One of the more interesting side stories of the 2014 election, both in Colorado and nationwide, has been the affinity that climate change activists have developed for abortion. It turns out that Coloradans, and Americans as a whole, want to preserve and protect our environment, but they just are not buying into the extreme arguments of the hardened global warming activists. That left some deep pocketed organizations with a solution looking for a problem. Here’s what Steyer-advisor Craig Hughes, with Hilltop Public Solutions told the Durango Herald late last month:
“The goal is to win the election, and using climate as part of that victory,” said Craig Hughes, a NextGen adviser in Colorado. “This is not about throwing up an ad about polar bears and butterflies going into extinction. This is making it relevant to the voters.”
NextGen Climate PAC, founded by left wing philanthropist Tom Steyer, essentially dumped $70 million into the campaign, supporting losing candidates in Colorado, Florida, and Iowa. It doesn’t appear that climate-abortion message ended up being at all relevant to voters, and was part of the reason that Udall lost.
In fact, National Journal noted that Colorado represented Steyer’s largest national investment, as his group poured $7 million into ads against Senator-elect Cory Gardner. One of the very first ads of this year’s election cycle in Colorado was funded by NextGen Climate, and it hit Gardner on abortion and gay marriage. You know, because climate change.
But a funny thing happened on the way to the ballot box. It turned out that voters weren’t buying what Steyer was selling. An October 2014 Gallup survey showed climate change to be the least important of 13 issues polled. And Steyer’s anti-growth message was poised to actually harm Democrat candidates in swing states that play a key role in America’s energy renaissance (ahem, like Colorado). The convergence of these headwinds forced the climate warrior to abandon the green agenda for other social issues, such as abortion and birth control.
Former Colorado State Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry was recently quoted in the Columbus Dispatch about this exact issue issue: “Climate change is like an afterthought in the wider message, which is a tacit admission that on its own it doesn’t move the dial.”
It will be interesting to see if the Democrats’ same failed messaging will remain in place for 2016, as jobs, the economy, and America’s standing in the world are poised to take center stage. Please say yes!