For decades, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has made sure to take good care of his home state, showering them with lots of federal aid and making sure business and workers were happy with how things were progressing in the Bluegrass State.
And then the novel coronavirus arrived and turned everything upside down, leading to mass unemployment and businesses on the verge of collapse in Kentucky, which is causing many to blame McConnell for failing to care for them at a time when they most need help to survive, according to the Washington Post:
“About five months after Kentucky reported its first loss of life from covid-19, its economy continues to sputter amid the coronavirus pandemic. Many unemployed workers say their benefit checks aren’t enough to afford their bills, and some here simply have stopped looking for jobs. Businesses say they’re also hemorrhaging cash, and local governments fear they’re on the precipice of financial ruin, too.
“The economic tumult in Kentucky is vast, and it has added new urgency to the political standoff on Capitol Hill, where the prospect of a prolonged deadlock could worsen the financial woes in a state that was hurting long before the pandemic arrived. Caught in the middle is McConnell, 78, who some critics say has struggled to navigate the priorities of the president, the political desires of a fractious Republican conference and the economic needs in his own backyard.”
Adding to the danger for McConnell is the fact that he’s trying to run for another term in the Senate and facing a strong challenge from Amy McGrath, his Democratic opponent. Even though polls show McConnell ahead of McGrath, almost three months remain until Election Day, and much could change that might endanger McConnell’s chances of reelection.
Consider what some Kentuckians are saying about McConnell:
- Kenny Saylor “had been driving his own truck, hauling returns six days a week for Amazon to the pallet stores that sell off consumers’ unwanted purchases.” Now, however, Saylor laments that he’s on the verge of “losing everything.”
- Michael Holland used to make a good living wiring Amazon and Toyota factories before COVID-19 put him in the ranks of the unemployed. The $600 a week of additional unemployment benefits he had been receiving has, he notes, been a “lifeline.” But McConnell and Senate Republicans have failed to renew funding for enhanced unemployment benefits.
- Ouita Michel owns several restaurants across scattered across central Kentucky. Sales at her restaurants are down a whopping 72 percent compared to the same period last year.
Yet despite pleas for help, McConnell has yet to bring a bill to the floor of the Senate for additional aid to help struggling workers and businesses in Kentucky. And while that may not cost him reelection in such a deeply red state, it could wind up leaving the state weaker economically than it’s been in decades.
At a recent protest of Kentucky representatives from the AFL-CIO, Teamsters and other labor groups, the signs carried by workers said it all regarding what they expect from their senator:
“Mitch better have my money.”
So far, however, no money is flowing.
Featured Image Via NBC News