Don’t Vote for the Anti-Earth Party
Around this time in an election cycle there is a typical widening of political parties’ tents that would allow undecided voters to slip under the hem of either one, unnoticed. Democrats allow for slightly more intense policing. Republicans fiddle with their definitions of unborn life and abortion timelines. And even on environmental issues we see some play. Democrats might float again a free-market carbon trading scheme or two. Republicans might stress innovation and entrepreneurship as the pathway to green (and profitable) technology.
But we’ve reached a point where whatever tent widening that goes on with respect to the environment needs to be outright ignored. The Republican party has gone on record as being anti-environment and pro-industry at any cost. Individual candidates may hem and haw on these points. But when the gavel lands and votes are cast, Republicans in Congress vote as a unified block. The unifying ideology of that block is a Trump-led pseudo-philosophy that denies the existence of climate change and looks upon any environmental regulation as an impingement on profit.
It’s true that the first presidential environmentalist was a Republican. Just as Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, was the first president to make slavery untenable, so too was Theodore Roosevelt, also a Republican, the first president to make conservation central to a governing platform. But these are fossils from the past. The Republican Party of the present is a different animal entirely. For a more instructive look at what lies in the future for the environment if Republicans seize power, one needs only look at their tenure as controllers of all three branches of government from 2016–2018. During that period Trump-led Republicans voided a major portion of the Clean Water Act, moved to kill the Clean Power Plan and settled a lawsuit that would have opened the largest salmon spawning ground on earth to copper and gold mining.
Since regaining power, Democrats have reversed or made moves to reverse each and every one of these unwise environmental decisions. Even the pro-coal West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin has buckled and conceded to the Inflation Reduction Act which includes $550 billion in clean energy subsidy over the next ten years.