Joe — you’ll no doubt remember the slogan “It ain’t global and it won’t work!” that Bush applied in 2000 against Gore’s support of Kyoto.
Very notable now is the fact that, like the senate’s Byrd-Hagel resolution, it didn’t deny the reality of AGW at all, but rather tried to discredit Kyoto as a step for its mitigation.
While Mrs Clinton did mention climate on several occasions in her campaign — after all but losing to Senator Sanders who’s supporters made it quite an issue - it was Trump who focussed on its denial as an issue in 6 out of 8 of his “First 100 days action” list. So with the Republican party moving into denial (with some memorable flips) after Obama won in 2008 , where has the Democrat party been in terms of utilizing what you rightly call this classic wedge issue ? Apart from Sheldon and a few diehards, they’ve studiously ignored it. Just as Obama did in his hard-fought re-election campaign.
Given the care and calculation that party machines put into evaluating voter concerns, it seems wholly implausible that the party accidentally missed a wedge issue of that scale for two full election cycles. Thus at issue is quite why the party does not want climate to be given the political profile that it warrants ?
You may recall some years ago we briefly discussed the possibility that the circus of denial that was ramped up in 2009 was to provide political cover for Obama’s general neglect of the issue, as has now been capped with his arranging a voluntary goal for Paris of “Net-zero emissions in the 2nd half of the century”, when even European oil corporations were calling for net-zero by 2050. As a ‘denial of urgency’ message to the world such a goal would be hard to beat.
Given also the ongoing commercial decline of the coal industry, and the indications (affirmed by Shell’s CFO) of the near-term peak of oil-demand due to EV sales, the case for the reinforced circus of denial being intended to defend the fossil fuel industry looks increasingly incoherent. So perhaps it’s time to revisit the possibility of a bipartisan foreign policy objective that requires letting climate destabilization rip ?