In graduate school, I marched alongside Black Lives Matter. After too many solidarity t-shirts, socialist chants, and three blocks of walking, I turned down a side street and went home. Later that year, the Movement for Black Lives, a policy arm of the movement, released a platform; it moved far beyond racial justice to take stances on the Israel-Palestine conflict and environmentalism. The movement had swept me in with their calls for justice but lost me in proposals.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal suffers a similar weakness. It begins from a largely supported goal: the hope of undoing climate change. Approximately 73 percent of Americans believe that the climate is changing so one would think that a proposal to undo its effects would have overwhelming support. However, AOC’s proposal breaks from proposals for energy infrastructure and environmental regulations, and that’s where it fails.
The deal is a wish list of progressive initiatives. It calls for universal access to healthy food and water, the reparation of historical injustices, and the guarantee of a high paying job for everyone. This short list does not even mention the all-encompassing, unachievable environmental elements of the plan, including high-speed rails, the removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, and the renovation of every building in the United States.
Inclusivity is at the heart of this fault. Not an inclusivity of individuals, but the need to address every issue in every statement and every piece of legislation at all times. A platform for racial justice isn’t complete unless it comments on Israel. A Green New Deal isn’t radical enough until it guarantees a job for everyone. A march for women in America doesn’t support American women until it also supports Palestinian women.
It’s why Bernie Sanders isn’t finding the same grassroots support he did in the last cycle. He talks a good game about class and socialism but is slandered for his apathy towards issues of race. His policy on universal healthcare won’t matter unless it also addresses historic racism. Seeing that, it’s why the majority of the Democratic candidates have pledged support for it; they can’t be seen supporting one aspect of liberal policy and voicing criticism of another. It’s all or nothing.
This policy-inclusivity will be a boon for Republicans in the next election. While the majority of Americans believe in climate change, support of The Green New deal drops with each inclusion. While the majority of Americans believe that race is still an issue, less than half support Black Lives Matter. The majority of Americans support raising the minimum wage but not to $15 dollars and not a universal basic income. The views of the average American is a mixed bag and few fall in lockstep with the extreme of either party.
Compare that with Trump’s message. Like it or hate it, there aren’t many other policy recommendations getting mixed in when he riles a crowd into chanting “build a wall.” Generally, Americans think that the rate of legal immigration should be either kept at the same level or decreased. Trump’s consistency of messaging taps into this support and doesn’t lose it by straying off into other political goals.
On a variety of different issues, a politician can garner a majority of support but as Democrats need to address all the things at all times, they will lose. The Green New Deal should be about environmentalism. Black Lives Matter should be about race. The Women’s March should be about women. Thankfully, the left will feel the need always to champion every element of their continually radicalizing agenda and Republicans will get a better chance in 2020 for it.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.