Eighty percent of us want to transition America to “mostly” clean or renewable energy by 2030.
Right now, many signs point to big opportunities for Democrats in 2018. Trump and the GOP continue to push an unpopular agenda that most Americans see as benefiting the rich at the expense of the middle class. The health care and tax bills are the most unpopular pieces of major legislation in the last 30 years. In part because of this agenda, the generic Congressional Democrat is currently polling 10 points above the generic Republican.
Fossil fuel executives can also see the Blue Wave coming, so we can expect they’ll try to pour even more money into buying off Democrats in 2018. If they succeed in co-opting the Blue Wave, it will be nothing short of disastrous for the fight to secure a safe world for our generation. The Democrats we elect in 2018 must lead one of the biggest government projects in history—a rapid transition to a 100-percent renewable energy economy. If elected, they will be the ones debating how ambitious to make landmark climate legislation in 2021. As the record of the GOP shows, politicians trying to please Big Oil donors cannot be counted on to make decisions in line with what science says is necessary.
These debates and policies will shape the course of human history, and it’s time progressives started acting like it. In 2018, we need to draw a line. Rejecting the bribes of fossil fuel executives, lobbyists and front groups must be the bare minimum of any party seriously claiming to care about stopping climate change and protecting young people’s futures.
For the first time, the millennial generation will be the largest voting bloc in U.S. politics. We’re facing down the terrifying reality that within our lifetimes, climate change will transform our world. We come from diverse communities already feeling the impacts of the crisis, so, unsurprisingly, we overwhelmingly support ambitious climate action. Eighty percent of us want to transition America to “mostly” clean or renewable energy by 2030.
This year, Democratic politicians across the country will have a choice: do they want to court the volunteer hours and votes of young people, or the campaign contributions of fossil fuel executives? Those who choose the support of fossil fuel executives will be judged harshly by history, but the consequences may be felt sooner. Despite the projected ‘Blue Wave,’ Democrats face a difficult and gerrymandered political map in 2018. To win, they will need an energized volunteer army, and that will take the energy and time of tens of thousands from the millennials and Generation Z to pull off. If candidates want our support, refusing money from the people destroying our future is a good place to start.
Varshini Prakash is from Boston and has organized in the climate movement for more than 5 years, leading fossil fuel divestment campaigns on the local and national levels. She is currently the Communications Director for Sunrise.
Stephen O’Hanlon is a proud Pennsylvanian living in Lancaster. He has organized for the past 4 years helping build a powerful progressive movement in Pennsylvania to fight for a government that works for all people, not just a powerful few. He is currently the Pennsylvania Director for Sunrise.