Invoking noble coal miners is a mainstay of American politics
Posted by admin on 25th April 2018

President Donald Trump recently visited West Virginia for the fourth time since taking office. He’s more popular there than in any other state, partly because of his avowed passion for coal and coal miners.

As he put it at a campaign rally in Charleston, when he visited in May 2016, “I’ve just always been fascinated by the mines and the courage of the miners.” He also promised “to put the miners back to work.”

For decades, presidents, lobbyists and policymakers have invoked the image of coal miners. In researching the history of West Virginia’s coalfield economy, I have found many examples of coal miners being used as symbols of bravery, hard work and manliness to achieve political ends.