Climate change has emerged as a major issue in U.S. electoral politics and an early focus of debate among potential 2020 democratic presidential candidates. For a growing number of voters, climate action increasingly ranks in importance alongside traditional issues like healthcare, jobs and education.
Yet while a growing number of voters demand that candidates prioritize climate, the issue may also prove to be a political liability for candidates of all stripes in a nation where views on climate have become deeply entwined with social and political identities.
Pioneering environmental sociologist Riley Dunlap, Regents Professor at Oklahoma State University, takes a look at a half century of public dialogue over environment and climate in the United States. He shares insights into the genesis of the public divide over climate change, where the divide stands today, and how it might influence next year’s presidential election.