Election Results a Warning for Climate Deniers

November 9, 2017


But then, they’ve never been very good at recognizing warning signs.
Repub strategist below unconsciously chooses an apt metaphor.

Washington Post:

A wave of Democratic victories ignited a ferocious debate across the Republican Party on Wednesday over whether President Trump’s un­or­tho­dox behavior and polarizing agenda are jeopardizing the GOP’s firm grip on power in Congress, governors’ mansions and state legislatures.

The recriminations sparked by Tuesday’s results — a decisive rebuke of Trump and his policies in Virginia and elsewhere — threatened the fragile GOP push to pass sweeping tax cuts by the end of the year and raised deeper questions about Republican identity and fealty to a historically unpopular president.

A year ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, Republicans are increasingly uncertain about keeping their majorities on Capitol Hill and are worried about how damaging Trump’s jagged brand of politics may become to the party.

“Donald Trump is an anchor for the GOP,” said veteran party strategist Mike Murphy, a Trump critic. “We got that message in loud volume in Virginia. The ­canary in the coal mine didn’t just pass out; its head exploded.”

Inside Climate News:

Americans in many states and cities across the country elected leaders on Tuesday who have pledged to address climate change despite—and even rebuking—the recalcitrant Trump administration.

Newly elected governors, mayors and state legislators from the East Coast to the West won on platforms including carbon pricing and clean energy incentives that will bolster ongoing efforts at city, state and regional levels to combat climate change.

These efforts have received newfound urgency in the wake of both President Donald Trump’s decision in June to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement and the extraordinary damage from hurricanes and wildfires this fall.

Perhaps of greatest significance is the boost regional carbon pricing efforts are likely to get from Democrats who regained or solidified control in New Jersey, Virginia and Washington state.

New Jersey Gov.-elect Phil Murphy has vowed to “immediately” bring his state back to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a coalition of 9 eastern states that recently agreed to cut global-warming pollution from the region’s power plants by an additional 30 percent between 2020 and 2030. His predecessor, Republican Gov. Chris Christie, withdrew New Jersey from the coalition in 2011.


In his acceptance speech, Murphy talked about keeping “a keen eye on where the 21st Century economy is headed,” including investing in clean energy and building a sustainable future. With Trump in the White House and “polluters running the EPA … governors have never mattered more,” he said.

Virginia Gov.-elect Ralph Northam also included addressing climate change in his campaign and discussed the coastal flooding risks to areas of his state, like Norfolk.

Northam, who was backed by the Virginia League of Conservation Voters, is currently the lieutenant governor in an administration that recently issued an executive order calling for the creation of a similar carbon cap-and-trade system in the state. Details of the plan, which may include joining RGGI, are expected next month. Northam has pledged to uphold the order and will likely get an added boost from large, unexpected gains by Democrats in the state’s House of Delegates, including 13 representatives who pledged not to accept campaign contributions from fossil fuel energy provider and pipeline investor Dominion Energy.

“I can’t understate how big of a pick up that is,” said Mark Kresowik, eastern region deputy director of the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, of the changes in the state legislature. “That means quite a bit for climate and clean energy as well as for broader political trends.”

In Washington state, Democrats took control of the state Senate for the first time since 2012, opening the door to advancing Gov. Jay Inslee’s plans to have Washington join California, Oregon and Canadian provinces in a regional cap-and-trade program.

Renewable energy will also get a significant boost from newly elected governors and mayors.

Murphy ran on a campaign to enact an aggressive renewable-energy agenda for the Garden State that would rival California’s renewable energy efforts. The governor-elect has called for a new energy master plan for New Jersey that includes getting 100 percent clean energy by 2050 and setting the most ambitious offshore wind target in the country: 3,500 megawatts of wind generation by 2030, enough to power 1.5 million homes.

Mayors Focused on Clean Energy, Resilience

Mayoral elections across the country will likely give renewable energy efforts a boost at the local level, as well.

Joyce Craig ousted a Republican incumbent in Manchester, New Hampshire and has pledged to support clean energy efforts, reduce the city’s carbon footprint, and upholding the Paris climate agreement.

In Seattle, Mayor-elect Jenny Durkan has called out Trump’s “anti-science, climate change-denying and pro-carbon agenda” and vowed leadership on clean energy and climate. Jacob Frey, the likely new mayor of Minneapolis, has called for powering all municipal buildings with 100 percent renewable energy by 2035.

Tweet by Seattle Mayor-elect Jenny Durkan

Miami’s newly elected mayor, Francis Suarez, reiterated his promise to fight climate change and sea level rise, saying “Miami should be and must be the most resilient city in the world.”

The new mayors will join incumbents including Bill De Blasio in New York, Marty Walsh in Boston and Bill Peduto in Pittsburgh who have led their cities in efforts to combat climate change and won reelection by wide margins on Tuesday.


In Washington state, local elections revealed that being Trumpist, or even just having the label of Republican, could prove fatal. One Democratic win flipped the state’s Senate blue (Democratic), turning the West Coast into a “‘blue wallwith Democrats controlling the legislatures and governors’ offices in Washington, Oregon and California,” the Seattle Times reported.

“Annihilated in the suburbs, this is what Trumpism has wrought,” said former Republican Party chairman and King County council member Chris Vance. “The Republican Party is dying in urban and suburban America.”

​Josh Busby, professor of public affairs at the University of Texas, called the elections “the most significant defeat of Trumpism to date, and its anti-science, anti-environmental agenda.” And “It’s opening the door to New Jersey returning to RGGI and even Virginia may join for the first time.”

These races could be the first wave of opposition to Trump’s unpopular presidency, although the long-term trend remains unclear. It is clear that Trump’s aggressive environmental deregulation, and most visibly his withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change, has raised environmental issues on the agenda of campaigns across the country. Having more environmentally friendly leaders at the state and local levels could also encourage climate action at higher levels, including in Congress.


One Response to “Election Results a Warning for Climate Deniers”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    I have been smiling broadly since the election. I live in Northern VA, in the 13th. district, where Danica Roem defeated Bob Marshall (a 13 term incumbent fundamentalist RWNJ Repugnant) and will be the first transgender person to hold a seat in the VA House of Delegates. “Bathroom Bill” Bob refused to refer to Danica as “her” during the campaign. When asked what she though of Marshall after her win, Danica said, “Bob’s now my constituent, and I don’t attack my constituents”.

    In addition, the H of D has swung from 66-34 Repugnant to almost a dead tie, and some contested results and recounts may even swing it to a Democratic MAJORITY.

    Life is good for a while at least, and “The ­canary in the coal mine didn’t just pass out; its head exploded” is a great line.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: