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Vox Sentences: A big eruption on Hawaii’s Big Island

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Don Blankenship makes more bizarre, racist attacks on Mitch McConnell’s family; a volcano in Hawaii is spewing lava.

A truly bipartisan issue: hating Don Blankenship

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
  • There’s an ex-convict coal baron running for US Senate in West Virginia who is trying to out-Trump President Trump and push the limits of 2018 ridiculousness. [NYMag / Gabriel Debenedetti]
  • Meet Don Blankenship, a West Virginia coal magnate and millionaire who is running in a competitive three-person Republican primary for who will go up against Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin in November. [WSJ / Siobhan Hughes and Kris Maher]
  • Yes, this is the same Don Blankenship who served prison time after being convicted of violating mine safety rules after 29 people died in one of his mines. [Grist / Mason Adams]
  • Now Blankenship is getting into politics, and Republicans really don’t want him to win because of the obviously bad optics of having an ex-con as the Republican nominee. Plus, a Blankenship-Manchin matchup would likely result in Manchin winning, which would rob Republicans of what they think could be an easy Senate pickup. [Vox / Dylan Scott]
  • Blankenship knows Republicans don’t want him in the Senate, so he’s been firing back with some truly bizarre (and racist) ads of his own targeting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his wife Elaine Chao, transportation secretary under Trump. [CNN / Eric Bradner]
  • First, Blankenship ran a television ad in which he dubbed McConnell “Cocaine Mitch” and accused him of being influenced by China in large part, it seems, due to his marriage to Chao. [Politico / Alex Isenstadt]
  • Then Blankenship released another ad referring to McConnell’s “China family.” After backlash, he’s defended his ad and insists he’s not racist because he’s never used a “race word.” He then went on to tell Roll Call reporter Simone Pathe: “Races are negro, white caucasian, Hispanic, Asian.” [Roll Call / Simone Pathe]
  • In the most ironic of twists, the New York Times has reported Blankenship’s fiancée is from China and that Blankenship has actually said he would consider moving there if he could become a citizen, because he likes that the country has fewer regulations. [NYT / Trip Gabriel and Stephanie Saul]

When the lava levee breaks

  • The Kilauea volcano on Hawaii’s largest island has started to erupt, prompting government officials to issue mandatory evacuation notices to residents. [CNN / Jason Hanna, Madison Park, and Joe Sutton]
  • The volcano is very active and started to emit smoke and some lava after hundreds of small earthquakes earlier this week. [NYT / Austin Ramzy]
  • About 1,700 people have been evacuated so far due to conditions like lava streaming through wooded areas and making it onto some public roads. [BBC]
  • The volcano spewing lava isn’t really new; it’s been happening since the 1980s. But the lava was flowing into a large crater that basically acted as a holding tank. This week, that crater essentially couldn’t hold any more, and the lava started to overflow into the residential areas below. [LA Times / Rong-Gong Lin II]


  • Health insurance policies increasingly have sky-high deductibles. For many sick Americans, that means delaying lifesaving treatments. [NYT / Reed Abelson]
  • Corey Lewandowski’s baaack (but was he ever really gone?). Trump’s ex-campaign manager wants to get more involved in the 2018 midterm cycle, and he’s mending relationships in Washington to do it. [BuzzFeed / Tarini Parti, Henry Gomez, and Chris Geidner]
  • A team of three 17-year-old black girls have been selected as finalists in the prestigious NASA high school competition for developing a way to purify lead-contaminated water in water fountains. But when users on 4chan, an anonymous online forum filled with racist invective, caught wind and tried to make sure they’d lose, the competition was thrown into chaos. [Washington Post / Perry Stein]
  • Some people love to microdose psychedelics, apparently to improve their mood and boost their creativity (not to sink into hours of wild hallucinations). [The Cut / Simone Kitchens]


“My favorite meat is hot dog, by the way. That is my favorite meat. My second favorite meat is hamburger. And everyone says, ‘oh don’t you prefer steak?’ It’s like, I know steaks are great but I like hot dog best and I like hamburger next best.” [Mitt Romney on meats to Washington Examiner / David Drucker]

Watch this: George H.W. Bush’s broken promise that changed the Republican Party

Bush’s pledge not to raise taxes led to repercussions still felt in conservative politics today. [YouTube / Liz Scheltens, Mallory Brangan, and AJ Chavar]

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