The target of Bill Clinton’s assault were "The Coal People" who he certainly suggests would be a portion of what Hillary calls "the basket of deplorables" that are supporting the candidacy of her opponent outwardly mocking their opposition to democratic candidates and minimizing their economic plight as that of a bunch of complainers.
"Now I want to say one other thing. We all know how her opponent (Trump) is doing real well down in West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky because the coal people don’t like any of us anymore," said Bill Clinton. "They all voted for me. I won twice and they did well. And they blame the President when the sun doesn’t come up in the morning now."
It is true that "The Coal People" of West Virginia and Kentucky did vote for Bill Clinton in large numbers with the candidate securing 51.5% of the popular vote in WV and 45.8% in KY in 1996. However, many in these communities now blame Bill Clinton’s trade and environmental policies – foremost NAFTA – for destroying the industrial core of the United States and leaving them to face systematic unemployment.
So-called coal country went from the starting point in the US industrial process providing the fuel for manufacturing and a component part for steel to the nation’s most economically depressed region with its primarily Caucasian residents facing greater shortcomings in income, nutrition and substance abuse than even the most disadvantaged minority communities – a downward economic trend largely fueling the popularity of Republican Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” message.