For the past few election cycles, Democrats employed a very clever and effective strategy. Namely, find wedge issues to divide Republicans within their own party.
Obviously, the strategy is working with Republican establishment and Tea Party types sniping at one another and presumably sitting home rather than vote for supposed turncoats in their own party.
It’s a pretty effective way to win. Perhaps Republicans should try it against Democrats just to stir things up.
It’s no secret that a very shaky alliance exists between two strong sectors of the Democrat coalition. There are the environmentalists who are quite reliable in casting a “D” vote particularly when the candidate speaks out on climate change and green energy issues.
Then there are the unions. Their votes are in the bag when the candidate calls for increases in the minimum wage or offers avenues for increased union membership.
Together these two groups are formidable. But what can happen if they’re torn apart?
The Keystone XL pipeline issue may offer just the laboratory to experiment with this hypothesis.
For six long agonizing years, the Obama Administration has studied and analyzed the proposed pipeline that would bring crude oil from Canada through the United States. Throughout this time, environmental groups and wealthy green donors have fought the project every step of the way possible. So far, they’ve been quite successful as evidenced by the Good Friday decision by the Obama Administration to effectively table a decision on the project indefinitely.
During this time, big labor unions have lobbied heavily for approval of the pipeline. To them, the Keystone XL pipeline means good jobs and improved living conditions for their members. To say that last Friday’s decision made them as unhappy as the green groups gleeful is an understatement.
The comments of Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union, illustrate the tension resulting from the Administration’s announced decision not to decide perfectly.
He said, “This is once again politics at its worst. In another gutless move, the Administration is delaying a finding on whether the pipeline is in the national interest based on months-old litigation in Nebraska regarding a state level challenge to a state process—and which has nothing to do with the national interest. They waited until Good Friday, believing no one would pay attention. The only surprise is they didn’t wait to do it in the dark of night.”
He went on, “It’s not the oil that’s dirty, it’s the politics. Once again, the Administration is making a political calculation instead of doing what is right for the country. This certainly is no example of profiles in courage. It’s clear the Administration needs to grow a set of antlers or perhaps take a lesson from Popeye and eat some spinach.”
Yes, Mr. O’Sullivan is not happy. But just imagine what will happen the day Keystone XL is approved (which it will be eventually—even the liberal Washington Post Editorial Board is lambasting Obama for delaying the approval). On that day, environmental activists will tie themselves to every tree from Minnesota to the Texas border with Mexico in bitter protest. It will be a nasty scene.
This is just one example of the ugly choice Democrats must make when involving themselves in such issues. Lose the environmentalists and their often hefty political donations or lose big unions and their armies of volunteers.
What an awful choice.
As an experiment, perhaps a few GOP candidates should test this theory. Then we could all sit back and watch the Democrats fight and snipe at one another for a change.
We might also witness a few Republican victories including the biggest prize, the White House in 2016.