Tom Steyer blew at least $74 million on attacking Republicans who disagree with his extreme environmental agenda. Steyer’s super PAC, NextGen Climate Action, spent funds exclusively on Democrat candidates with little-to-no results. As the Wall Street Journal writes, Mr. Steyer and his fellow green comrades proved that money doesn’t buy elections.
Well, Steyer and his green comrades are quite upset over the overwhelming defeat. And, they don’t seem to understand exactly what happened. The WSJ,
They didn’t even get a lousy T-shirt, and they aren’t taking it well. “Despite the climate movement’s significant investments and an unprecedented get out the vote program, strong voices for climate action were defeated and candidates paid for by corporate interests and bolstered by sinister voter suppression tactics won the day,” declared Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune.
Venting can be healthy, but self-deception isn’t. Mr. Brune should really blame the economic reality that the U.S. boom in fossil-fuel production is creating high-paying jobs and reducing energy costs across the economy. By contrast, Mr. Obama’s green agenda has created few jobs and raised costs for millions of Americans.
Voters in Pacific Heights or Manhattan may not mind paying more for their self-styled political virtue, but the average Debbie in Dubuque would rather not. The mistake too many Democrats made was listening to Mr. Steyer instead of Debbie
Shannon Murphy, president of the Washington Conservation Voters, echoed that mistake in her election analysis of Republican wins in the state Legislature. Murphy told the Seattle Times, “It is disappointing… But I think we elevated the environmental issues as never before.”
The reality is that Americans simply do not support the extreme agenda of Steyer and activist groups like the Washington Conservation Voters. In fact, as the WSJ points out, Steyer’s interference in the elections may have actually helped Republicans. He “made opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline a litmus test of their support for Democrats.” Even President Obama “dutifully delayed approving the pipeline, despite multiple government reports showing no net effect on the climate.”
The demands Steyer placed on Democrats—and their eagerness to meet those demands—did not play well with the American public. The delay only managed to raise “Keystone’s national profile and made it a wedge issue in Senate campaigns.” Steyer and Democrats gave Republicans a campaign gift by delaying Keystone.
Americans approve of the Keystone XL pipeline by an overwhelming 70% approval—Republicans used that popularity to “appeal to union workers and voters without college degrees.” The strategy certainly worked for Senator-elect Cory Gardner in Colorado who “hammered Democratic Sen. Mark Udall on his refusal to support Keystone.”
And, closer to home, Steyer went 0-for-4 in the State Senate races he interfered in, usually by laundering money through the Washington Conservation Voters. But at least here at Shift we’ll give him this t-shirt we found on Facebook.