Does Andy Beshear’s win mean Kentucky is ready to move off coal?

Tuesday’s election results brought some upsets, perhaps none more dramatic than Kentucky’s gubernatorial race: In that deep red state, where President Trump’s commitment to defending the coal industry helped him win by 30 points in 2016, a Democrat nonetheless just eked out a win for governor.

Kentuckians’ understandable desire for economic prosperity, their association of that prosperity with coal, and the resulting perception that they must support Republicans to defend coal, have all formed a tightly-mortared political brick wall — one that’s been nearly impossible for Democrats to break through. Tuesday’s results certainly don’t portend a collapse of that wall. But they do suggest some cracks are growing.

First, let’s set this event in its proper context, so no one gets too excited. Democrat Andy Beshear, up until now Kentucky’s Attorney General, and the son of the state’s last Democratic governor, appears to have won by the thinnest of margins. His opponent and the current governor, Republican Matt Bevin, has yet to concede. Bevin is known for an exceedingly abrasive style, and has won no favors in Kentucky by picking fights with everyone from state public employees to journalists to judges. In particular, Bevin got into battles with the state’s teachers, a popular constituency that Beshear eagerly embraced. Basically, Bevin went out of his way to make himself toxic despite the popularity of the GOP’s national brand in the state, and Beshear still just squeaked by.

Nor did Beshear exactly go out of his way to yoke himself to the Democratic Party’s climate warriors or the idea of a Green New Deal. When Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) a presidential candidate and one of the GND’s biggest boosters, campaigned in Kentucky, Beshear notably didn’t join him. When asked about climate change and the Democrats’ enthusiasm for a GND, …read more

Source:: The Week – Science