The Democrats’ climate change election

posted at 1:21 pm on January 16, 2015 by Noah Rothman

Pundits consumed with apprehension over the Republican Party’s electoral prospects regularly fret that the GOP’s primary process handicaps the party’s eventual nominee. They say that he or she is ultimately forced by the process to stake out positions that are too extreme for the broader electorate, and they will often cite Mitt Romney’s experience over the course of the 2012 cycle as an example. When political analysts make this case, they are usually talking about Romney’s contrived position on immigration reform and his politically problematic embrace of “self-deportation.”

It is certainly debatable as to how much of this condition is invented, or at least exacerbated, by the press. The media actively sought to make Romney’s premise a controversial one. Of course, it is preferable for illegal immigrants to elect voluntarily to avoid deportation proceedings by leaving the country of their own accord. No matter; the narrative that Romney and his Republican allies were hostile towards Hispanics stuck. Romney’s stumble serves as a ready example for those who seek to claim that the primary process is detrimental to otherwise electable politicians.

That premise is not invalid. Candidates who seek a presidential nomination are occasionally forced to adopt positions in line with the base of their party that might also diverge from the ideals favored by a more centrist general electorate. This is a snare in which Republicans are often caught, but not more so than Democrats. Over the Obama era, the Democratic Party’s activist base has grown more liberal, in the same way that the GOP’s partisans have become more conservative. While it is not shaping up to be competitive, there will be a Democratic primary process, and it might force the eventual nominee to the left of the general electorate.

As it stands, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is likely to cruise to the nomination and will make short work of the likes of Martin O’Malley, Jim Webb, and Bernie Sanders. If she does not face a substantial challenger, Clinton may not feel that it is even necessary to alienate general election voters by competing with her fellow Democrats to appeal to the party’s liberal base. If she does not, however, anxiety on the left over Clinton’s liberal bona fides — or lack thereof — will only grow more pressing.

If she does engage in the mollification of the Democrats’ increasingly anxious liberal wing, Clinton will find that they will push her as far to the left of the general electorate as Romney was forced to the right. If there is a single issue where the left’s concerns do not align with those of the broader public, it is the issue of climate change.

A Pew Research Center survey released on Thursday quantifies this phenomenon. Ranging from terrorism, to crime, to race relations, Pew recently asked respondents which of 23 issues they regarded as a “top priority” for the president and the new Congress. Of those 23 priority issues, “global warming” came in at only 22. Just 38 percent of the public regarded that matter as a concern of paramount importance.

The amount of concern over the changing climate has, however, increased dramatically during Obama’s tenure in the White House. As recently as two years ago, only 28 percent cited “global warming” as a major issue facing the United States government – a 10-point increase in just 24 months. That bounce is due almost entirely to unease among Democrats.

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According to Pew, concern over the warming climate has increased slightly among Republicans and independents, but panic over the changing environment has overtaken Democrats. The fear that “global warming” is not being comprehensively addressed is palpable on the left, and the number of Democrats who want to see this issue considered a top priority by American elected officials has increased by 16 points in the last two years. In 2013, only 38 percent of Democrats said the climate was a top priority. Today, that has increased to 54 percent.

The partisan divide over dealing with global warming is especially striking: 54% of Democrats view this as a top priority for the president and Congress compared with just 15% of Republicans. Democrats also are 31 points more likely than Republicans to prioritize protecting the environment (66% of Democrats vs. 35% of Republicans) and 30 points more likely to rate dealing with the problems of the poor and needy as a top goal.

By contrast, while 71% of Republicans say that strengthening the military should be a top priority, just 41% of Democrats agree.

Pew failed to note that, when it comes to strengthening the military, the GOP is far more in line with the general public’s thinking. 54 percent of all respondents said that the strengthening of America’s armed forces should be a priority for Obama and this Congress.

On Friday, NASA and NOAA revealed that a recently conducted study indicated that 2014 was the warmest year on record going back to the 1880s. That is only likely to panic Democratic partisans further. Can Hillary Clinton avoid addressing this topic, which is increasingly of paramount concern to the voters she hopes will christen her their standard-bearer in 2016? Maybe, but it will be a difficult needle to thread.

