Was Virginia the test case for the Democrats climate change agenda?

posted at 1:31 pm on November 11, 2013 by Bruce McQuain

It is well known that President Obama wants to make climate change a signature issue of his 2nd term. But he’s battling a public that has come to believe most of the global warming evidence is more hype than reality and has shown less and less of an inclination to pay for carbon usage given the 10 year pause in warming and the poor predictive performance of the models used by global warming alarmists. Additionally, carbon emissions are at their lowest point since 1994.

But the Virginia governor’s race may change that. Enter Tom Steyer:

Tom Steyer is Virginia’s $8 million man.

The California billionaire spent nearly that much from his personal fortune to make an example of Republican Ken Cuccinelli for his arch-conservative views on the environment. The sum is more than three times the investment that’s been previously reported, and it nearly matched what the Republican Governors Association, the largest GOP outside spender, put into the Virginia governor’s race. It is more money, on a per-vote basis, than the famously prolific conservative donors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson spent in the 2012 presidential election.

Steyer is on a crusade to sell the alarmist message to the public and his first concerted effort was in the Virginia governor’s race:

In a memo distributed to potential financial supporters late in the summer, Steyer’s top strategist, former Clinton White House aide Chris Lehane, said NextGen will build on its Virginia campaign by targeting multiple Senate and gubernatorial races in 2014 – and then playing hard in the 2016 presidential primaries.

“We want to establish a real presence in the early states to impact the candidates and make climate a top-tier issue, whereby candidates are forced to put forth comprehensive climate policies and address the issue,” Lehane wrote.

They had three goals:

From the start, Steyer’s campaign had two stated goals: electing Democrat Terry McAuliffe as the governor of Virginia, and creating a case study for making climate change an issue in high-profile elections.

A third, unstated goal has run through all of Steyer’s political activities: turning a hedge fund investor from the Bay Area into a national political figure. Most megadonors prize their privacy. But before Steyer’s team jumped into the Virginia race, it approached POLITICO about providing exclusive access to NextGen’s activities for a feature story after the election. In 2013, the towheaded, all-smiles Democratic financier has participated in major profiles in both The New Yorker and Bloomberg BusinessWeek.

And unlike the Koch brothers or the Adlesons, he wasn’t demonized by the media.  However, one has to wonder if it was really the climate change message that helped McAuliffe win the race, or was it a combination of GOTV and other messages combined with the climate change message that did the job?

To reach the voters Steyer wanted to turn out – Virginians who may have voted in the 2012 presidential election or the 2009 governor’s race but couldn’t be counted on to vote this year – pollster Amy Levin urged the billionaire to put climate in terms that related to the daily lives of Virginians. She suggested talking about the effects of climate on asthma rates and food prices, and eschewing activist buzzwords like “climate denier” in favor of the charge that Cuccinelli “denies basic science.”

Erin Lehane, the field marshal of the NextGen turnout program, put it in these terms: “We’ve got to hit [voters] on a place where they have an emotional response, and their emotional response is to [the message], ‘This guy’s a wild man and we’ve got to do something.’”

When the NextGen digital and mail campaigns ramped up in September and October, that kitchen-sink approach was immediately evident, as the Steyer gang’s message tore at Cuccinelli on multiple issues with climate at the center. “From wasting taxpayer money in a failed lawsuit against UVA because he disagreed with their climate change research to opposing birth control, Ken Cuccinelli is out of touch,” read one mailer that went out in mid-September.

Finally, they ran a GOTV effort near the end of the campaign to turn out  what they termed”apathetic” voters.  However, the question remains, were they turned out by the climate change message or were they turned out by other issues? That isn’t clear.

What is clear, however, is that Steyer plans on being a force in future elections, used this as a model for the 2014 midterms and thinks he has hit upon a way to make climate change a major issue all while helping Democrats win.

~McQ


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This guy needs to be Bloomberged.

22044 on November 11, 2013 at 1:34 PM

Dumbazz Clooney thinks that ‘climate change’ caused the winds in the Philippines.

Schadenfreude on November 11, 2013 at 1:34 PM

and then playing hard in the 2016 presidential primaries.

If this guy wants to sabotage Shrillary in favor of some lefty loon like Elizabeth Warren, by all means we should let him.

KingGold on November 11, 2013 at 1:35 PM

‘Climate Change’ is code for taxes and redistribution of wealth, not only among people, but also nations.

It’s also very dumb for anyone to fall for such global charlatanry, which ironically enriches the charlatans.

See Algore.

Schadenfreude on November 11, 2013 at 1:35 PM

It is well known that President Obama wants to make climate change a signature issue of his 2nd term.

And it’s well known that it is simply a ploy to distract from his many failings.

