Boxer and Brown sweep to victory by 10 points, while Prop 23 fails by a staggering 61% to 39% in a “decisive and historic victory for the state’s clean energy economy, clean air and climate policy”
California is the only place in the country where climate and clean energy activists aggressively pushed their message across the board in the face of strong, well-funded opposition by Big Oil. The Golden State hints at what might have happened had President Obama embraced action on climate and clean energy — and backed it up with aggressive and consistent messaging as Boxer, Brown, and the No-On-Prop-23 coalition did.
Proposition 23 — “the first and largest public referendum in history on clean energy policy” — brought together an amazing bipartisan coalition to beat back Texas oil companies’ effort to kill California’s landmark climate bill, AB32. It was crushed by more than 20 points — 61% to 39%!
Carly Fiorina tried to beat climate hawk Barbara Boxer in the Senate race by flip-flopping on climate action and clean energy (see Politico on CA Senate debate: “Fiorina’s major stumble came on the issue of Proposition 23” and “The dumbing down of Carly Fiorina). But Boxer won by a remarkable 52-42.
Meg Whitman said she would suspend AB32 for a year, but even after she broke records by spending more than $160 million, Jerry Brown beat her handily — by almost a million votes! — with a campaign built around an aggressive clean energy policy.
The L.A. Times explains how No-on-Prop-23 did it, pointing out, “No environmental campaign in U.S. history can boast the level of activism in California this year“:
Prop 23 opponents mustered 3,200 volunteers, made 2.8 million phone calls to voters, sent out 3.4 million pieces of mail, made 379,676 on-campus contacts with college students, and operated a sophisticated computerized outreach program that identified and contacted 481,000 voters, and showered voters with 900,000 get-out-the vote phone calls and text messages in the last three days….
“It is the largest public referendum in history on climate and clean energy policy,” said Fred Krupp, president of the New York-based Environmental Defense Fund. “Almost 10 million Californians got a chance to vote and sent a clear message that they want a clean energy future. And this was in an economic downturn. There has never been anything this big. It is going to send a signal to other parts of the country and beyond.”
Here’s the bottom line message on Prop 23:
- California voters delivered a decisive win for the clean energy economy.
- The clean energy economy is working in California – and voters know it.
- This election led to a new bipartisan coalition focused on making the clean energy economy happen (see George Shultz on Prop 23: “Those who wish to repeal our state’s clean energy laws through postponement to some fictitious future are running up the white flag of surrender to a polluted environment.”)
- This was a huge victory for the climate.
This should send a message that opposition to clean energy and pollution reductions can be politically costly — if it is met with unabashed messaging by climate hawks. Here is a news release posted on Time.com on Prop 23:
This post has been updated.