It may be too soon for buyers’ remorse on the part of Trump voters. Nonetheless, the environmental exigencies occurring in just the president’s first six months in office are laying the groundwork for repudiation.
While a newly elected Trump was busy reversing President Obama’s climate change initiatives and weakening clean air and water regulations, look at what was taking place.
Just a day after pulling the United States out of the international climate change Paris accord, “green’ skeptic Trump declared Missouri a disaster area because of record flooding. It was the intensity of this flooding, coincidentally, that scientists deemed a high probability consequence of human-generated global warming.
In Oklahoma, a jurisdiction that overwhelmingly backed Trump, unprecedented minor earthquakes were being experienced daily across the state. The disturbances were associated with the extraction of natural gas through the fracking process championed by the president. No one knows if bigger industry-instigated earthquakes loom ahead, but if they do, widespread voter rebellion could erupt.
If earthquakes don’t undermine Oklahomans’ confidence in environmental outlier Trump, perhaps continuation of the record wildfires and high temperatures bedeviling the state in 2017 will.
Trump has boasted of approving the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. The project is opposed by environmentalists primarily because of a contamination threat to underground aquifers and streams that supply fresh water for drinking and irrigation purposes. Despite the oil company’s safety assurances, the Dakota Access Pipeline was the source of three minor spills during Trump’s first six months in office. Do these mishaps augur more serious ruptures? If they do, how will Trump voters react when their drinking water supplies are compromised by a pet presidential project?
During Trump’s first six months, the southwestern United States, a stronghold of his support, encountered record heat and historic drought. Las Vegas and Phoenix suffered through their highest temperatures ever. In Phoenix alone, the atmosphere heated up so intensely that aircraft temporarily could not gain traction for takeoff.
If these record-breaking trends continue, will Trump backers make the climate change connection that their president has so far refused to acknowledge?
Should an environmental disaster occur that is traced to lax regulation, will Trump and his deregulatory crusade be held accountable by grassroots supporters? Environmental degradation is non-partisan, after all, in its choice of victims.
It will be up to the media to keep the latest scientific consensus on repetitive environmental threats front and center so that the public can make educated decisions in the voting booth and their daily lives.
If and when conviction sweeps Trump’s fan club that his promised jobs bonanza and economic boom will not materialize, buyers’ remorse should mushroom.
It will undoubtedly be a more drawn-out affair for Trump voters to connect the president’s environmental intransigence and an uninterrupted string of record breaking natural disasters. But when that revelation occurs, buyer’s remorse will be far more enduring than disillusionment over an economic downturn.