Fear and Loathing in the Rust Belt

According to some sources, Hillary Clinton lost the states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin by narrow margins, barely won Minnesota, and outright lost Iowa and Ohio, the latter by a huge margin, because of an “organizational deficit.”  In the run-up to the election, Clinton’s ground game and the DNC’s GOTV effort was considered their strongest point that would catapult her victory.  Either that analysis is correct- although the evidence suggests otherwise- or something else was at work here.

Enter the Democratic Party’s radical environmentalism and their opposition to anything “fossil fuel.”  This “organizational deficit” theory is denial plain and simple regarding the fact that their policy agenda stood on the wrong side of the electorate in these Rust Belt states.  Even today, they view this as an anomaly destined not to happen again.  In 2010, the Democrats lost 63 House seats with one-third of them occurring in the industrial Midwest.  Besides Obamacare, Pelosi and Obama attempted to ram a cap-and-trade system through Congress, which failed.  It also cost many Democratic seats in the House.

In 2014, the GOP increased their attacks on Obama’s environmental agenda and aired, according to one source, over 26,000 ads aimed at the EPA.  The result?  Republicans won virtually every competitive race on their way to gaining control of the Senate.  The Democratic elite are great at not listening to actual Democrats when it comes to the environment.  During the Keystone pipeline debate, 49% of Democrats supported it.  Among those making under $50,000/year (the working class), there was 54% support.

If they continue down this path, the outlook in 2018 for the Democrats is bleak.  Seven Democratic Senators from the Rust Belt are up for reelection.  Heidi Heitkamp, an eighth, hails from energy-rich North Dakota.  Trump carried seven of the eight states (Minnesota being the exception) with an emphasis on job creation, not climate change.  In Pennsylvania, everyone talks about the all-important Philadelphia suburbs.  News flash: Clinton won them, but lost western Pennsylvania coal country!

They should have learned their lesson in Louisiana, an energy-rich Southern state.  There, then Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu spent three months trying to convince her fellow Senators to support the Keystone pipeline- an appeal that fell on deaf ears.  She ended up losing her reelection bid.  This year, liberal/environmental activists are pumping millions into a losing cause in Louisiana.

Yet, the Left seems content to double down on the stranglehold the environmental lobby has on the Democratic Party.  This only serves the GOP and Trump well because of the disconnect between working class Democrats who view environmental overreach as one reason among many for job losses and the Democratic elite on the coasts who fear a few milli-degrees of global warming.

Hence, the selection of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the EPA has sent the Democratic Party and the Left into an absolute tizzy.  Nancy Pelosi, who has no power to block his confirmation, said he must be stopped “…for the sake of the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the planet we leave our children.”  Bernie Sanders said the pick was “sad.”  The League of Conservation Voters calls him a “climate denier.”  [NOTE: How can anyone deny “climate?”]

Pruitt’s offense as AG of Oklahoma was joining other state attorney generals in challenging the authority of the EPA to attack the energy industry.  Hailing from an energy state, this seemed logical.  He has been accused of being sympathetic to the energy industry, again hardly a surprise from someone hailing from an energy-producing state.

Pruitt has stated that the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan violates not only the statutory scheme, but at least two Constitutional provisions.  For taking this stance, Sanders calls the choice “sad?”  As for the accusations that he denies climate change, Pruitt notes that most of the “evidence” comes from computer modeling.  So the man is attacked for stating an inconvenient truth to the Left’s rhetoric.

Paul Krugman’s response was perhaps the best.  He described the Pruitt choice as “potentially civilization ending.”  One likes the inclusion of “potential” since it leaves Krugman an out when civilization is still existent ten years from now.  Jay Michaelson, an environmental reporter for the Daily Beast states:

Every scientist not on the corporate dole is upset about Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency.  Pruitt is against the very laws he will soon be in charge of enforcing.  [Emphasis mine]

That statement exhibits the mindset of the average Leftist environmentalist.  Pruitt is not against the very laws; he is against regulations promulgated by the EPA that, in his estimation, amounts to a vast overreach of their statutory authority under the laws.  These are not laws per se, but regulations and just as the EPA can issue regulations, so too they can rescind them and that is what scares the environmental Left.  A powerful EPA administrator was fine as long as they were enacting their agenda outside the legislative process.  Now, suddenly a powerful EPA administrator is a threat to civilization.

What the Democratic Party’s elites who have fallen under the Svengali gaze of Al Gore and Tom Steyer fail to understand is that job-killing and economy-restricting regulations will beat abstract, computer model-driven horror landscapes with American workers, especially those in the manufacturing sector.  And the manufacturing sector is centered in the Industrial Midwest and Pennsylvania.

One suspects a concerted effort to hang up the confirmation of Pruitt by the Democrats.  And the primary reason will be pressure from one of their biggest donor classes- the environmental lobby.

The simple fact is that jobs and cheap energy will trump (excuse the pun) climate change horror predictions that fail to come to fruition.  This is what Clinton and company failed to realize in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.