The coming primary contest will be one in which the parochial matter of climate change takes center stage for Democrats while Republicans debate the course of the economic recovery and the prosecution of the war against terrorism – the two concerns of primary importance among the general public. Which party’s candidate is more likely to emerge from the primaries weaker as a result of these prevailing conditions?


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Meanwhile, President Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron about to start their joint press conference.

David Cameron trying to get close to President Obama as the elections approach in the UK. He likes to be called “bro” by the President.

President Obama’s 2012 reelection Campaign Manager Jim Messina has signed a multimillion pound contract to help David Cameron and the UK Conservative party in the upcoming election.

President Obama’s community organizing approach has come a long way!!

Ned Pepper on January 16, 2015 at 12:37 PM

Schadenfreude on January 16, 2015 at 1:24 PM

David Cameron trying to get close to President Obama as the elections approach in the UK. He likes to be called “bro” by the President.

Ned Pepper on January 16, 2015 at 12:34 PM

Ned Goes Full ЯέțårĎ

A [email protected] thinks Muffin appearing with another P*ssy is a plus in the UK.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
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Stop it, yer killin’ me!

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Please, Make. It. Stop!

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HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA
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Breathe. Just breathe.

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Teh ‘Tupid. It burns!

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I think ALL of my ribs are broken!

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I. Can’t. Breathe!

Resist We Much on January 16, 2015 at 1:13 PM

Schadenfreude on January 16, 2015 at 1:25 PM

Hopefully obama will ‘win’ for Cameron and Hillary the way he did this past Nov….just glorious!

Schadenfreude on January 16, 2015 at 1:26 PM

1. Are human beings making climate & weather more dangerous for themselves?

2. Is a warmer climate more dangerous to humans than a cooler one?

3. Would reducing atmospheric CO2 make our planet safer for humans?

4. Are climate & weather going to be more dangerous for humans in 50 years? 100 years?

1. No
2. No
3. No
4. Unknowable

Bat Chain Puller on January 16, 2015 at 1:26 PM

There are about 10 million things more dangerous to people than carbon dioxide.

The demonization of CO2 may just be the most wrongheaded, hysterical, unscientific idea I’ve ever seen.

Bat Chain Puller on January 16, 2015 at 1:27 PM

2014 was the warmest year eva by 0.07 degress. ZERO POINT ZERO SEVEN. Riiiiiiight.

ParisParamus on January 16, 2015 at 1:28 PM

I’m hoping that Ted Cruz will be able to use his new position as head of the science committee to interrogate and expose the climate fraudsters.

Buddahpundit on January 16, 2015 at 1:31 PM

Of those 23 priority issues, “global warming” came in at only 22. Just 38 percent of the public regarded that matter as a concern of paramount importance.

Heh, they have the oaf and the pope.

Schadenfreude on January 16, 2015 at 1:33 PM

Repent ye sinners before we cross all nine boundaries of no return!

Scientists: Human activity has pushed Earth beyond four of nine ‘planetary boundaries’

NotCoach on January 16, 2015 at 1:33 PM

Which party’s candidate is more likely to emerge from the primaries weaker as a result of these prevailing conditions?

The Republicans. Because the leadership is dead set on shooting itself in the head and taking the rest of the party with it to please big donors.

After the back to back to back debacles of the surrender on Obamacare, surrender on the shutdown, the republican-democrat establishment’s joint effort to pass cromnibus, the coming amnesty surrender, etc., I’m not sure there will be a cohesive party by the elections in 2016.

NWConservative on January 16, 2015 at 1:34 PM

Oh, and that stuff coming out of the stacks in the photo is WATER VAPOR.

Oooooooh, scary.

