Sometimes it’s difficult to dig through all of the Donald Trump news about whatever outrageous thing he’s said most recently (and the entire world reacting in alleged horror to it) and find the nuggets of actual policy which are being proposed. Largely unnoticed amid all the noise was the energy policy speech he gave in North Dakota last week. Since he was whacking Hillary Clinton pretty hard, most of the media coverage I noticed seemed to focus on that, but underneath it all there was a substantial message. We have plenty of energy and we need to leverage this advantage to America’s benefit. (AP wire)
Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump unveiled an “America first” energy plan he said would unleash unfettered production of oil, coal, natural gas and other energy sources to push the United States toward energy independence…
Trump delivered the policy address just hours after The Associated Press determined he had won the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican presidential nomination. He focused on coal, in particular, to help make his case against Clinton, his likely Democratic opponent in the general election…
Trump said Thursday he would do everything he could “free up the coal” and bring back thousands of coal jobs lost amid steep competition from cheaper natural gas and regulations designed to cut air pollution and reduce greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.
As is so often the case, you can tell how good of a plan something is by how the liberals react to it. When Vox is referring to the speech as a sign of “horrifying gullibility” we can be fairly sure that we’ve struck on a winner. Unfortunately for Trump, there are complications which come along with talking energy during this particular campaign. Fighting for the jobs of coal miners is great politics in certain swing states (and should be encouraged as far as I’m concerned) and there’s no question that Barack Obama’s EPA has been doing their level best to drive the coal industry out of business. But at the same time, coal mines are also shutting down because they’ve become victims of our own success in the energy wars. As natural gas becomes cheaper and easier to develop (while being far cleaner than coal) there’s downward pressure on the coal market. There’s not much they can do about free market forces, nor should the federal government interfere in those.
Also, fighting for jobs in the oil and gas industry is a powerful, positive argument to use against Hillary Clinton and the renewable energy crowd, but it takes a lot more effort to get the message to sink in with voters. Our success in becoming a global leader in oil production has led to steady, low gas and heating oil prices. This is great news, but it also drives the importance of the issue out of many voters’ minds. It’s easier to get out the vote from people who just paid five bucks a gallon to fill up their car than when they’re no longer focusing on prices at the pump.
Still, with all the uncertainty over many of Trump’s proposals, this is at least one that he can hang his hat on and it’s a winner with voters, even if it’s no longer at the top of their priority list. Now if we can only get him to do the same with taxes.