Ever since their race began, Senator Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes have each insisted they're the only choice who can save coal jobs for the hard-working families in Eastern and Western Kentucky. It makes sense they'd both covet the votes of such a significant portion of Kentucky's electorate. But unfortunately, any rosy picture either one paints of a return to coal's heyday is simply wrong.
There is a War on Coal. While President Obama may be working against coal's interests, the real enemy is new energy technologies that are steadily making coal irrelevant by being cleaner, safer, more efficient or renewable. In short, the invisible hand of the market is gradually reducing the coal industry to the status of buggy whip manufacturer, and nothing the government does or says will be able to change the fact that it's far past its glory years.
Both candidates would serve their coal-mining constituents better by leveling with them on this topic, rather than cynically manipulating them. Because only those who can see the real future clearly will have the ability to prepare and adjust for it in time to avoid personal disaster.
Pandering to your constituents as simpleton children who don't know better is no way to win their hearts and minds. But all this cynical posturing certainly could earn their contempt.
Call and tell us how you feel about the coal issue.