Hillary Clinton's chances of winning in the coal states of West Virginia and Kentucky in a general election are "slim to none," but going into those states is a "smart thing to do" given the divisive problems the Republican Party is facing, political strategist Karl Rove said Monday.
"It's good chance for her to make the case not just in the primary, but in these very difficult red states that will likely go Republican anyway," Rove told Fox News' "Happening Now"
Clinton wants West Virginia's delegates, Rove said, as she's trailing challenger Bernie Sanders by several points. She is making several campaign stops through the state on Monday and Tuesday, but after controversial statements she made concerning the coal industry, she is not being met with open arms like she was in 2008, when voters favored her by far over then-Sen. Barack Obama.
And as Obama has made the coal agenda part of his administration, Clinton likely won't be able to separate herself from that and convince voters in the Appalachian coal states that she is not an enemy of coal as well.
Over the weekend, West Virginians showed that neither Clinton, nor her husband Bill are welcome in parts of the state where coal mines drive the local economy.
On Sunday, the former president was heckled by crowd members at an appearance in Logan, West Virginia, after he spoke to a crowd and telling them that his wife would not make promises she could not keep, reports CBS News
"We want work!" one man shouted, and Clinton responded that the country would be better off if there were more meetings and less "screaming and shouting."
Meanwhile, supporters for both Sanders and GOP front-runner Donald Trump gathered outside the school where the former president was speaking, and Logan officials had sent Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin a letter saying that the political couple were "simply not welcome in our town," reports WVNS News
in Ghent, West Virginia.
"The policies that have been championed by people like Mrs. Clinton have all but devastated our fair town, and honestly, enough is enough," the letter, written after the Clinton campaign requested use of the city's fire department hall for a rally, said.
"We wish them the best in their campaign, however we again state they are not welcome on our city properties."
Rove on Monday said that he does not expect to see Clinton return to West Virginia between the primary and election, and he'd be surprised to see her go back to Kentucky.
"They have a choice between the Clinton economy, the Bush economy and Obama economy," he said. "They clearly don't like the Obama economy and it was the Clinton administration that began to move against coal, with EPA support, for a decision that would stop mountaintop mining in West Virginia."
For that same reason, he continued, President George W. Bush won West Virginia by 6 points after Bob Dole lost it to Clinton in 1996 by 16 points, and why Bush won Kentucky by double digits.
"In West Virginia, they are socially and economically conservative and populist and that is not the right mix for the Democrats in 2016," said Rove. "These are states that are going to be in the Republican column, particularly West Virginia."
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