Dear RNC: I Can Help

Reince Priebus, the chairperson of the Republican National Committee, seems to be in a bit of a jam, so I sent him an email yesterday offering to help out. Haven’t heard back… yet.

Dear Reince,

I heard that you are having trouble finding speakers for the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. It’s been all over the news: few VIPs want to be in the same city as your party’s nominee, let alone the same room. That’s a lot of airtime to fill if you want to keep the television ratings up, which is one thing your nominee seems very concerned about. So I can only imagine you’re under a lot of pressure.

Don’t worry — I’m here to help.

I’d be happy to take the stage at the Republican National Convention and discuss the future of energy policy in this country. Name a time.

To be clear, this won’t be the toughest crowd I’ve ever faced. That’s not just because this season’s NBA finals guaranteed a Warriors fan won’t be the least popular person to visit Cleveland this summer (although your nominee may be in the running for that title if he’s not more careful). It’s because energy policy is actually an area where a growing number of Republicans voters and the Sierra Club actually agree.

In fact, I’d be telling much of the crowd exactly what they want to hear. According to a survey conducted by a trio of leading Republican pollsters, 84% of U.S. voters support “taking action to accelerate the development and use of clean energy in the United States,” including 72% of Republicans. And according to a recent report from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, most supporters of Democratic and Republican candidates think global warming is happening, including 56% of those supporting your nominee.

These changes in public opinion underscore what’s happening in cities and towns across the country. Jobs in clean energy production are being rapidly added in Georgia, Texas, and other traditionally red states, causing Republicans to give our energy policies another look.

Solar companies across the country are employing four times as many Americans as the coal industry, and according to the American Wind Energy Association, every single one of the top 10 wind-energy producing congressional districts is represented in Washington by Republicans. Some Republican politicians are becoming leaders on a transition to clean energy. The Republican mayor of San Diego Kevin Faulconer announced plans to move the nation’s eighth-largest city to 100% clean energy. But the chasm between Republican voters, local Republican officials, and national Republican Party leadership remains larger than the Grand Canyon. Not a single Republican in Congress has proposed a serious solution to the climate change crisis. Seriously. Instead, they almost unanimously back tax breaks for oil companies, to make oil billionaires great again. And while 99% of scientists agree that climate change is happening, exactly 0% of the Republican presidential candidates believed them. That’s impressive.

The Sierra Club, which I represent, is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 2.4 million members and supporters who come from all backgrounds, all communities, and all political parties. That’s because we’ve found that when we are confronted with the climate crisis that threatens every one of us, the divisions between us erode quickly.

That’s the message I’d love to bring to the Republican National Convention — and if polling is any indication, it’ll be welcomed by many of those in attendance. And while it’s an open question as to whether your own party wants your nominee, you’ve got an opportunity to get the national Republican Party to start speaking to the majority of its voters about something they care about: accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Mike