Shhhh! Don’t talk about global warming! There’s been a change in climate for Washington’s greenhouse gang, and they’ve come to this conclusion: To win, they have to talk about other topics, like gas prices and kids choking on pollutants.
More than two years since Democrats’ cap-and-trade plan died in Congress, the strategic shift represents a reluctant acknowledgment from environmentalists that they’ve lost ground by tackling global warming head-on. Their best bet now lies in a bit of a bait and switch: Help elect global warming fighters by basing campaigns on kitchen-table issues.
“You don’t have to be James Carville to figure out that talking about people’s health and the health of their children … is going to make a difference to the average voter,” Daniel Weiss, director of climate strategy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, said.
In particular, the greens are targeting Midwestern swing voters in advance of the presidential and congressional elections in November.
Earlier this month, the Sierra Club and Natural Resources Defense Council made a seven-figure ad buy in swing states featuring young children with asthma inhalers making their way through the Capitol.
“We’re going to talk a lot about the health implications of dirty air,” said Heather Taylor, director of NRDC’s political arm. “I think that the Midwest is one of those places where [there are] a million great clean energy stories, especially. And they’re not being told right now, because we’ve tended to be in other markets. That’s an area where we feel like it’s time to go tell those stories.”