Bat Chain Puller on January 16, 2015 at 1:35 PM

Here’s a 3 minute video that not only exposes Al Gore’s willful deceptions about CO2 in his movie, but it graphically and persuasively shows how in fact there is zero evidence that CO2 causes changes in climate temperature: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WK_WyvfcJyg&info=GGWarmingSwindle_CO2Lag

A key thing about this is that the IPCC, starting in 1988, maintained that there was evidence from ice core data going back hundreds of thousands of years that CO2 causes changes in climate temperatures. This was, and really is, the foundation of the theory. Well, a study in the late ’90s came out that looked at the ice core with greater granularity, and guess what, they found that the causal connection was the reverse of what the ipcc had said it was. Changes in temperature causes changes in CO2, but NOT the reverse. The ipcc fought this for a number of years, but finally in 2003 even the ipcc had to concede that there was no evidence that CO2 causes warming. 2 years later Al Gore knew about this but he knowingly lied in his movie presenting his falsehood about CO2. The foundation of their theory has been removed, yet few are any the wiser. See, and share this outstanding video, because it changed me to a skeptic, and it will change others as few know about this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WK_WyvfcJyg&info=GGWarmingSwindle_CO2Lag

anotherJoe on January 16, 2015 at 1:35 PM

Dear Leader looks a little rattled in this presser……

d1carter on January 16, 2015 at 1:38 PM

Noah, Why Does it take you ten paragraphs to get the point across. Are you paid by the word?
Every other Hot Air contributor posts are half or less as long as yours and more informative.
Reading your posts is often skipped simply because I don’t wish to wade though the added blather.

Noah please make your posts more to the point, less wordy.

1791 on January 16, 2015 at 1:41 PM

And NASA, claim is debunked by ACTUAL scientists before the ink is dry.

Curmudgeon on January 16, 2015 at 1:44 PM

GOP’s partisans have become more conservative

actually I think what you are seeing is people that never used to speak up now are, they’re (my) positions have not changed they (I) just refuse to be silent anymore.

this gives the illusion the party has slid to the right when really its the silent people speaking up driving the party back to where it once was with no actual change in positions of the members themselves.

dmacleo on January 16, 2015 at 1:46 PM

On Friday, NASA and NOAA revealed that a recently conducted study indicated that 2014 was the warmest year on record going back to the 1880s.

We need to consider the source here. James Hansen of the Goddard Space Center of NASA has been beating the “global warming” drum for decades, but has been found to have fudged temperature data when compared to independent (not aligned with the government) scientific analysis such as the University of Alabama at Huntsville.

The placement of temperature recording gauges also plays a role in artificially indicating warming. Many gauges which were in rural areas decades ago are now in densely populated urban areas, subject to the “urban heat island” effect, where heat leaks from buildings and the greater absorption of sunlight by asphalt than by vegetation tends to make cities warmer than the surrounding countryside.

Residents of western New York State, which received SEVEN FEET of snow in four days in late 2014, might have trouble believing that 2014 was the “warmest year ever”!

Steve Z on January 16, 2015 at 1:51 PM

On Friday, NASA and NOAA revealed that a recently conducted study indicated that 2014 was the warmest year on record going back to the 1880s.

More bullshit.

Resist We Much on January 16, 2015 at 1:52 PM

OT or not, h/t canopfor

Schadenfreude on January 16, 2015 at 1:56 PM

The dim nominee will make global warming. climate change weirding of the whether a major campaign issue. That’s because leftists will demand it.

cat_owner on January 16, 2015 at 1:57 PM

Climate Depot’s Marc Morano: ‘Claiming 2014 is the ‘hottest year’ on record based on hundredths of a degree temperature difference is a fancy way of saying the global warming ‘pause’ is continuing.’
Astrophysicist Dr. Dr David Whitehouse: ‘The NASA press release is highly misleading…talk of a record is scientifically and statistically meaningless.’
Climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer: ‘Why 2014 Won’t Be the Warmest Year on Record’ (based on surface data)– ‘We are arguing over the significance of hundredths of a degree’
Climatologist Dr. Pat Michaels debunks 2014 ‘hottest year’ claim: ‘Is 58.46° then distinguishable from 58.45°? In a word, ‘NO.’
No Record Temperatures According To Satellites
Physicist Dr. Lubos Motl: ‘Please laugh out loud when someone will be telling you that it was the warmest year’
Climatologist Dr. Roger Pielke Sr.: ‘We have found a significant warm bias. Thus, the reported global average surface temperature anomaly is also too warm.’
Climatologist Dr. Judith Curry: ‘With 2014 essentially tied with 2005 and 2010 for hottest year, this implies that there has been essentially no trend in warming over the past decade.’

