasonable candidate. Everyone should be concerned because populism, in whatever shade it takes, won’t end with Trump.

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