Our Climate is On the Ballot – Protect It

By Michael Dover

I’m a climate voter. 

It’s no secret that the extremists who now control the Republican Party are vehemently opposed to ending our addiction to fossil fuels, the main culprits in the climate crisis. Even before the rise of Donald Trump, diplomats who forged the Paris Accords cited the U.S. Republican Party as the most serious obstacle in the world to climate progress. 

There are few publications as deeply respected and nonpartisan as Scientific American, and they essentially also namedthe Republican Party as the primary obstacle to any serious global progress on slowing climate catastrophe. That’s why those accords were not a binding treaty — they knew it would never be ratified by the US Senate.

When Trump won in 2016, I knew the only way to climate progress lay in defeating the Republicans. I joined a new organization, Swing Left, and helped organize its first campaign to win back the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2018, with many thousands of other volunteers, we did that, and two years later we saw Trump defeated. But in Trump’s four years, he and his allies did everything they could to scuttle climate action. That included stacking the federal courts — at every level from District to Appellate to the Supreme Court — with far right “conservatives” who would block governmental efforts to prevent climate catastrophe.

We’re still playing catch-up, even with the passage of the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act, which contains the biggest piece of climate legislation in decades. And the Republicans are now saying that they will block all of Biden’s programs if they retake Congress in the upcoming midterm elections. Even worse, they threaten to take control of the election process itself in several swing states, which could end up throwing the 2024 presidential election to their candidate — probably Donald Trump — regardless of the popular vote in those states. What will happen to progress on climate action then?

If you’re worried about climate change — the wildfires, super-storms, droughts, floods, rising seas, and climate refugees — please vote like the life of the planet is on the ballot, because it is. If you live in a key swing state like Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Arizona and Nevada, please contact friends and relatives, and urge them to vote for the straight Democratic ticket. 

If you live in or know someone in Utah, urge them to vote for Evan McMullin for the Senate, the independent challenging ultra-right Republican Mike Lee. If you live in a “safe” Democratic state, contact folks you know in those states and encourage them to vote for Democrats. Ask your friends everywhere to support Democratic candidates for the House.

In the 2018 midterms, a huge turnout of voters concerned about Republican extremism gave us the votes to flip the House. Now it’s time to keep the Congress Democratic and begin flipping Republican-dominated state governments. Let’s save our democracy so that we can save progress on climate.

Michael Dover (mdover@leverettnet.net) is a steering committee member of Indivisible Northampton–Swing Left Western Massachusetts.

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