Will this be the 2012 election map?
The basic framework for this argument is this map:
...which shows the top sixteen coal-producing states in the USA. There's a total of 182 Electoral Votes at stake, there - and in 2008 there were 180. Obama actually won coal-producing states in 2008, 100 to 80; and if no states flip in November, he'll win them, 96 to 86. Except that... states are going to flip. Indiana's already gone; and of the remaining six Obama states only New Mexico and Illinois are not considered toss-ups. The administration's relentless hostility towards coal production and use may have already contributed to Democratic electoral disaster: since Obama took office the state governments and legislatures of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia have all been taken over by Republicans; in Colorado we flipped the House of Representatives; and in New Mexico we captured the governorship. Heck, we even gained seats in the Illinois legislature, and came very close to winning the governorship.
The question is, is it fair to wonder whether coal will make things worse for the Democrats? I think so. In Virginia they're worried about new EPA regulations on air quality. In Colorado people are noticing that President Obama and EPA chief Lisa Jackson are fighting the United Mine Workers. Pennsylvanian Republicans are already campaigning on the issue; so are Ohioan Republicans. All in all, this combination of stubborn refusal to budge from a radical Green agenda + an economy that can pretty specifically not support the inefficient luxury of a radical Green agenda = increased risk in a variety of Obama '08 states.
Such a shame.
Moe Lane (crosspost)