Hat Trick on November 11, 2013 at 1:36 PM

Dumbazz Clooney thinks that ‘climate change’ caused the winds in the Philippines.

Schadenfreude on November 11, 2013 at 1:34 PM

He & others should be likened to Pat Robertson.

22044 on November 11, 2013 at 1:36 PM

I guess the dude really buys the lies. $8million is an outsized label of stupidity I’d say.

DanMan on November 11, 2013 at 1:37 PM

“If you like your climate…” — obama, the charlatanic fraud of the USA and the world

Schadenfreude on November 11, 2013 at 1:38 PM

They can think the Virginia election was some kind of signature election piece for whatever liberal cause-du-jour is out there. The truth of the matter is Cuccinelli lost because of a 3rd party phony sucking off 8% of the vote.

All the election in Virginia proves is that libertarian candidates suck votes off the GOP, and a lot of government-loving Federal employees have moved to Virginia.

Nethicus on November 11, 2013 at 1:38 PM

The message from the GOP next election should be Democrats are liars. There are so many options to choose from to show the American people who they can trust. You can choose from Fast & Furious, the IRS, the NSA and ObamaCare. (I know there are more.) They can even run a loop to show the American public how often they do so and how the media has abandoned the American public. Once this message takes hold, global warming will be seen as another liberal lie.

djaymick on November 11, 2013 at 1:47 PM

And yet I didn’t see a single ad that mentioned this… or get a single flyer…or anything.

If it was money spent I suspect that a lot of if went into paying consultants/scam artists. AGW has got to be a scam artist haven to start sucking up rich people’s money and hand very little over in return. Easy money.

ajacksonian on November 11, 2013 at 1:49 PM

The message from the GOP next election should be Democrats are liars. There are so many options to choose from to show the American people who they can trust. You can choose from Fast & Furious, the IRS, the NSA and ObamaCare. (I know there are more.) They can even run a loop to show the American public how often they do so and how the media has abandoned the American public. Once this message takes hold, global warming will be seen as another liberal lie.

djaymick on November 11, 2013 at 1:47 PM

Never happen. The GOP are cowards and do not attack their opponents.

Dr. Frank Enstine on November 11, 2013 at 1:51 PM

Record sea ice = AGW
Record low sea ice = AGW
Fewest tornadoes = AGW
Most tornadoes = AGW
Fewest hurricanes = AGW
Most hurricanes = AGW

No way out of it AGW is all encompassing. It cannot be wrong or fail.

jukin3 on November 11, 2013 at 1:55 PM

The message from the GOP next election should be Democrats are liars. There are so many options to choose from to show the American people who they can trust. You can choose from Fast & Furious, the IRS, the NSA and ObamaCare. (I know there are more.) They can even run a loop to show the American public how often they do so and how the media has abandoned the American public. Once this message takes hold, global warming will be seen as another liberal lie.

djaymick on November 11, 2013 at 1:47 PM

One can only hope.

bflat879 on November 11, 2013 at 1:57 PM

VA’s biggest growth is happening in the DC suburbs. 13 percent of Virginia lives in Fairfax County alone. And 0bamaism is the biggest driver of that growth. Virginia would not be such a good test case, but do keep thinking it is, lefties.

Sekhmet on November 11, 2013 at 1:58 PM

I don’t think the 8 million had the desired affect in terms of getting presidential size turnout for McCaulliffe. He got 1,100,000 votes, but Obama got 1,971,000 and Romney got 1,882,000 which would have been enough to beat McCaulliffe, had he done a reprise?

The number of voters that swamped Cuccinelli was the unmarried women group, which seems to have come out against all the social issues…presumably women that work or volunteer or are involved in liberal government in D.C. and maybe some single parents. There is no evidence that the climate change message moved any particular group unless it also motivated these same women.

Fleuries on November 11, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Look, when it comes to climate change… we need to be forceful and control the playing field.

We need to call them out for what they are… “flat-earthers“. No matter how much data comes in showing that their models are trash, they cling to an outdated concept in hopes of parting idiots from their money. They are the modern “medicine quacks” trying to scam the public and make a quick buck. They are snakes and liars and resist facts at every turn, trying to force “their” facts on you. They are scam artists of the worst sort…

“I’ve got a solution for everything that ails you… hurricane winds… it’ll slow ‘em right down… too low winds… it’ll speed ‘em right up… too high temps… no problem… too low temps… I’ve got it right here! …And it grows hair and cures cancer too!”

It will only cost you the future of every American…

dominigan on November 11, 2013 at 2:08 PM

Interestingly I had made the point to some libertarians that climate scaremongering would be affected in a significant way by this election.

Since Cooch was the highest profile anti-warmist his loss or victory would have effects on how much the government could extract in freedoms and taxes from the populace in terms of global warming scaremongering.

