Sunday, September 11, 2022

#2565: Don Blankenship

Donald Leon Blankenship is an American business executive and (unsuccessful) political candidate. Blankenship is most famous as Chairman and CEO of the Massey Energy Company from 2000 until an explosion at the Upper Big Branch coal mine in 2010 killed 29 miners, cost him his position and landed him in jail for conspiring to willfully violate mine safety and health standards. He tried to run on the Constitution Party ticket in 2018 on a platform consisting mostly of opposing mining safety and environmental measures, as well as claiming that he was innocent of his crimes and would have walked free were it not for dirty politics and conspiracies. Blankenship is otherwise an absolutely horrible human being, to the point of functioning quite well as a straightforward parody of a cartoon villain.


His political campaigns have to a large extent targeted environmental “crazies” and “greeniacs”. Blankenship is of course a climate change denier (“I don’t believe climate change is real”, saying “Why should we trust a report by the United Nations? The United Nations includes countries like Venezuela, North Korea and Iran” – one could point out that these countries also believe in gravity, but that might give him ideas). According to Blankenship “the environmental movement isn’t a great cause, it’s a great business”, as opposed to his own coal industry. In 2018, he modified himself a little, admitting that “climate change is probably a fact” but that American-made climate change is not, it’s just China’s contributions that actually lead to climate change.


He also rejects mainstream views on mine safety, arguing against government airheads telling mining companies what to do: mining companies themselves are way better suited to the task and should have less oversight: “Washington and state politicians have no idea how to improve miners’ safety.” (The quote is from 2009, the year before the Upper Big Branch explosion.)


During his 2018 campaign, Blankenship tried to promote himself as “Trumpier than Trump but complained that the establishment was pushing misinformation about him because they felt threatened. His campaign targeted in particular Mitch McConnell, for instance by stating that McConnell’s wife Elaine Chao was a “China person (when asked whether the comment was racist, Blankenship said it wasn’t, because the Chinese are not a race: “Races are Negro, White Caucasian, Hispanic, and Asian”. So there you go.) He also got into some controversy over repeatedly calling Mitch McConnell “cocaine Mitch”, relying a conspiracy theory based on conflating an impressive number of degrees of separation (Trump himself endorsed Blankenship’s opponent).


Diagnosis: A piece of absolutely putrid rot. One of the vilest pieces of garbage alive today. Absolutely everything, on every possible level, is wrong with this excuse for a person.


  1. Got to be pretty low to be the moral inferior of Mitch McConnell.

  2. "Trumpier than Trump" isn't quite the flex that Blankenship thinks it is.