Friday, November 20, 2015

When Their Careers Are On The Line, Conservatives Vote With Progressives On The Environment


It's always funny-- or sad, depending on your perspective-- to see how conservatives back away from their principles eagerness to serve their corporate masters when their careers are in jeopardy. The Florida Senate race, for example, has Partrick Murphy suddenly calling himself a "champion of the middle class" and an "environmentalist," while his record paints an entirely different picture. He's even tending to vote more frequently with Democrats in Congress than he ever has before. His lifetime ProgressivePunch crucial vote score (50.95) has shot up because this year his score is, miraculously, 62.07, still graded an "F," but not as terrible as usual. He's now just the 11th worst Democrat in the House instead of the 4th worst. Primaries can be refreshing, although no guarantee-- to put it mildly-- that he won't revert back to his anti-working family/anti-environmental ways if he wins the Democratic nomination. (Murphy's political calculus yesterday, though, was to revert to his real nature and vote with the Republicans and the Republican wing of the Democratic Party against the fleeing Syrian immigrants. That's Murphy!) Remember, this "environmentalist," not only voted for drilling off the Florida beaches, but also voted 6 times to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, including going along with the Republicans to remove President Obama from the decision-making process, something not even the only worse Democrat in the state, Blue Dog Gwen Graham, could force herself to do. You can support Alan Grayson's grassroots campaign to bring actual progressive values to that Florida Senate seat Murphy is trying for here.

And speaking of slimy politicians like Murphy who change their stripes on the environment before hotly contested elections, the Natural Resources Defense Council's Action Fund brought to our attention that the tight-wing anti-environment extremists' latest effort to debilitate the effectiveness of the EPA to protect ordinary families from the greed of predatory corporations was hampered by electoral considerations back home. Although the 3 worst right-wing Democrats in the Senate-- Joe Manchin (WV), Joe Donnelly (IN) and Heidi Heitkamp (ND) joined their Republican allies to vote for S.J, Res. 23, 3 Republicans abandoned the GOP effort-- Mark Kirk (IL), Kelly Ayotte (NH) and Susan Collins (ME). Kirk and Kelly are both seriously vulnerable in their reelection bids next year and have tended to try to vote more frequently with the Democrats and they voted to keep recently published EPA rules limiting carbon pollution intact. Kirk, widely considered the most vulnerable Republican up next year, came as more of a surprise than Ayotte.
Ayotte announced her intention to support the Clean Power Plan last month, saying she made the decision to "address climate change through clean energy solutions that will protect our environment," but green groups including NRDC were unsure how Kirk would vote up until the moment he gave a "thumbs down" gesture on the floor of the Senate tonight.

With polling showing strong support among the American electorate (and GOP primary voters) for both the Clean Power Plan specifically and, more generally, concrete political solutions to addressing climate change, it’s no surprise that vulnerable Republicans are siding with a majority of voters. Running on clean energy solutions to climate change has become smart politics.
Strong majorities say, "it’s important to them that GOP candidates have a clean energy plan." (72% in NH, 68% in SC).
Nearly three quarters of GOP primary voters want increased use of renewable energies like wind and solar, while primary voters in both states want decreased use of coal.
Majorities in both states believe in climate change.
Three quarters of GOP primary voters in both NH and SC support their state submitting a plan to comply with the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.
Neither Lindsey Graham, considering the results in his home state, nor serial slacker Marco Rubio bothered to show up for the vote Tuesday. Graham may have been hiding from South Carolina voters and running around TV stations with fellow warmonger John McCain screeching about attacking Syria, but Rubio was sucking up to some of the right-wing billionaires who are financing his uninspired presidential bid. This morning's new NBC poll, shows Cruz's more rabid dog approach resonates better than Rubio's messaging with Republican primary voters. One Democratic senator on the subcommittee Rubio supposedly chairs that deals with Global Warming told us that "we're better off when he doesn't show up. All he ever does is vote the way his Big Money campaign donors want him to vote-- and that's never good for the environment."

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At 10:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have come increasingly to be of the opinion that turnout is the wildcard in statistical models. While I have worked with many pollsters, (and took a year of statistics), it is my impression that there's a whole of assumin' goin' on when it come to pollsters predicting how many of which voters are going to vote in their models. Yes, more Democrats turn out for presidential years, and Republicans do better in off years, along with other basic modeling assumptions.

But it is one of the assumptions of this article and of this site generally that more Democratic voters will turn out on election day for candidates that they perceive to be actual Democrats and not Republicans Lite, and otherwise, they will stay home. The choices are A or B, they are A,B and 0. Therefore, Democratic candidates need to run to their base all the time, not just in the primaries and then run back to the center in the general, as has been the Democratic model for decades. I call it the Rove Thesis, because Republicans kept winning close elections by throwing red meat to their core, and ignoring the mushy middle and doing better than everyone predicted they would.

I think this is absolutely correct. Moreover, again as is a thesis here, running to the mushy middle, and spending all of your money on a few battleground states is not just a mistake, it is a crime. In addition to losing elections like 2000 and 2004 which were Democrats' to lose., this operating principle serves the interests of the Republicans Lite in the Democratic Party at the expense of real Democrats, the choices presented to voters and the broad interests of the American population. This is of course why, in part, Howard Dean was ushered out so unceremoniously after such great success: it was the wrong kind of success for the wrong kind of Democrat.

At 10:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The choices are NOT A or B. They are A,B or zero. Sorry.


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