Kentucky paper slams Mitch McConnell for gloating over Supreme Court while residents of his state suffer

Kentucky paper slams Mitch McConnell for gloating over Supreme Court while residents of his state suffer
Credit: Gage Skidmore

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is feeling elated: on Monday, October 26, the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination of far-right Judge Amy Coney to the Supreme Court. All Democrats in the Senate voted against her — including centrists like Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin — and the only Republican defector was Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. But journalist Linda Blackford, this week in a blistering op-ed for Kentucky.com, stresses that while McConnell is busy gloating, his own constituents in Kentucky are suffering because of the toll that the coronavirus pandemic has taken on Kentucky's economy.

"McConnell has not just failed to act (on) more COVID-19 relief that could help his struggling constituents, he has worked actively against it, while blaming Democrats," Blackford explains. "But it's clear that a long debate over aid might have distracted him from confirming Barrett, thus fulfilling his dearest, court-packing dreams, cementing his status as the wiliest tactician in history. Why should poor people in Kentucky get in the way of that?

Blackford points to Louisville resident Latrice Wilson as an example of someone who has struggled financially during the pandemic. Wilson, Blackford explains, "lost her full-time and part-time jobs back in April" but "kept her rent paid" because of COVID-19 relief aid — and Wilson told Kentucky.com that even though she got her job back, many others in Louisville have turned to food banks in order to keep eating.

In Kentucky, Blackford reports, God's Pantry Food Bank "has seen the highest food distribution in its 65-year-old history for four of the past six months." And a state fund to help renters avoid eviction, she adds, is "drying up" in Kentucky "just as COVID-19 rates are surging again."

Jason Bailey, executive director of the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy, told Kentucky.com, "I just don't think (McConnell) cares because it doesn't affect him. It doesn't change his political calculations. The stock market has recovered; so, that group of people is doing great. Job losses are concentrated at the very bottom. The pain is concentrated among the poorest people, and he has never been responsive to that."

McConnell is up for reelection this year in Kentucky, and according to recent polls, his Democratic challenger, Amy McGrath, is struggling. Even if Democrats regain control of the Senate on November 3, McConnell is unlikely to be one of the Republicans who is voted out of office. And if there is a blue wave and Democrats recapture both the White House and the Senate, McConnell would likely become Senate minority leader in 2021 — making him the most prominent Republican in a post-Donald Trump Washington, D.C.

Regardless, some Kentucky residents are furious with McConnell — including attorney Ben Carter of the Kentucky Equal Justice Center. Carter told Kentucky.com, "The Senate's failure to provide additional coronavirus aid is one of the most heinous non acts in recent legislative history. It was so obvious this was an 18-month proposition at least. We're in a really scary moment."

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