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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Democrats and Environmentalists v. WWC

Josh Kraushaar writes at National Journal:
If the GOP gains in the Mid­w­est were an an­om­aly, per­haps Demo­crats could af­ford to cater to their en­vir­on­ment­al base. But this wasn’t the first time that Demo­crats lost sig­ni­fic­ant ground in the re­gion. In 2010, they lost a whop­ping 63 seats in the House in part be­cause of failed cap-and-trade le­gis­la­tion; over one-third of the seats they lost were in the Mid­w­est. Re­pub­lic­ans am­ped up their at­tacks on Obama’s en­vir­on­ment­al policies dur­ing the 2014 midterms—air­ing more than 26,000 spots cit­ing the En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency—and swept nearly every com­pet­it­ive Sen­ate race on their way to the ma­jor­ity.
Take the Key­stone XL pipeline as a stand-in for voter sen­ti­ment on the bal­ance between pro­tect­ing the en­vir­on­ment and pro­du­cing jobs. A March 2014 Pew Re­search Cen­ter poll, con­duc­ted dur­ing the Key­stone de­bate, found that a 49 per­cent plur­al­ity of Demo­crats sup­por­ted build­ing the pipeline—even though the pres­id­ent and top party lead­ers op­posed it. Among work­ing-class Demo­crats (those who made less than $50,000 a year), sup­port for the Key­stone pro­ject out­dis­tanced op­pos­i­tion by a whop­ping 22 points (54 to 32). When your party’s own voters are at odds with its elite, it’s a re­cipe for dis­aster. Don­ald Trump’s Mid­west­ern sweep was the cul­min­a­tion of these long-stand­ing trends.