From Climate Depot

Curmudgeon on January 16, 2015 at 1:58 PM

OT but a topic which needs more coverage. h/t thatsafactjack

The Swiss Franc topic is either ignored or covered with an erroneous leftist slant by the media.

It is the biggest topic in the global/economic world, as of yesterday.

Schadenfreude on January 16, 2015 at 2:00 PM

Remember now, the Global Warmists have got Pope Francis on their side, so be careful.

VorDaj on January 16, 2015 at 2:01 PM

There’s nothing quite like pseudoscience to get the endorphins flowing in your average leftist.

Star Bird on January 16, 2015 at 2:01 PM

A Fraud to far, a lie to large and if Americans and the government they elect fall for such a huge bright shinning lie.

It will be true self destruction of the lowest ever known on planet earth.

The facts are at every finger tip.

http://www.wattsupwiththat.com/

Lie kill
Truth is life
Seek truth to live

APACHEWHOKNOWS on January 16, 2015 at 2:05 PM

Heh, they have the oaf and the pope.

Schadenfreude on January 16, 2015 at 1:33 PM

Indeed, truly Brothers From Another Mother with each trying to outdo the other (sibling rivalry, I suppose] and in pretty much every subject: Global Warming, Third World Invasion of America, Islam subservience and Marxism.

VorDaj on January 16, 2015 at 2:06 PM

On Friday, NASA and NOAA revealed that a recently conducted study indicated that 2014 was the warmest year on record going back to the 1880s.

That only true of the ‘normalized’ ground measurements (i.e. they made the pas cooler so the present seems hotter). The satellite data which only goes back 3 or so decades, says 2014 was the 5th hottest.

J_Crater on January 16, 2015 at 2:07 PM

2014 was the coldest year ever and they call it the warmest. Bring them up to Capitol hill to a hearing and make them show their work if they want another nickel.

Buddahpundit on January 16, 2015 at 2:26 PM

Isn’t this why he are seeing article about how the oceans and the earth are near extinction? We’re gonna burn up unless we elect Hillary!

PattyJ on January 16, 2015 at 2:28 PM

Remember now, the Global Warmists have got Pope Francis on their side, so be careful.

VorDaj on January 16, 2015 at 2:01 PM

Maybe it’s just me, but popes somehow seemed a lot smarter when they said a lot less.

cottontail on January 16, 2015 at 2:42 PM

The height of the Little Ice Age is generally dated as 1650 to 1850 A.D.

That’s all you need to know. Temperature reading from the 1880’s to the present aren’t showing global warming, they are showing “global normalization”.

LoganSix on January 16, 2015 at 2:43 PM

Remember now, the Global Warmists have got Pope Francis on their side, so be careful.

VorDaj on January 16, 2015 at 2:01 PM

He just wants to make sure in his head that the warmth he’s feeling isn’t the lake of fire creeping up on him.

LoganSix on January 16, 2015 at 2:46 PM

And. Who trusts nasa and NOAA anymore ?? Esp in this administration

disguted by the elites on January 16, 2015 at 3:27 PM

According to Pew, concern over the warming climate has increased slightly among Republicans and independents, but panic over the changing environment has overtaken Democrats.

Only because it’s nearly certain most liberals will vote Dem because they pay lip service to environmentalists…and it’s a major “anti-Republican” wedge issue.

By contrast, while 71% of Republicans say that strengthening the military should be a top priority, just 41% of Democrats agree.

No doubt the Dems will campaign with the “fear mongering” accusations again.

JetBoy on January 16, 2015 at 4:05 PM

The height of the Little Ice Age is generally dated as 1650 to 1850 A.D.

That’s all you need to know. Temperature reading from the 1880′s to the present aren’t showing global warming, they are showing “global normalization”.

LoganSix on January 16, 2015 at 2:43 PM

Every time I get into arguments with liberals…even many of my friends I’ve known for years…they never can give a decent answer to the fact that global climate change has been happening on Earth since it first started to orbit the Sun. Massive climate change, long before the industrial revolution ever showed up.

JetBoy on January 16, 2015 at 4:08 PM

same as it ever was same as it ever was

Younggod on January 16, 2015 at 8:49 PM