Donald Trump Wants to Fight About the Green New Deal. Bring it on
Washington, D.C. – During a meandering campaign “press conference” this evening, President Donald Trump once again went on the attack on his favorite political message: the Green New Deal.
Trump has lashed out at climate and the Green New Deal more than 23 times this year, even with a pandemic raging across our nation. This isn’t a surprise. In 2019, Trump directed Republicans to not attack the Green New Deal until the end of the election so it would be ripe for debate. But with the end in sight, Trump has started to zero in.
This is a losing message for the president. Polling overwhelmingly shows that voters support bold action to combat climate change and would vote for a Democrat who supports taking bold action over a Republican who does not.
“Trump knows he’s vulnerable on his toxic environmental and climate record,” said Lori Lodes, Executive Director of Climate Power 2020. “He can lie, distract, mock, and bully all he wants, but the fact is the majority of Americans see through it and are demanding climate action. If Trump wants a fight on climate action, he’ll lose.”
Four months ahead of the November elections, Trump has backed himself into a corner. His response to crises is to attack, distract, lie, scare, and bully — and his favorite target is climate. This stands in stark contrast to Vice President Joe Biden.
Today, Joe Biden revealed a $2 trillion climate plan to create jobs in electricity and transportation while building our infrastructure and combating climate change. The contrast is a problem for Trump. Voters think climate change is a serious crisis the president must address and they do not trust Trump on climate and the environment.
Trump’s insistence on riffing in his rallies on hamburgers, windmills, AOC, and the Green New Deal is not only a losing message for him, but it gives Democrats and climate activists a strong opening to energize young voters, Black voters, and Latinx voters. Plus, his attacks cost him persuadable, Republican-leaning women who want candidates who support strong climate action.
Below are three main points on how Trump will not win the fight on climate change or on the Green New Deal:
1. Trump is not trusted on climate change, clean energy, and the environment.
- A Climate Power 2020 March survey found that 62 percent of Republican-leaning persuadable voters disapprove of Trump’s handling of climate and 72 percent think that strong climate action will be good for the economy.
- A Morning Consult poll found that only 29 percent of voters trust Trump over Biden to handle the environment — a 19-point difference. Trump also trails Biden for voter trust in handling energy issues, by a 7-point margin.
- A poll from June by Research Co found Trump is 20 percentage points behind Vice President Joe Biden on the environment — the biggest gap on any of the issues surveyed.
2. General election voters think climate is a serious issue and want action to build a clean energy future.
- Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the federal government should act more aggressively to combat climate change, and almost as many say the problem is already affecting their community in some way, in a June Pew Research Center survey.
- According to a June 2020 Yale, Climate Nexus, and George Mason poll, more than 70% of voters support legislation to achieve a 100% clean economy by eliminating fossil fuels.
- An April Yale Program on Climate Change Communication survey also found that voters are 55 percent less likely to vote for a presidential candidate who opposes taking action on climate – liberal/moderate Republicans are 35 percentage points less likely to vote for a candidate opposing action.
3. Trump’s ties to the fossil fuel industry, denial of science, and rejection of experts are concerns for voters.
- According to a June 2020 Yale, Climate Nexus, and George Mason poll, a majority of voters (52%) say they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supports bailing out the fossil fuel industry.
- A poll from the Center for American Progress Action Fund and League Conservation Voters found that three in five general election voters are highly concerned about Trump’s record, including how he has done the bidding of oil and gas donors, sided with polluters, rolled back 98 rules protecting the environment, and denies climate science.
- Two-thirds (67%) of Americans support providing financial assistance to renewable energy companies, like wind and solar, according to recent polling. Whereas fewer than half of Americans support bailing out oil, gas, and coal companies.