Light Green Conservatives: I’d Argue With This!

On framing, Overton windows, and messengers

Diane Toomey from Yale Environment 360 interviewed Angel Garcia, a Republican with Young Conservatives for Energy Reform, with the article titled How to Talk About Clean Energy With Conservatives.

I’d argue with both Toomey and Garcia, but in very different ways:

I argue that this is not “how to” frame energy reform if you are an environmentalist, scientist or liberal. Garcia might be a good messenger for clean energy outreach to conservatives, but his framing is not a good “how to.” Garcia’s organization runs away from the words “climate change” and basic science. If people are not listening to your words or to science because of partisanship, then as long as you are the untrusted messenger, you still won’t be heard. This is not a “how to,” but “find a messenger they’ll accept.”

I’d also argue with Garcia. Loud and often! I think it’s good to post this article and go after it from the left. Point out the intellectual cowardice of refusing to engage climate science directly. Because all press is good press, and liberals blasting the shortcomings of Angle Garcia’s position on climate change is actually the very best thing we can do for him, to get sane conservatives airtime and real conversations started. We shouldn’t water down our own views — but stop giving Trump oxygen by arguing with him all the time, and find people like Garcia to argue with. If ten million liberals went after Garcia and filled social media with it, ten million conservatives would defend his views on clean energy.


Originally published at cognitivepolitics.org on June 22, 2017.