Republicans See GND As Key To Retaking the House in 2020

Photo: Richard Vogel, AP

Last week, the Republican Members of Congress met at their annual policy conference and emerged from the meeting hoping the Green New Deal (GND) is a major issue in the 2020 election cycle because they think it is a winner for them.  According to E&E News, their leadership is convinced that their best strategy for retaking control of the House of Representatives is to bash the Green New Deal by painting it as “creeping socialism” and that doing so will win them back the 19 seats needed.  President Trump addressed the meeting and whipped up the crowd arguing that “the plan to achieve zero emissions by 2030 is ‘insane’ and ‘crazy,’ warning it would cost trillions of dollars and eliminate cows and planes.

Why This Matters:  Both Republicans and Democrats see the GND as helping them politically so we are bound to hear a great deal about it over the next year.  And both could be correct in that assumption — that the GND motivates both their bases equally to turn out in the next election.  Indeed, in a stroke of counter logic, the Republicans will argue that the GND will lead to higher greenhouse gas emissions because it will force manufacturers to leave the United States to escape burdensome and costly regulations and build plants in countries with far fewer guards against emissions.  However, in some Republican districts and red states where climate change impacts are being seen and felt by residents, it may not be such a winner for the Republicans.

How Un/Popular Is the GND

One of the leading Republicans in the House, Steve Scalise, told the Republicans that in visits to swing districts around the country in recent months, he finds more voters are aware of the Green New Deal than they are the Paris climate accord and they think it is “lunacy.”  Other Republicans were more cautious about whether to take the GND on in every district.  Congressman Greg Walden of Oregon told E&E that “it’s too early in the election cycle to say what issues the GOP should emphasize, but he noted Democrats could be hurt if their presidential nominee moves too far to the left.”  Walden said, however, “issues vary and races are won district by district. He noted in his rural eastern Oregon district wildfires have been a top concern of voters.”

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