William Murray, a former speechwriter for the Environmental Protection Agency, argues that years of tightening environmental regulations slashed working-class jobs and alienated working-class voters. That laid the path for Donald Trump.
Many people assume that Trump’s political successes stem from his trade policies and opposition to illegal immigration. No, writes Murray in Quillette:
“[T]there is strong evidence that the country’s environmental policies and practices over the past half-century—and their contribution to lower economic growth and rising income inequality—have brought class tensions to a breaking point.”
“As wide as the partisan gaps are concerning illegal immigration and free trade, none can compare to those on environmental protection and global warming. In 2019, Gallup found that 86 percent of Democrats say the government is doing too little in terms of environmental protection, while only 25 percent of Republicans believed the same.”
Many voters “now believe that the environmental gains in the country from past industrial damage are largely complete, and that undermining job creation through climate-change policies hurts American workers in the future more than it helps.”
“The disincentives of environmental regulations are real, and while they were justified on human health grounds during its first decades, they have achieved a law of diminishing returns. “
His argument is persuasive.
Image of Donald J. Trump (at Arlington National Cemetery) is in the public domain.