We know that 47 percent of voters supported Donald Trump and, by virtue of our Electoral College system, he was duly elected president. But that doesn’t tell you a lot about what the American people think about specific issues.
Does it mean, for instance, that they want to dismantle our system of environmental protection or go backwards on climate change?
Common sense says that Trump voters don’t want dirty air and water or more asthma attacks for their kids, and a look at the recent polling tells what Americans really value on these issues. After Tuesday, I wouldn’t rely on polls if the spread is close – I think we’ve learned that – but when it comes to climate and clean energy issues, we see significant margins.
Broad support for climate and clean energy action
Let’s start in the ultimate battleground state of Florida. An Election Day exit poll from NBC News said that 66 percent of Florida voters consider climate change to be a severe problem.
Prior to the election, one survey found that 68 percent of voters favor the federal government “taking steps to reduce emissions of gases like carbon dioxide that cause global climate change.”
That’s a strong endorsement for limiting the pollution that causes climate change. Clearly, Trump voters were not offering a mandate for going backwards on the progress we’ve made.
That level of support isn’t new. A University of Texas poll showed that two-thirds of Americans want reducing carbon pollution to be a priority. That obviously includes a lot of Trump voters.
This year, in fact, concern about climate change reached an eight-year high, according to Gallup.
The problem, of course, is that not only has Trump made no proposals to reduce climate pollution; he’s said he’s “not a big believer” in global warming. He’s even promised to try to kill the biggest step America’s ever taken to limit dangerous carbon pollution, the Clean Power Plan.
Far from ‘draining the swamp’ as he promised during the campaign, he’s polluting it.
Trump already seems to be moving to install industry lobbyists in key positions to get this done.
He’s appointed Myron Ebell to run his environmental transition team, an outspoken climate denier and former tobacco industry lobbyist who makes his living as, essentially, a PR man for the oil and coal industry. (Trump is also reportedly considering Wall Street insiders to oversee Wall Street.)
In other words, far from “draining the swamp” as he promised during the campaign, he’s poisoning it.
We can still make our voices heard
So what happens when the people overwhelmingly want to cut pollution and elected officials promise the opposite? Well, that depends on us.
If we’re willing to make our voices heard and tell Congress we want clean energy and clean air, we have a chance to stop these dangerous plans.