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How the Democratic Party Has Incurred Major Electoral Losses by Its Mistaken Support for Climate Alarmism

Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Paramount Pictures

By Alan Carlin | Carlin Economics and Science | September 20, 2017

For inexplicable reasons the Democratic Party has in many ways made itself the “Green Party,” and thereby has incurred major electoral losses. Each time it loses as a result of its increasingly green ideology, it has responded by doubling down on its green bet. The underlying miscalculation they have made is a result of the fact that the presidency is decided by electoral votes, not popular votes. Most of the “environmentalists” live in strongly blue states and the red state “environmentalists” are widely scattered in the few large towns, particularly college towns. This was very evident in the 2016 election when Clinton won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote, with much of her surplus of popular votes coming from California. Hillary Clinton has now confirmed this view by writing that her statement on the loss of coal mining jobs was the single greatest mistake of her campaign.

In 2016 the Party went whole hog for climate alarmism by writing it into their party platform and even promising to end all use of fossil fuels by a date certain. Clinton also hurt her prospects in 2016 as a result of her remarks about the loss of coal mining jobs and her last minute endorsement of Al Gore and his strident climate alarmism. Yes, Clinton probably picked up some “environmentalist” votes, but most of them were in states that she was going to win anyway. And she probably lost votes in the states that Trump most needed to win for an electoral vote majority.

But a very good case can be made that the climate issue played a decisive role in the 2000 presidential election, the 2010 congressional election, as well as in the 2016 presidential election. Somehow the Party overlooked or misinterpreted what happened in 2000 and in 2010.


Most people who remember the 2000 presidential election immediately think of the controversial outcome in Florida, which ultimately decided the election. But it would have had no influence if Al Gore had not lost West Virginia for the Democrats for one of the few times from 1932 to then. The deciding issue appears to have been climate and coal mining. In the end, Gore lost the presidential election by 3 electoral votes. West Virginia had 5 electoral votes that year. But all of them went to Bush primarily because of concerns about Gore’s views on climate and the likely effects of climate alarmism on coal mining, an important source of income in the State. West Virginia voted Republican in only three presidential elections from 1932 until 1996 but has become increasingly Republican in presidential voting since 2000. I believe most of that increase can be attributed to the Democratic Party’s increasing support for climate alarmism. If Gore had not pursued climate alarmism or had not been the nominee I believe that the Democrats would have won in 2000.


The 2010 Congressional Election resulted in the Democratic Party’s loss of a majority in the House of Representatives. It appears that this loss was due to the loss of Democratic seats where Democratic incumbents had voted for the American Energy and Security Act of 2010 (the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill). A number of Democrats who voted for the bill lost their seats in 2010 and the Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives and have not regained it as of 2017. This played an important role in their success or rather lack of it during the remainder of the Obama Presidency in passing legislation to implement the party’s platforms.


From a purely Democratic Party viewpoint, their unequivocal adoption of climate alarmism has been a very bad bet. And this week a number of prominent alarmist climate modelers have finally admitted (see here and here) that the alleged “consensus” has been wrong by exaggerating the global warming that would occur if carbon dioxide emissions are not reduced, just as many climate realists have long been saying. This leaves the Democratic Party with a greatly reduced basis for their extremist views on climate. So major electoral losses over an issue that has little, or more likely, no effect on anyone.

I even wonder if the modelers withheld their long needed revisions until after the Paris treaty was agreed to, but wanted to avoid the increasing criticism of the differences between their models and actual temperatures.

As readers of this blog know, I believe that the situation is even worse for climate alarmists and thereby for their Democratic Party supporters since carbon dioxide emissions and atmospheric levels have been shown to have no significant effects on global temperatures and because higher CO2 levels are good, not bad. So the Democratic Party has been backing the wrong horse and has paid dearly for it. They are not saving the world; they are pushing bad policy that hurts the Party’s electoral chances as well as the economy, green plants, and poor people.

September 24, 2017 - Posted by | Economics, Science and Pseudo-Science |

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