I generally didn’t make much traction as they seemed focused on the “war on wimmens”.

18-1 on November 11, 2013 at 2:09 PM

And since the GOP drinks from the same vat of climate change koolaid, they did nothing to counter this BS with a message extolling the economic windfall of oil and natural gas.

AmeriCuda on November 11, 2013 at 2:10 PM

The problem with that notion is that there probably isn’t a whole lot McAuliffe is going to be able to do. The House of Delegates has a 2/3 Republican majority and the state Senate is 50/50

What people seem to be missing in all of this is that McAuliffe’s victory is really a very hollow one. I can’t see the VA legislature passing a lot of left wing agenda items.

crosspatch on November 11, 2013 at 2:15 PM

We’ve got to hit [voters] on a place where they have an emotional response

Liberalism 101.

Rancher on November 11, 2013 at 2:27 PM

We’ve got to hit [voters] on a place where they have an emotional response

Liberalism 101.

Rancher on November 11, 2013 at 2:27 PM

Yeah, the pocketbook.

Murphy9 on November 11, 2013 at 2:31 PM

A vanity campaign by a rich California liberal, who was suckered by the execrable Chris Lehane, who undoubtedly made a killing doing virtually nothing that actually helped McAuliffe win.

rockmom on November 11, 2013 at 2:32 PM

I’m sure the single women of Virginia were voting on climate change and not reproductive rights. Since they were the largest block of voters to break McAuliffe’s way, I’d say whatever moved them is the big issue.

hawksruleva on November 11, 2013 at 2:33 PM

Look, when it comes to climate change… we need to be forceful and control the playing field.

We need to call them out for what they are… “flat-earthers“. No matter how much data comes in showing that their models are trash, they cling to an outdated concept in hopes of parting idiots from their money. They are the modern “medicine quacks” trying to scam the public and make a quick buck. They are snakes and liars and resist facts at every turn, trying to force “their” facts on you. They are scam artists of the worst sort…

“I’ve got a solution for everything that ails you… hurricane winds… it’ll slow ‘em right down… too low winds… it’ll speed ‘em right up… too high temps… no problem… too low temps… I’ve got it right here! …And it grows hair and cures cancer too!”

It will only cost you the future of every American…

dominigan on November 11, 2013 at 2:08 PM

It’s more like a religion, with its own dogma and high priests.

rockmom on November 11, 2013 at 2:33 PM

It will only cost you the future of every American…

dominigan on November 11, 2013 at 2:08 PM

The other thing to point out is that the whole “97% of scientists agree” talking point is bogus. First off, that’s not how science works. If 99% of people said 2+2=5, then 99% of people would be wrong. Further, if you review published peer-reviewed papers on climate change, the percent “supporting” climate change is pretty low, unless you include things like agreement that man-made carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere.

Regardless, whenever George Clooney or some college kid brings it up, I say “whatever. Wasn’t New York City already supposed to be underwater?”.

hawksruleva on November 11, 2013 at 2:38 PM

What people seem to be missing in all of this is that McAuliffe’s victory is really a very hollow one. I can’t see the VA legislature passing a lot of left wing agenda items.

crosspatch on November 11, 2013 at 2:15 PM

But a Governor can get agencies to lean in his direction. That can be a pretty corrosive affect over the long haul. It’s a first step in shifting the goalposts to the left. Or the Overton Window, if you prefer.

hawksruleva on November 11, 2013 at 2:40 PM

‘Climate Change’ is code for taxes and redistribution of wealth…”

Schadenfreude on November 11, 2013 at 1:35 PM

Everyone else’s, of course. not his.

oldleprechaun on November 11, 2013 at 2:48 PM

Was Virginia the test case for the Democrats climate change agenda?

No, it was not. It was, instead, a test case for the Christians’ ‘fetuses are people, gays are not’ agenda. Virginia remains a reddish-purple state, plagued by conservative GOP candidates.

hicsuget on November 11, 2013 at 2:52 PM

The danger to the GOP here is GOP Creationists speaking the truth about climate change. The meme of “Creationist climate deniers” strongly favors the Democrats–not that one’s opinion on one topic should mean much about your opinion on another topic.

thuja on November 11, 2013 at 2:55 PM

So what is Steyer selling, that he’s making money off of AGW hysteria? I’m thinking he’s another crook, like Al Gore.

Ward Cleaver on November 11, 2013 at 2:57 PM

Well Henry Ford had to get government support to revolutionize transportation also………..oh he didn’t?

Herb on November 11, 2013 at 3:08 PM

thuja on November 11, 2013 at 2:55 PM
hicsuget on November 11, 2013 at 2:52 PM

Y’all worked out a Final Solution yet?

