MEMO: Climate contrast will help defeat Trump and MAGA Republicans in 2024

To: Interested Parties

From: Lori Lodes, Climate Power Executive Director

Date: January 16, 2023

Re: Climate contrast will help defeat Trump and MAGA Republicans in 2024

Donald Trump notched a victory in the Iowa caucuses last night, with recent snowstorms and record, subzero temperatures playing a role. Not only did extreme weather appear to deflate turnout, but it made the contrast between President Biden who is implementing the most impactful climate plan in history and Donald Trump, a climate denier, crystal clear. Without acknowledging the extreme weather happening right outside his Iowa campaign headquarters, Trump used his victory speech to  tell Americans that his first priority for his Presidency would be to  “drill, baby, drill.” 

While the New Hampshire primary could highlight Trump’s weaknesses outside his most dedicated supporters, it’s clear that the 2024 campaign season is well underway, and as expected, Donald Trump is on track to lock up the Republican nomination. 

Trump has already made climate change denial a central part of his third campaign for the White House, spreading Big Oil backed falsehoods about clean energy, gas prices, and electric vehicles while ignoring the scientific reality of climate change, a theme he continued in his victory speech.

Voters will have a clear choice between Donald Trump, a vehement climate denier and Big Oil darling, or Joe Biden, who passed the largest climate bill in history. 

President Biden’s clean energy plan has already sparked the creation of over 211,000 new clean energy jobs, including significant job growth in the key states of Arizona, Nevada, Michigan, and Georgia. On Trump’s watch, by contrast, auto plants shuttered and jobs disappeared. 

Trump and MAGA Republicans call climate change a hoax and clean energy dangerous. Data shows they’ll lose this argument. Climate denial is a proven political vulnerability for Donald Trump and Republicans. This denial and conspiracy theories about clean energy only drive home the point that Trump and MAGA Republicans are out of touch with the concerns of American voters.

Climate change is now a kitchen table issue for voters, and polling shows Democrats can win by highlighting the climate contrast. 2023 was the warmest year on record – the country saw countless climate-related disasters, from wildfires in Hawaii that killed nearly 100 people to heat waves in Arizona that caused third-degree burns from sidewalks. Just days into the new year, 2024 is expected to become the hottest year on record. From record cold temperatures in Iowa this week to tornadoes and high winds, the entire country has already been battered with extreme weather. Climate has reached voters’ doorstep, and poll after poll shows there is broad consensus that the next president must take action to address it. 

  • 81% of Democrats, 62% of independents and even 51% of Republicans say that the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events are kitchen table issues in their households.
  • Nearly 6-in-10 Americans describe climate change as “a major threat to the country’s well-being.” 69% of Americans name climate change and the environment as an important issue, and 44% as the single “most important issue” aside from the economy and health care. 
  • 58% of young voters, a must-win group for Democrats, say that climate change is “very important” to them. 
  • More than 1-in-3 young voters believe the most convincing reason to vote against Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans is that they call climate change a hoax and would roll back Biden’s progress on clean energy and environmental protections. 
  • 70% of voters want the next president to favor government action to combat climate change. That includes 51% of Republicans and 71% of independents.

Voters want climate solutions and trust President Biden and Democrats over Trump and Republicans to expand our use of clean energy. President Biden and Democrats have delivered when it comes to climate action and clean energy. Telling that story is a key part of assembling the coalition needed for victory up and down the ballot.

  • By double-digit margins, Americans trust President Biden and Democrats more than Republicans to address climate change, 52% to 26%, respectively. Decades of climate denial and Trump’s fixation on attacking clean energy is not only unpopular but has become part of the Republican brand, and President Biden and Democrats enjoy a strong advantage on this issue.
  • Nearly 6-in-10 voters – and 2-in-3 swing voters overall – say they are more likely to support Joe Biden for reelection, after hearing Biden’s first-term climate record. From lowering energy costs and taking on Big Oil and Gas to creating clean energy jobs in communities across America, President Biden has a strong record of achievement to show, not tell voters that he has kept his climate promises. 

Both Trump and President Biden are making climate and energy policy key pillars of their campaigns – thus putting the issue squarely in the political conversation and top of voters’ minds. Voters know climate change is impacting their lives and want to see action taken – including moving more quickly toward clean energy. As attention turns away from messy GOP primary politics and toward the general election, President Biden and Donald Trump’s climate records and platforms are going to be at the center of this contest and deserve robust coverage and scrutiny.