1. Infrastructure Spending. The Democrats continue to support and fund the construction and repair of 20th century infrastructure, which includes a transportation system almost exclusively centered on the automobile. The United States needs a 21st century transportation system that emphasizes mass transit, including high-speed rail.
2. Fracking. Oil and natural gas companies are fracking the hell of states such as Colorado (with the full backing of its Democratic Governor and Democratic legislature).
3. GM Bailout. GM is again manufacturing big, gas-guzzling pick-up trucks and big cars. In September 2014, the GM “Silverado” full-sized pick-up witnessed a 54% increase in sales compared to the previous month. Sales of light-duty trucks (a category that includes SUVs, mini-vans, pick-ups, and crossover vehicles) in the U.S. over the previous nine months of this year equaled a whopping 6,384,646. Dealers sold more vehicles in the light-duty truck category than vehicles designated as “cars” during every month of 2014. Remember when the public believed Obama would require GM (which the government owned back in 2009) to become “Green.” Well, it isn’t Green.
4. Agriculture Policy. Obama’s Department of Agriculture (under Tom Vilsack) along with Democratic congressional reps (such as Tom Harkin (D-IA)) have aided and abetted the “Corn Craze” that has swept through the Midwest in recent years. By supporting maximum corn production, the Dems have overseen the destruction of millions of acres of CRP land, native prairie, and wetlands. Environmental values, particularly wildlife habitat, have been severely harmed as a result.
5. Keystone XL. The pipeline is still alive and kicking. There is a real chance the U.S. will be refining Canadian tar sands oil in the near future.
6. Disaster Reconstruction. The Dems have backed the reconstruction (at a cost of tens of millions of dollars) of a flood-prone navigation channel and levee system along the Missouri River. After the Colorado floods of 2013, the Dems fully supported the reconstruction of roads and communities in narrow, flood-prone valleys in the Rocky Mountains. Dem policy has been to rebuild or repair the same outdated system of levees, dams, and river control works that failed in the past and will fail in the future.
7. Defense Budget. For years, the Dems have fully backed the Pentagon and its bloated budgets. Spending billions to build nuclear submarines, nuclear aircraft carriers, uranium-tipped ordnance, and various weapons of mass destruction is not conducive to the long-term survivability of the human species. Even if Nuclear Armageddon is avoided (and there is no guarantee that we will avoid it), disposing of old nuclear weapons and nuclear waste poses risks to the biosphere.
8. Overpopulation. No one in the Democratic Party is talking about the need to limit the world’s human population or the population of the United States. If we don’t limit our numbers, we are going to really stuff up the environment. And a denuded environment is not going to support a high population.
9. Climate Change. Coal-burning power plants produce more CO2 than any other source in the U.S. Of course, CO2 is the culprit behind the world’s warming temperatures. Yet, the U.S. Energy Information Administration recently acknowledged: “U.S. coal production is projected to remain relatively constant over the next three decades.” The U.S. is going to continue to burn coal at home and export it abroad. Additionally, U.S. oil consumption is again on the rise, amounting to over 18.9 million barrels a day in 2013. It rose further in 2014. Automobile emissions are the second greatest source of CO2 in the United States. So much for the Dems doing anything substantive on curtailing emissions or addressing climate change.
10. Water Pollution. The Great Lakes Algae Bloom in 2014, the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico, nitrates in Midwestern rivers and lakes, hog manure and cattle waste in streams from California to New York, mercury in western U.S. reservoirs – America’s rivers, lakes, and subsurface waters are full of pollutants. What are the Dems doing about it? Very little.
The Dems have repeatedly scorned the environmentalists. Party leaders believe the environmentalists will always side with the Democratic Party because the Dems are the lesser of two evils – the greater evil being the GOP. But environmentalists need to recognize a sobering fact of politics in America: the Democratic Party may be the lesser of two evils, but many of its environmental policies actually dovetail with the GOP’s policies.
The Dems also ignore the environmentalists because the Greenies do not have an economically-powerful, highly-organized, stable constituency. Instead, the environmentalists’ constituency is issue-based, meaning it coalesces around an issue and then dissolves when the issue fades from public consciousness. If the environmentalists had big bucks behind them, a disciplined organization, and a large, permanent national constituency – the Democrats would take notice. But until that happens, the environmentalists can expect to be ignored by the Dems.
Finally, environmentalists have been marginalized by the Democratic Party because, let’s face it, the majority of the American people are more interested in their financial and material well-being than in environmental quality. Thus, the Dems respond to what the American people want, which is a traditional economic growth model that places the environment low on the list of political priorities.