MAGA uses its culture war playbook against climate action to rile up the base ahead of the midterm election

  • Published on September 20th, 2022

The Simpsons reference of someone accidentally saying the quiet part out loud went from quote to cliché during the Trump administration, but it’s sadly still relevant, so we’re using it. Because over the summer, one of the headlines covering the Deny, Deceive, Delay report on climate disinformation was that “Facebook, Twitter let climate fall into culture wars.” But that passively-phrased headline masks an important finding of the report. Climate didn’t “fall into” the so-called “culture wars,” it was pushed, by fossil fuel-affiliated pundits and politicians.

the simpsons: Saying the quiet part out loud
(© The Simpsons/20th Century Studios/The Walt Disney Company)

By Climate Denier Roundup

More recently, a NPR piece concluded that “Republicans are trying to score political points ahead of elections,” but only at the end of a story with a similarly passive-voiced headline: “How ESG investing got tangled up in America’s culture wars.” ESG is not an actor! Republicans tangled it up into America’s “culture wars!”

And they’re not even shy about it, now owning up to it, and encouraging more! “GOP’s unifying midterm strategy,” according to Emily Jashinsky’s recent Federalist headline, “should treat Democrats’ green agenda as culture war.” It’s apparently a way “to bridge pre-Trump establishment politics with post-Trump populism,” as the one thing both the explicit racists of Trumpian politics and the (recently) quiet but just as ill-intentioned bigots of the Mitch McConnell faction have in common is a love for fossil fuels and all its contributions falling into their campaigns.

But the environmental policies favored by a vast majority of the country should be used as a political weapon by describing them as being for the elite because Jashinsky says the culture war’s opposition to everything anti-racist is “‘the big tent’ — a narrative that when properly framed is more moral and more politically expedient than avoiding the matter altogether.”

By shifting blame for high gas prices off of the companies charging high prices and reaping high profits, and on to Democratic wishes for more renewable energy, and framing electric vehicles as being only for the rich, or solar panel subsidies as going to China (despite the IRA taking pains to avoid that), Republicans can deliver a message welcome to both the Trump and McConnell wings of the GOP, as though there’s any real difference between the camps, save for the aforementioned Trumpian approach of saying the quiet (racist) part out loud.

(Originally appeared at DailyKos)




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