As polls shows climate action winning issue, green campaigners mobilize for Democrats in key Senate and House races

"Arizona, Iowa, Maine, and South Carolina could hardly be more different, but solid majorities of voters in each state support building a clean energy economy."

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SOURCECommon Dreams
Image Credit: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Determined to elect candidates who will fight for the climate action that an increasing majority of the American public demands, five national organizations on Friday launched the “Green Wave 2020” initiative, a multimillion-dollar effort to elect Democratic candidates in competitive House and Senate races.

As new polling revealed the extent to which a majority of voters are demanding bold action to address the climate emergency, the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) Action, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Action Fund, and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) Action Fund announced the campaign. 

“The stakes for the environment, for our climate, and for communities suffering the worst consequences of toxic pollution across the nation have never been more stark than in 2020,” said Sierra Club President Ramon Cruz in a statement. “This unprecedented mobilization of our collective membership, including millions of members nationwide, will also help build lasting infrastructure in key states and districts that environmental champions running for office can rely upon for future election cycles.”

Data for Progress released new surveys of voters in Maine, Arizona, South Carolina, and Iowa showing that majorities of voters in the key states want the federal government to invest in climate policies that would allow the U.S. to fully transition to a renewable energy economy by 2035. 

Maine voters were the most enthusiastic about bold climate action, with 65% of respondents saying they support investments in clean electricity. In each of the states, independent voters said they want the federal government to invest in bold reforms; 54% of Arizona independents agreed, while 53% of Iowa independents, 61% of Maine independents, and 57% of South Carolina independent voters said they want the government to prioritize a shift to clean electricity. 

The poll numbers confirm that climate action is far from being an issue that’s favored only in blue states or by Democratic voters, said Climate Power 2020, a coalition formed by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the LCV, and the Sierra Club. 

“The politics of climate change have changed, and voters from coast to coast back bold action on climate,” said Lori Lodes, executive director of Climate Power 2020. “Arizona, Iowa, Maine, and South Carolina could hardly be more different, but solid majorities of voters in each state support building a clean energy economy.”

In addition to backing “environmental champions” running in four Senate races and more than 30 House elections, including Sara Gideon in Maine and Rep. Cindy Axne in Iowa, Green Wave 2020 is boosting Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s campaign efforts in swing states. 

The proposal that Data for Progress’s survey focused on “is a cornerstone of Joe Biden’s transformational plan to invest in clean energy infrastructure and combat climate change,” said Lodes.

The Green Wave campaign is sending 70 professional organizers into 15 states to oversee remote phone and text banking supporting the candidates. Organizers will also promote early and mail-in voting.

Margie Alt, a climate campaigner and former executive director of Environment America, boosted recruitment efforts on social media.

“The organizers will work to mobilize environmental group members to volunteer on elections to help the environmental community build a Green Wave that is big and strong enough to turn the tide in Washington D.C.,” a press release announcing Green Wave 2020 stated. 

Climate Power 2020 urged Biden to pay close attention to Data for Progress’s poll—just the latest survey to indicate how important bold climate action is to voters. 

“Climate is a top issue among the voters who will determine this election—Republican-leaning suburban women, youth voters, and voters of color,” said the group. “Biden needs to appeal to independent voters—chiefly women—who swung from Obama to Trump in 2016 to win…Voters from across the political spectrum and across the country have increasingly noted that climate is influencing their enthusiasm to vote and is playing a factor in who they will support up-and-down the ballot next month.”

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