Super Tuesday Voters Reject Radical Environmental Policies
Energy, the environment, and climate change have played prominent roles in the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries. Candidates have made these issues a key part of their platforms, pressured by environmental activists pushing for radical “Keep It In the Ground” policy proposals that would undercut American energy security, lead to a massive economic hit, and take away key fuels like natural gas that have helped dramatically lower emissions.
The resulting climate-specific town halls and attempts by candidates to include climate change in responses during debates even when it wasn’t the topic at hand gave the appearance that the country wants to see extreme, aggressive policies like those proposed by Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren – even if they aren’t realistic – to address the issue. But voters on Super Tuesday showed that narrative to be exaggerated, if not outright false.
As E&E News reports:
“[Former Vice President Joe] Biden’s climate plan was scored at or near the bottom of the field by the Sunrise Movement, Greenpeace, 350 Action, Data for Progress and the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund. The Sunrise Movement endorsed Sanders and campaigned for him aggressively.”
But voters who prioritize energy, the environment, and climate change weren’t on board with ideas supported by Sanders and these activist groups, firmly rejecting that platform:
“That didn’t stop Biden from winning a plurality of climate voters across Super Tuesday states, according to a Washington Post compilation of exit polls. Biden took 33 percent of those voters compared to 28 percent for Sanders, 16 percent for Sen. Elizabeth Warren and 11 percent for billionaire Michael Bloomberg.”
For the record, Biden has made statements that shows he doesn’t value the crucial role that oil and natural gas plays in our economy. Last year, he said:
“I guarantee you we’re going to end fossil fuel and I am not going to cooperate with them. Before 2050, God willing.”
He’s also shown he’s out-of-touch with oil and gas workers, including those who have transformed his home state of Pennsylvania.
But voters felt more comfortable with Biden and firmly rejected Sanders’ radical agenda, that includes supporting a Green New Deal, banning fracking nationwide beginning in 2021 and criminally prosecuting energy executives even though he doesn’t know which laws they allegedly violated.
While Sanders underperformed with climate-focused voters on the national level, attempts to replace Members of Congress who support responsible oil and natural gas development with radical anti-energy platforms were also defeated.
Super Tuesday also featured U.S. House primary contests in Texas where Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) faced a stiff challenge from a fellow Democrat.
Cuellar represents the Eagle Ford Shale Play and is a strong supporter of oil and natural gas while his primary challenger, Jessica Cisneros, backs the Green New Deal and was endorsed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). Politico reported that environmental activist groups poured money into an effort boosting Cisneros:
“Liberal groups are laying a $1 million-plus bet that they can persuade voters in this oil-soaked corner of South Texas to elect a progressive, ‘Green New Deal’ supporter while ousting one of the Democratic Party’s most conservative members of Congress.”
E&E News even asked if Cisneros is “the next Ocasio-Cortez,” which was a stark contrast to Cuellar’s acknowledgement of the importance of Texas’ oil and natural gas industry. As his campaign explained:
“Oil and gas provides more than 100,000 well-paying jobs in the 28th, and local schools and governments rely on the sector for millions of dollars of revenue annually, he added. ‘You start taking away these things that produce revenue and fund schools, and we got problems.’”
On Tuesday, Cuellar emerged victorious in the primary in a local rebuke against politicians who want to ban oil and natural gas production.
Super Tuesday showed the politicians with radical policies and the activist groups that support them don’t actually represent the majority of Americans – even those who prioritize energy, the environment, and climate change.
Voters want reasonable, thoughtful solutions to these issues, – a lesson those candidates who are pushing for fracking bans and an end to natural gas usage learned the hard way this week.