NPR Host: Does McConnell Have to Die Before Congress Addresses Climate Change?

September 23, 2019

An NPR show discussed whether or not Democratic voters believe they have to wait until Sen. Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) dies to persuade Republican voters to take action on climate change.

1A host Joshua Johnson speculated that Democratic voters think they are "just going to have to wait for the Mitch McConnells of the Republican Party to die" before persuading GOP voters on climate change.

"I know this is kind of a nihilistic question, but I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard a Democratic voter say, 'We're just going to have to wait for the older ones to die off,'" Johnson said. "We know that this current generation is much more pragmatic, much more solutions-oriented. The old folks aren't going to change, they're the ones in power."

Johnson asked Time reporter Justin Worland how Democratic voters can swing climate-skeptical Republican voters.

Worland responded that younger voters who are more sympathetic to addressing climate change need to become more active in the Republican Party.

"I think the question is can young people change the dynamics within the Republican Party such that they feel like they need to do something of substance," Worland said.

"I don't think that's about dying out, I think it's about young people showing that they're engaged, that they care about this and really pushing that envelope. I don't think you need to wait for however long for Mitch McConnell and his fellow older Republicans to die off," he said.

"I mean, come on. You're going to wait for Mitch McConnell to die? There are these things called elections. You can vote," said Yale University's Anthony Leiserowitz.

"You want change? Vote."

A February 2019 Pew Research Center poll found Republican voters have become more sympathetic to enacting stricter environmental regulations since 2017. Forty-five percent of Republican voters said they have a positive view of environmental regulations, an increase of 9 percent from 2017.