Whither the environmental movement?
This post, and this one, and this discussion are part of a larger conversation going on among left-leaning types about how to react to the recent electoral ass-whooping we received. Initially, a lot of the talk focused on the “moral values” voters who came out to prevent the cosmic apocalypse that is gay marriage. Least that’s what the exit polls seemed to show. However, this article, and several like it, cast substantial doubt on that theory. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be much of a rational pattern. Bush gained among Hispanics and women, actually went down among rural voters and up among urban voters, lost among self-described moderates, increased the turnout of rich people, won on terrorism despite majorities who said he was screwing Iraq up … in short, there doesn’t seem to be a silver bullet theory to explain the loss (more on all this here). It was a hotly fought ground war, a game of inches, and Bush’s team got lots of things right, pardon the pun.
Nonetheless, the question of where the environmental movement goes from here is still relevant. I think we can all agree that, regardless of this election, environmentalism is not where it should be. Nobody, after all, cites the environment as a reason that any candidate won or lost. Nobody much cites it at all as a player in electoral politics, aside from a few extremely narrow issues like Yucca Mountain, which is more of a “don’t dump radioactive crap in my back yard” issue than a strictly environmental one.
So, I’ve got some thoughts on the matter. I’ll do my best to get them down in a series of posts, starting with the next one. I hope it sparks some pragmatic discussion, because I gotta tell you, whatever this is, most of it isn’t particularly pragmatic.