EDITORIAL: Jenkins ad prompts troubling questions


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A week ago, a video from Congressman Evan Jenkins and his family began circulating on Facebook. In the video, Jenkins, a republican seeking incumbent democrat Joe Manchin’s senate seat this November, introduces his family as they each look straight into the camera, nodding and smiling as the congressman speaks, an odd and uncomfortable scene that brings on an unsettling ‘Stepford Wives’ vibe.

Framing the video is, of course, his logo for his campaign, but also something truly disturbing. Directly under the video sits the words, “let’s send Trump a senator!”

“West Virginia and Donald Trump needs a senator we can count on,” Jenkins said. “I’m the only candidate in the race for U.S. Senate who has supported Donald Trump since day one, and is working side-by-side with the president to truly make America great again.”

Upon analysis of this troubling slogan, West Virginians should be wary of any politician claiming undying support of the president. The founding fathers created three separate and distinct branches of government for a reason. Anybody who has taken a high school civics class is well familiar with the system of checks and balances, and this video ad is a direct slap in the face to the constitutional philosophy fundamental to the structure of our nation.

The legislative branch exists to hold the president accountable. This is one of congress’s greatest responsibilities. It is a dangerous thing to send lawmakers to Washington who are unwilling to do this essential part of their job, on account of party politics and opportunism. A senator should desire to serve in congress for the sole purpose of representing and advocating for their home state. That’s all.

It is curious as to why Jenkins would campaign as a puppet for the president, but regardless of the political strategy behind the phrase, under the surface lies a dangerous and disturbing message. West Virginians should be deeply concerned by this slogan.

West Virginia doesn’t need to send Trump a senator. They need to send their people a senator, one who will fight for them no matter the political cost. West Virginia needs a champion in Washington. A much more appropriate slogan would read, “let’s send West Virginians a senator!”

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