The frustrating truth behind Trump’s promises to coal country – by Philip Bump (Washington Post – March 14, 2017)

President Trump celebrated the February job gains announced last week in a tweet Tuesday morning that was chock-full of graphics from Fox Business network. Included in the highlights are two bits of data that were central to Trump’s campaign argument: increases in employment in manufacturing and in mining.

The importance of Trump’s insistence that he would bring back coal mining jobs — a claim he made repeatedly — was reinforced in a recent Post article looking at the concerns of voters in West Virginia, the heart of Appalachian coal country.

Our Jessica Contrera spoke with a man named Clyde, who explained the mental calculation that went into his support of Trump last year, despite worries that his election might negatively affect his Medicaid.

As for the other problems in his life, he has put his hopes in Trump, who came to West Virginia saying he would bring back coal and put miners back to work. When Trump mentioned repealing Obamacare, Clyde wasn’t sure what that might mean for his Medicaid. But if he had a job that provided health insurance, he reasoned, he wouldn’t need Medicaid anyway, so he voted for Trump, along with 74 percent of McDowell County.

He recognized that Trump’s pledge to roll back Obamacare was sincere and possible. But he didn’t recognize that Trump’s rhetoric on coal jobs wasn’t. It’s true that the most recent jobs report showed an uptick in the mining industry. That data, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows the evolution of the industry over time. The little box at the end highlights a recent upturn.

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