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Perfectly well-adjusted not-racist human being Don Blankenship


Don Blankenship, the convicted criminal running in the Republican primary for US Senate, has found what he seems to think is a surefire campaign strategy: Running against Mitch McConnell, who is actually from Kentucky, and reminding West Virginia voters at every opportunity that McConnell is married to Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, whose father, James Chao, was born in China. Last week, Blankenship suggested that McConnell was untrustworthy on China -- as opposed to just generally untrustworthy, which everyone agrees on -- because don't all those people know each other?

"I have an issue when the father-in-law is a wealthy Chinaperson and there's a lot of connections to some of the brass, if you will, in China," Blankenship said.

"I read in books that people think he's soft on China," he added.

BOOKS! Does Blankenship really want to claim association with those instruments of Satan? Also, what the fuck are you talking about? The Chinaperson is not the issue here. Also, the preferred nomenclature is Asian. Shut the fuck up, Donny, you're out of your element.

Nonetheless, Blankenship's campaign doubled down on the insistence that McConnell's marriage to Chao is some kind of national security threat, issuing an insane press release explaining why it was also perfectly cromulent to call McConnell "Cocaine Mitch" in a campaign ad:

Mitch McConnell and his family have extensive ties to China. His father-in-law who founded and owns a large Chinese shipping company has given Mitch and his wife millions of dollars over the years.

The company was implicated recently in smuggling cocaine from Colombia to Europe, hidden aboard a company ship carrying foreign coal was $7 million dollars of cocaine and that is why we’ve deemed him “Cocaine Mitch.”

Before we get to that cocaine idiocy, let's unpack that "Chinese shipping company": James Chao came to the United States in 1958. The shipping company he runs is based in New York. So yes, a total Chinese shipping company. The cocaine line comes from a 2014 Nation article about drugs having been found on a Chao-owned ship in Colombia, which is one hell of a stretch, but may be enough to convinced some very low-information voters. We can't stand Mitch McConnell, but Yr Wonkifact would rate that line "Pants on Fire" if we ever wore pants.

Blankenship was back yesterday with a new ad about "Chinapeople": claiming McConnell has "created millions of jobs for Chinapeople" and has been given "tens of millions of dollars" by his "China family."

Swamp captain Mitch McConnell has created millions of jobs for China people. While doing so, Mitch has gotten rich. In fact, his China family has given him tens of millions of dollars.

Blankenship objects to Republican opponents -- all of them swamp people -- "childishly calling me despicable and mentally ill," too. And his monotone delivery doesn't sound heavily sedated, no sir. The ad closes with Blankenship promising jobs for "West Virginia people," then hoisting up two very blond little girls and proclaiming he'll "ditch cocaine Mitch." Not deranged at all!

Don't worry about all the race-baiting, though, because it is only nationality-baiting, you see. About an American citizen who's lived here since 1958. Blankenship explained to Roll Call,

We’re confused on our staff as to how it can be racist when there’s no mention of a race. There’s no race. Races are negro, white caucasian, Hispanic, Asian. There’s no mention of a race. I’ve never used a race word.

Also, he is not touching you. He's not touching you. Why are you so upset, he is not touching your Chinaperson skin.

In other Blankenship developments, Mother Jones published an excellent story on Blankenship's campaign, which has tried to spin his involvement in the 2010 explosion of the Upper Big Branch mine into, of all things, a reason to vote for the guy whose coal company's lax safety procedures killed 29 miners. Out here in reality-world, Massey Energy, with Blankenship as CEO, had an extensive record of ignoring safety for the sake of increasing coal production, and that led to a coal dust buildup and the explosion.

But in Blankenship's imaginary world of dark conspiracies against energy producers, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) faked the investigation into the explosion to justify its war on coal, an out-of-control federal government leveled fake charges against him because he only wanted American energy independence, and the justice system that sent him to prison for a year was rigged, just like Donald Trump says it is, so you need to elect Don Blankenship to the Senate to eliminate the Deep State:

Blankenship contends he was scapegoated for the disaster because of a series of personal vendettas—because he had called out the Obama administration’s regulatory excess; because he had clashed with then-Gov. Manchin (who said that Blankenship had “blood on his hands” after the explosion); and because MSHA’s leadership had close connections to the union Blankenship crushed during his rise to power.

Along the way, Blankenship added all sorts of other dog-foghorns, saying that the federal prison he was in was just packed with undocumented aliens, and running an ad prominently featuring all the black judges who conspired against him to help "Hussein Obama" put him away. Hey, it's not Bankenship's fault that Joe Manchin is the only white face in the ad -- he just happened to agree with all those black people.

In the course of reporting the story, Mother Jones reporters went to an advertised Blankenship meet-the-candidate event in a diner, and were ejected by Rob Cornelius, the county GOP chair -- audio of that little episode made for a nice promo for the article, which ran yesterday on World Press Freedom Day:

It's a hell of a good longread on the history of the Upper Big Branch disaster, Blankenship's role in it, and his incredibly cynical attempts to ride his crime into a Senate seat by exploiting the Trump strategy of claiming the justice system is rigged. As we say, read the whole thing.

With the primary coming up on Tuesday, Blankenship appears to be fading against the other two Republican candidates, who are horrible in their own ways, but less stridently evil than Blankenship. But the polling in West Virginia has been sparse, so there's really no telling what the actual results will be. And in the meantime, Blankenship is doing his level best to remind people he's the pro-blonde-children candidate who'll protect the state from hippie journalists and too much freedom of the press. And he's doing it all without mentioning race at all.

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[Mother Jones / CNN / NYDN / CNN / Roll Call]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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