Murphy9 on November 11, 2013 at 3:13 PM

And since the GOP drinks from the same vat of climate change koolaid, they did nothing to counter this BS with a message extolling the economic windfall of oil and natural gas.

AmeriCuda on November 11, 2013 at 2:10 PM

- Global Warming
- Immigration
- Healthcare

These are eddies in the stream where large amounts of other-people’s-money tends to accumulate. We shouldn’t be too surprised that the skimmers that belly-up are ‘bipartisan’.

Tsar of Earth on November 11, 2013 at 3:31 PM

We need to borrow from the Obama campaign:

If you like your coal, you can keep it.

If you like your natural gas, you can keep it.

If you like your weather, you can keep it.

Steve Z on November 11, 2013 at 3:35 PM

here again the

r keller on November 11, 2013 at 4:55 PM

The Earth has been cooling and heating in cycles for millions of years. Humans and animals have changed to adjust to the changes all of that time. Why should anything be different now? Why change the entire economic system to adjust to something that humans can’t change? Moronic behaviour. Adapt and change to the condition.

cat-scratch on November 11, 2013 at 4:59 PM

hmmmmm…that didn’t work out well.

Here again, the RINO party is anxious to get on the right side of the money train…i.e. the CAGW side. The majority will go along to get some money…they certainly don’t want to challenge the orthodoxy.

Sure, they could say that co2 emissions in the US going down rather rapidly..and sure they could talk about the pause, and how China is that major source.

but none of that is going to get you any money…just the wrath of the DC crowd

r keller on November 11, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Once this message takes hold, global warming will be seen as another liberal lie.

djaymick on November 11, 2013 at 1:47 PM

This could be a great set of commercials.

Cue attractive substantial individual (Man, Woman, Black, White, Latino, whatever depending on market).

“Many democrat candidates this election cycle are running on the issue of global warming. They claim the planet is getting hotter. They can’t prove this. None of their computer models work. Some scientists that are working on this have been caught faking their own results. Nevertheless, they claim it’s happening. They claim they can save us all. All we have to do is give them more control over our lives. And, of course, we have to give them more money. Everybody knows, the temperature goes down when a politician gets money.”

“Democrats are liars”

trigon on November 11, 2013 at 5:00 PM

“Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi said they could fix some problems with out healthcare system. They said we would pay less. They said more people would have insurance. They said we could keep the insurance we had. They said we could keep our doctors. They passed a bill in the middle of the night. They said we’d have to pass the bill to find out what was in it. Now we know. We’ve lost our doctors and our insurance. We have to pay more for less coverage.”

“Democrats are liars.”

trigon on November 11, 2013 at 5:07 PM

We need to pass a law that every building in New York city must have at least one huge windmill on it’s top.

Once we start forcing these monstrosities into the liberals’ back yard their views will change.

RJL on November 11, 2013 at 5:10 PM

“Terrorists attacked our consulate in Benghazi, Libya. They kiiled our US ambassador and 3 other brave Americans…”

“Democrats are liars”

trigon on November 11, 2013 at 5:12 PM

They keep threatening us with this climate change stuff, but outside of the Peoples’ Republics of California, New York (Lower New York, that is) and Massachusetts, the voters yawn. So do they think people in Virginia (outside of the well paid liberal DC bureaucrats) give a rip about AGW? My guess is they do, and my guess is they are also wrong.

jclittlep on November 11, 2013 at 5:19 PM

No, it was not. It was, instead, a test case for the Christians’ ‘fetuses are people, gays are not’ agenda. Virginia remains a reddish-purple state, plagued by conservative GOP candidates.

hicsuget on November 11, 2013 at 2:52 PM

That was a singularly stupid comment.

Solaratov on November 11, 2013 at 7:03 PM

thuja on November 11, 2013 at 2:55 PM
hicsuget on November 11, 2013 at 2:52 PM

Y’all worked out a Final Solution yet?

Murphy9 on November 11, 2013 at 3:13 PM

They don’t need to. The old playbook from the 1930s and 40s will work just fine.

With a couple of new, expanded catagories, of course.

Solaratov on November 11, 2013 at 7:06 PM

Spending money to stop climate change is like boiling the ocean. won’t happen and you go broke. Oh, wait, you mean man caused climate change right? Right? You’ll still go broke.

jake49 on November 11, 2013 at 8:03 PM

Climate change played virtually no role here in Virginia. For the Dems, it was abortion/birth control/lies 24-7. They won entirely on the majority run up among low information single women.

No, it was not. It was, instead, a test case for the Christians’ ‘fetuses are people, gays are not’ agenda. Virginia remains a reddish-purple state, plagued by conservative GOP candidates.

hicsuget on November 11, 2013 at 2:52 PM

I see the Freedom from Religion Foundation has its own trolls now.

Athanasius on November 11, 2013 at 8:25 PM