Recently Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, along with Senator Ed Markey, introduced¬†the outline for a massive environmental policy touted as the “Green New Deal.”
While many of¬†its proposals were unrealistic to say the least, it has gained traction with many young progressives.
It’s important to note that the United States isn’t the only country struggling with environmental policy proposals.
Great Britain currently has their own version of passionate activists fighting to save the planet from imminent destruction. Both Republicans and Democrats should pay attention to what’s happening across the pond.
Who and What is Extinction Rebellion?
Extinction Rebellion may sound¬†more like a punk rock band from Liverpool than an environmental group, but they’re currently stirring up lots of attention.
This group of environmental activists¬†have engaged in activities such as pouring fake blood along Downing Street and have even glued themselves in protest to a train.
Their website calls for an “International Rebellion” with the goal in the UK¬†of shutting down London.
One of their demands is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero in less than seven years. To reach this lofty goal they expect society to make massive changes in everything from transportation to how food is¬†produced.
So far the protests have proven to be extremely disruptive for business owners as well as law enforcement.
Even Sadiq Khan has stated that approximately 9,000 law enforcement officials have been called to handle protesters.
If the liberal mayor of London sees this as a problem, it’s a sure sign the group is extremely far left¬†and even radical.
Extinction Rebellion already has groups and protests planned¬†in the United States.
But make no mistake, Extinction Rebellion is about much more than climate change.
At its core are the underpinnings of a true Socialist movement and many of their demands reflect this.
What Can Democrats¬†Learn from this Movement?
Democrats should realize that when progressive groups go off the deep end with the type of antics carried out by Extinction Rebellion that they run the risk of completely alienating moderates and Independents in the party.
Think of groups like Antifa that became so violent and extreme that the vast majority of liberals can’t even support them.
If Democrats hope to pass any legislation regarding the environment they’re going to have to reign in the tactics of far left groups and start bringing some reasonable proposals to the table.
Much of what’s currently in the Green New Deal is either vague or unrealistic.
So far most Democrats don’t seem to be erring on the side of pragmatism.
In March, the Green New Deal was brought before the Senate and was voted down 57 to 0.
Of course 43 of the Senate Democrats declined to take a stand and only voted “present.”
This shows what a bind Democrats are in when it comes to extreme measures such as the Green New Deal.
There is obviously¬†a great deal of conflict within the Democratic Party. Even those that co-sponsored the resolution – Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren – still wouldn’t vote for it.
Why Should Republicans¬†Pay Attention?
Republicans, and conservatives in general, usually¬†benefit when the left gets too extreme.
The Green New Deal, as well as what’s happening in Great Britain, is one of many far left movements that will help Republicans draw in Independents and moderate Democrats.
Republicans need to be careful, however, not to completely dismiss these groups, no matter how extreme their ideas and demands may seem.
An increasing number of both individuals and companies are concerned about the environment and there are realistic and practical steps that can be implemented.
Mitch McConnell, however, made the right move by forcing a vote on the Green New Deal in the Senate.
Even though most Democrats abstained from voting, it clearly showed that they’re not ready to publicly support the agenda the far left is proposing.
This may become a balancing act for Republicans.
On one hand they’ll need to be open to modest environmental policies.
On the other, if they’re too accommodating, they may be feeding the beast.
If what is happening in Europe¬†gains a foothold here, the Green New Deal, and the current push for Socialism, may end up looking tame in comparison.