DITCHING MITCH: A Crowdsourced Look at the Roots of a WV Senate President’s Ouster


Editor’s NotePad | Douglas John Imbrogno | june24.2020


One mission in hoisting the flag for the Independent Media State of WestVirginiaVille is to be an archival multimedia library of record. In the clatter and clutter of the interwebs, things get lost and context can go missing-in-action. So, it is we share these two videos below.

It perhaps came as a surprise to casual observers of West Virginia’s ossified political scene that W.Va. Senate Majority Leader Mitch Carmichael was sent packing in this month’s 2020 West Virginia primary.

For those who dream of a state not repeatedly sold-to-the-highest-out-of-state- bidder and less crammed with good-old-boys (as the W.Va. Can’t Wait folks put it, perhaps a tad too often) , it was a smidgen of a revelation.

Things can change in West Virginia politics, by Jove—if incrementally.

As Charleston Gazette-Mail statehouse columnist Phil Kabler observed in the election’s aftermath, with the defeat of 10 incumbent legislators, the West Virginia Legislature will have a markedly different makeup when it reconvenes in February for its 2021 session.


One of the long-serving incumbents defeated Tuesday, Delegate Daryl Cowles, R-Morgan, said Wednesday he could not recall a previous time when so many incumbents were defeated in a primary election. All 10 incumbent legislators apparently defeated Tuesday … are Republicans, three state senators and seven delegates.

“Once you put a title on someone, whether it’s Senate president or House speaker pro tem, you kind of have a target on your back,” Cowles said, in one explanation for the purge.

https://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/with-defeat-of-10-republican-incumbents-tuesday-legislature-will-have-a-different-look-in-2021/article_c28fae45-351e-59a9-8ebf-627df033f7e2.html

The Purge

So, we’re going to go with that word ‘purge.’ Running the word through thesaurus.com yields a bunch of colorful brother-and-sister words:

Now, it’s true the big kahuna slipped out of reach of the only alt-political movement going at the moment in the state: the W.Va. Can’t Wait effort to nominate Stephen Smith as the state’s governor came up short.

But a bunch of other W.Va. Can’t Wait candidates made it through the primary. And—what better evidence there’s a new game in town—W.Va. Can’t Wait candidate Hillary Turner eked out a victory in the Democratic primary over another W.Va. Can’t Wait candidate.

Then, there was the purging of Mitch.

Speaking of targets and backs, Carmichael had a large one on his from the internationally-covered West Virginia teachers’ strike. The strike crowded the state capitol grounds from Feb. 22 to March 6, 2018, as teachers and other school staff flocked to the capitol complex. They especially focused their fury at the Senate president.

The crowd-sourced videos that follow vividly capture the moment, as well as the roots of the strike, courtesy of the Charleston Gazette-Mail’s excellent education beat scribe (and my former colleague) Ryan Quinn.

One of the strike refrains was to “Remember in November” and to “Ditch Mitch.”

So it has come to be.

I quarterbacked the crowd-sourcing and editing of this two-part video series for the Gazette-Mail, picking through more than 500 submissions of photos and videos submitted by striking school personnel, mixed with work by Gazette-Mail photographers and myself.

I hereby enter these videos into the Multimedia Historical Records of the Great State of WestVirginiaVille.


PS: Proud Dad Alert: My son is an electronic music composer who goes by Lucas the Flow and I use a lot of his music for my videos. The song powering the Part 2 video below, “Angelic,” is absolutely one of my favorites among his many tunes. More here.


PART 1: A Crowd-Sourced Portrait of the Great West Virginia Teachers Strike of 2018.

PART 2: A Crowd-Sourced Portrait of the Great West Virginia Teachers Strike of 2018.

RELATED:

There was even an original song about ditching Mitch Carmichael, performed by Emily Jo Tanzey, titled “Move Mitch, Get Out the Way.” Here’s a short excerpt from one of the videos above:



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