September 8, 2019 by epoetus
4 points and a ‘truth sandwich’
There are political messages that resonate across political lines and geographies. This Islanders’ Voice entry, and possibly others to come as a series, sheds light on a specific issue – in this case global warming – to illustrate the potential for a winning Democratic strategy in the “Fly Over” states that were largely ignored in 2016. Clearly a lack of enthusiasm, combined with and caused by a mixture of resentment towards the arrogant and overconfident Democratic leadership and Hillary Clinton, kept Democrats from the polls in 2016. Since there are so many issues to address, it is important to know which can be used in areas that have been written off as Republican – ‘never say never’ when it comes to running Democratic candidates in areas that look tough to beat. In light of this past weeks’ climate debates, which have been specifically rejected by Democratic leadership, it appears as though the candidates and the people continue to make traction on seizing the narrative from them. Lastly there are political forecasters like Rachel Bitecofer, who believe that the Democrats should be ready to take advantage of the increased motivation of voters as was seen in 2018 where she predicted that Orange county would flip.
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How has global warming become an issue in Republican states?
Point 1: Rising heat impacts and an increase in the number of extreme weather events each year illustrate the impacts of global warming
“Other trends in severe storms, including the intensity and frequency of tornadoes, hail, and damaging thunderstorm winds, are uncertain and are being studied intensively. There has been a sizable upward trend in the number of storms causing large financial and other losses.” (from NCA 2014 below)
Point 2: Southern states are typically less prepared for the impacts of climate change
“California was the standout from the report: The Golden State faces extreme heat, drought, wildfires and flooding, but has done the most to prepare, the report found, earning the state an A rating. Conversely, Texas also faces a high level of threat, but “basically hasn’t done anything for future threats,” Wiles said, earning the state an F.” (from weather.com 2015)
Do the voters in those states seem interested in global warming as an issue?
Point 3: Quinnipiac and Gallup polls show increasing interest in climate change as an issue that needs to be addressed by elected officials, and this interest spans all of the regions:
“There are also regional differences in attitudes toward climate change. Gallup found that 67% of people in both the Northeast and the West, for example, believe that global warming has already begun, compared to 60% in the Midwest and 53% in the South.” — daily progress (link below)
Point 4: Southern states are and will continue to see the greatest negative economic impacts of global warming (see chart above)
“The US states at most risk are part of a “barricade” that opposes action to curb greenhouse-gas emissions, says co-author David Victor, a political scientist at the University of California, San Diego. “The politics are flipped upside down,” Victor says.” (from Nature.com)
How should global warming be messaged on the campaign trail in Republican states?
“Still, Victor says that talking about economic impacts is more likely to persuade conservative voters of the need for action than is talking about environmental concerns. What’s needed, he says, is more scientific evidence that connects the dots between global warming and local costs to taxpayers.
“That’s what makes it all palpable,” he says. “Once you understand the local costs — that tells you what the public needs to do.”” (nature.com)
Green New Deal? Maybe this is a tempting “jump to the solution” argument, when folks still haven’t acknowledged the problem. It might be better to focus on educating the audience and raising awareness.
Truth Sandwiches? This does seem to be an effective tactic to use for increasing awareness of the problem and the need for greater levels of preparedness for these increasingly severe and more frequent extreme weather events.
What would a truth sandwich look like for the campaign trail?
In Texas, we are seeing more people die from the heat, more crops suffering from droughts, the energy costs for cooling our houses has increased, and we are seeing more extreme weather events like hurricanes and tornadoes. These changes are real. We all feel the impacts of them, and they cannot be ignored. While the Republicans portray a picture which says that climate change is not really happening, we all see it happening around us more frequently and intensely. They are out of touch – so out of touch that they refuse to prepare for the inevitable weather events like tornadoes, wildfires and hurricanes. Ignoring these risks and refusing to prepare for them hurts everyone’s pocket books and wallets, and results in more deaths. It is irresponsible of the Republicans to stubbornly continue to deny climate change. Do you want your elected officials to be prepared for these events and work towards preventing them entirely, or do you want Texas to continue on with an “F” grade for preparedness? States like California that also have extreme weather impacts get an “A” grade for preparedness. The Democrats understand your situation and we’re here to help – we are one nation and we are all in this together. We take climate change seriously.
EPA fact sheets about the impacts of Climate Change for all states (2017)
2017 global change
Rachel Bitecofer – predictions on 2020
Polls showing increased support for tackling climate change
Quinnipiac poll on climate change – 56% say that climate change is an emergency
Gallup poll on climate change
Southern states most at risk because they are unprepared (2015)
Heat impacts by state
Extreme weather impacts by state (2014)
Economic Impacts in southern states worse