This past week, we saw environmental issues once again pop into the news headlines, most notably, the Trump administration’s move to roll back Obama-era emission standards for cars and other vehicles. The move was condemned by pretty much all Democrats, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo crafting a scathing op-ed for the Daily News.
The outrage and subsequent headlines about the perils of climate change dissipated quickly as the media, and politicians, moved on to the next enraging thing.
With all the political noise going on, it is easy to forget that the most pressing and life-threatening issue of our time may very well be global warming and its impact on our society. As damaging as the Trump administration’s rhetoric has been in regard to race relations, immigration and foreign policy, his administration’s rollback of environmental protections may be the most harmful thing he has done since taking the oath of office.
Democratic candidates seeking office are often eager to talk about how horrible Trump’s presidency has been for working families, but this talk often sticks to tax breaks for the rich and declining healthcare options. While both topics are important, the candidates should add environmental degradation to their stump speeches.
And, if you are running in a primary against a fellow Dem who likely has similar views on the environment, why not try to set yourself apart from your opponent by proposing bold initiatives and then hammering that home as part of your campaign? Gov. Cuomo is a great example. He has a record of proposing some of the most environmentally progressive policies in the country, including a call to make 40 percent of energy come from renewable sources by 2030. Yet, this doesn’t appear in his television campaign ads, and he hardly talks about this in his heavily orchestrated campaign stops.
Sometimes leadership means cutting through the noise and talking about the really important things, even if they aren’t in the headlines.