Donald Trump guaranteed himself the presidency by winning Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin in 2016. Democrats will certainly double and treble their efforts in those states next year, but may be hampered by a crucial twenty-first century conundrum: how to we weigh environmental interests and economic ones?
This morning’s edition of The Daily examined fracking–yes, the missing letters in the title of this post are “r” and “a”–and the impact it will have on the 2020 election. Fracking is a controversial method of extracting fossil fuels because of potential environmental consequences. It also offers jobs with union wages and benefits in a number of rust belt states like Pennsylvania. If Democrats select a candidate who promises an end to fracking, they may very well be wrapping that crucial state in a red ribbon for Donald Trump. Pennsylvania’s current Lieutenant Governor, John Fetterman (D), believes that Hillary Clinton’s pledge to end coal mining cost her the rust belt, and urges progressives not to make the same mistake twice.
Environmentalists argue that a greener economy will improve the lives of all Americans over time, and that pitting environmental interests against economic self interest is a false dichotomy. Explain that to the families in western Pennsylvania–or the farmers in Mississippi–who fear that tighter environmental laws will regulate them out of a way of life and into bankruptcy.