In 2008, Hillary Clinton won the West Virginia Democratic primary. But just eight years later, many residents of the “Mountain State” have rescinded their support - and it's all because of a comment she made regarding the push for green energy:
“We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”
The problem, in a nutshell, is that coal miners and coal companies are the backbone of West Virginia's economy. In fact, West Virginia is the largest coal producer east of the Mississippi River - and only second to Wyoming nationwide.
Her comments have been taken personally by the people of West Virginia.
The mining town of Logan even went so far as to publicly announce that Clinton and her surrogates were not welcome to campaign in their area.
From a letter Logan officials sent to Senator Joe Manchin:
“Bill and Hillary Clinton are simply not welcome in our town. Mrs. Clinton’s anti-coal messages are the last thing our suffering town needs at this point. The policies that have been championed by people like Mrs. Clinton have all but devastated our fair town, and honestly, enough is enough. We wish them the best in their campaign, however we again state they are not welcome on our city’s properties.”
Independent Journal Review spoke with West Virginia coal miner — and U.S. veteran — Allen Lardieri, who talked about why Clinton's comments are enough to drive people away from her:
"Mining is a decent means to raise a family in southern West Virginia. Here, there are no other industries that allow the level of comfort (economically) that coal mining does.
Hillary's comments about coal mining are like most of her other comments an actions: inconsiderate, blinded by agenda, and deadly. She has no concern of how her actions negatively affect others."
Lardieri calls mining “a recessive gene” in his family - his grandfather worked in the coal industry - but many others have known nothing else for generations.
Independent Journal Review also spoke to Jordan Bridges, a fourth generation miner, who explained what mining means to the many families who depend on it as their livelihood:
"Mining to me means honest work for honest pay. It's a source of pride. I am able to provide for my family.
And before Obama and his coal-killing policies, I was able to provide a great living for my wife and kids. But now we are cut back to just getting by.
And if Hillary has her way she will end our way of life.
One thing I can't understand is how a president of the United States can proudly say they will bring an American industry to its knees and be happy about that. We are real families at the end of their insane policies. We are not numbers on paper, we have real lives and are American citizens. How can they proudly say they will put us out of work and have us lose everything we have worked for hard for.
All I hear from them is we have to help coal country. It's all talk! If they wanted to help us, they would either let us continue to work while they slowly transfer people and jobs over to a different industry. One job site at a time. But all they want to do is put is out of work with no where to go. I Will NOT be voting for Hillary.
I have and will continue to fight for our coal jobs America needs all the jobs we can get. And the federal Government needs to get off our backs and let us have a fat chance to make it."
Clinton's unpopularity in West Virginia has left a convenient opening for Republican nominee Donald Trump:
Former West Virginia Representative Nick Rahall, who supports Clinton, admits that she has a tough battle ahead: “It’s an uphill battle for Hillary in this state both in the primary and certainly much steeper uphill battle in the general election.”