Tomorrow, November 6th, millions of Americans will vote in hundreds of hotly contested races at the state and federal levels of government. This is being called “the most important election of our lifetime” by the likes of the Washington Post, The Week, and more. While this designation is due, in large part, to issues like the economy, health care, and “the treatment of racial and ethnic minorities,” the fact of the matter is that climate change is possibly the most important issue being voted on in tomorrow’s midterms.
Not only are we on the edge of a knife, according to climate scientists, with only a decade to get climate change under control, but we currently have a presidential administration that regularly receives Fs on their environmental report cards.
The good news? Young voters aren’t down with this anti-environmental noise. According to a study unveiled at the 2016 United Nations Climate Change Conference, for 40 percent of young voters, climate change is the most important issue. Furthermore, fully 83 percent of Gen Z-ers surveyed believe that their governments need to listen to young people about climate change, and 80 percent believe that politicians have not done enough to address the matter.
Tomorrow’s election will be incredibly telling. “The most important climate actions” happen on the state level according to Vox. Additionally, per Axios, many climate fights are happening through state-level ballot initiatives and congressional climate policy. Meaning that the midterm elections may hold the key to turning around our approach to the environment.
Believing that the most effective way you can make a difference is by voting, we’ve put together a guide to all the politicians up for election tomorrow who don’t believe in climate change or otherwise have environmentally damaging political views. It’s no secret that young voter turnout can make a huge difference in the outcome of tomorrow’s races. To that we say: Get. Out. There.
Ted Cruz, Texas
Cruz was first elected to Senate in 2012; he’s running against House Rep. Beto O’Rourke.
Cruz is a household name, thanks in large part to his failed 2015-2016 campaign for the GOP presidential ticket. But he should also be well-known for his anti-environmental policies. He has netted a 3 percent rating (out of 100) from the League of Conservation Voters, and during his primary campaign in 2015, he famously said, “The scientific evidence doesn’t support global warming.”
He later clarified that he believes attempts to regulate climate change via carbon taxes and other means is effectively a liberal conspiracy to hold “government power over the economy, the energy sector and every aspect of our lives.”
Rick Scott, Florida
Scott is the current governor of Florida; he’s running for Senate against incumbent Senator Bill Nelson.
The current governor of the sunshine state reportedly banned officials in the Florida Department of Environmental Protection from using the terms “global warming,” “climate change” and “sustainability.” Further, he was a staunch supporter of Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord in 2017 and has consistently supported legislation that will reportedly leave Florida—already one of the most vulnerable states as climate change worsens—open to even more disastrous outcomes.
Dean Heller, Nevada
Heller was appointed to Senate in 2011 and then elected to a full-term in 2012; he’s running against House Rep. Jacky Rosen.
Not very long ago, Heller said, “There always has been [climate change], there always will be,” but the impact from humans, he said, is “up for debate.”
While his butt-clenchingly tight race with Democrat Rosen has seen Heller ever so slightly change his tune on man-made climate change, his voting record says everything you need to know. He has voted against protections for delicate ecosystems, water protections, recycling programs, and more, and consistently votes against greenhouse gas regulation bills.
Cindy Hyde-Smith, Mississippi
Hyde-Smith was initially a Democrat but switched parties in 2010. She was appointed to the Senate in 2018; she’s running against Chris McDaniel, another Republican, and Mike Espy, a Democrat, in this special election.
Hyde-Smith has only been in the Senate for about six months, but she’s been in politics for nearly two decades. Further, she’s a cattle rancher and the former state Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce, so we know a fair amount about her beliefs. For example, she has supported the Trump administration’s rollbacks of Obama-era climate change policies, including a 2015 policy that required energy companies to reduce carbon emissions.
Martha McSally, Arizona
McSally is currently a House Rep. for Arizona’s 2nd district; she’s running against Democratic House Rep. Krysten Synema.
McSally is one of a growing number of Republicans who say they believe in man-made climate change but who vote in a manner that will exacerbate environmental problems. In a candidate interview with AZ Central, McSally said, “Our environment and the Earth’s climate are changing and there is likely a human element to it.” But she quickly followed up by blaming “crushing regulations” for myriad problems in Arizona and the US at large. She has voted against methane pollution safeguards, clean air protections, EPA funding, and voted to get rid of nation-wide limits on carbon emissions.