In so many ways climate change was one of the primary issues that allowed Donald Trump to crash through the blue wall of the industrial Midwest. The Democrats’ preposterous opposition to building the Keystone XL pipeline which could create as many as 10,000 high-paying construction, welding, pipefitting, electrician jobs is emblematic of how the party that is supposed to represent union workers turned their backs on their own members and their families.
The Paris climate change treaty puts America last and forces us to stop using cheap, reliable and abundant domestic fossil fuels while the rest of the world — particularly China and India — are all in on coal. Nobody in Washington seemed to notice that as The Wall Street Journal reported last month: “China’s government will raise coal production by as much as 20% by 2020, ensuring a continuing strong role for the commodity in the country’s energy future.” That’s more than the entire energy usage of Canada in a year. Um, does this sound like a country that has any interest in cutting its carbon emissions? Amazing that the truck drivers in Indiana, and the coal workers in West Virginia, and the steel producers in Ohio get that the rest of the world is laughing at us, and the president of the United States doesn’t.
The surprise of this election is that Democrats were surprised by the mass voter rejection of the radical climate change agenda. Every poll for the last five years at least has shown that climate change barely registers as a leading concern of American voters. Jobs and the economy were always issues number one and two, and global warming was usually close to last on the list. A 2015 Fox News poll found that only 3 percent of Americans believed that climate change was “the most important issue facing America today.” That means 97 percent disagreed with Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bernard Sanders and Tom Steyer that global warming was the greatest threat to America. This didn’t stop Hillary Clinton from telling West Virginians that she would put every coal miner out of a job. Then she wonders why she got crushed in this unionized historically reliable Democratic state.
The issue that now confronts Democrats is whether they can reconnect with blue collar union voters by disassociating themselves from the fanatical greens that are trying to destroy union blue collar jobs. It won’t be easy. Environmental groups are said to be raising record hauls of cash from their millionaire and billionaire donors since the election. Ultra-green environmentalists like Tom Steyer may call the party’s tunes, but then don’t be surprised when millions of blue collar middle-class workers flee to the Republicans.
Something has to give in the Democratic Party. My prediction is that Democrats will only make a comeback in American politics when they throw crazies like Tom Steyer, the Sierra Club, and Greenpeace off the bus and start listening to the everyday concerns of working-class Americans again.
• Stephen Moore is a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a Fox news contributor.