W. Virginia Justice: Governor jumps parties from Dems to GOP

Gov. Jim Justice, West Virginia, announces he’s changing political parties. (YouTube, Associated Press)

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice just gave Democrats a stinging slap in the face as he announced he was changing party affiliation before a raucous crowd who turned out to see President Donald Trump in Huntington Thursday night.

This leaves only 15 Democrat governors in the 50 states, including all three on the West Coast: California’s Jerry Brown, Oregon’s Kate Brown and Washington’s Jay Inslee. Republican governors outnumber Democrats by more than a 2-to-1 margin.

The 66-year-old first-time West Virginia governor who ran as a Democrat declared, “Like it or not like it, but the Democrats walked away from me.”

According to the Associated Press, Justice had been to visit the president earlier in the summer to talk about job creation in the furniture industry, and getting coal mines open. Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton had intimated during her campaign she would put the coal industry out of business. West Virginia is coal mining country.

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The state went hard for Trump in November, a marked shift politically. At one time, the AP noted, West Virginia was solid Democrat territory. But issues ranging from jobs to gun rights have changed the political landscape.

Justice’s decision sends a tremor through the Democrat party, and it might have long-term impact. According to the website atr.org operated by Americans for Tax Reform, the population in GOP-controlled states s 164,139,104, while the population in Democrat-controlled states is 50,190,213. It is not clear how recent those population figures are, but the map on that page suggests strongly that it is not people like Justice who are out of touch, but members of his now-former political party.

This comes at a time when it appears Democrats are having troubles while they’ve been trying hard to paint the president as troubled.

Fox News is running an opinion piece by Wall Street Journal writer Kimberly Strassel headlined

“Debbie Wasserman Schultz, House Democrats and the incredible scandal the mainstream media wants you to ignore.” It’s about the arrest of Imran Awan, the former congressional staffer now accused of bank fraud. He was arrested at Dulles International Airport last month while trying to board a flight to Pakistan.

Here’s part of what Strassel wrote:

“Mr. Awan and his family on separate accusations of government theft. The details are tantalizing: The family all worked for top Democrats, were paid huge sums, and had access to sensitive congressional data, even while having ties to Pakistan.

“The media largely has ignored the affair, the ho-hum coverage summed up by a New York Times piece suggesting it may be nothing more than an ‘overblown Washington story, typical of midsummer.’ But even without evidence of espionage or blackmail, this ought to be an enormous scandal.”

If Justice was a Republican switching to become a Democrat, it might be safely assumed the story would be the front page headline at the New York Times and many other left-leaning “mainstream” newspapers. He would be the darling of cable news networks other than Fox News.

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