A new front in the Biden-Trump fight for the suburbs: Wildfire

LOS ANGELES – The explosion of wildlife of the West by President Trump and Joseph R. Biden Jr. has opened up a new battleground in significant competition for suburban voters, with increasing evidence Climate change is a serious concern for many Americans, especially women, looking at nighttime images of destruction and a thick blanket of strong wind.

Mr. Trump has sought to counter his sharp decline among suburban voters, stating that democratic control of the White House would be a threat to the security of criminals, a crime, riot and spectator of one There are many approaches to overcome the racist fears that “invade” low-income housing.

But Mr. Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, is trying to redefine what “security” means to voters swept by fear amid an epidemic in the streets, social unrest and now deadly wildfires. He is leading climate change as a more real and immediate threat to the suburbs than the violence depicted in Mr. Trump’s advertisements and public comments, seizing in a speech on Monday, devastating fires through forests, Destroying homes and taking lives.

“It’s especially tangible for people,” said Kate Bedingfield, Mr. Biden’s deputy campaign manager.

Mr. Biden’s speech came as Mr. Trump paid a final visit to California to meet with officials battling the catastrophe, and disputed his claim that there was a connection between the state and the widespread fire of climate change.

Events suggest that an issue that has always been in national presidential campaigns – and this time seemed to be eclipsed by epidemics and social unrest – may come to the forefront for only seven weeks until election day.

At least for some suburban voters, especially those who live in the West, the danger of losing health risks to their homes on fire or their smoke-clogged skies families is spot on by Mr. Trump in his social speeches There seems to be more immediate than unrest. And advertising.

“We’re not seeing a change in crime,” said California Representative Katie Porter, a Democrat who represents the once solid Republican district in Orange County. “People are trying to stay in the house, trying to be safe.”

More broadly, the fire in the West – and Mr. Trump’s “it will start to calm down, you just see” imbalance of climate science during his visit to California – has reinforced the president’s perception of it as anti-science , Especially after him open skepticism to experts suggests him to act more aggressively against the Kovid-19 epidemic.

Democratic polyester Ana Greenberg said, “The fires that are going on in the West are apparently blue-colored states and much of the country is not experiencing it.” “But it’s a reminder to a lot of people – especially to these better educated suburban voters who thought they would react to law and order – how against science.”

Mr. Trump’s California-based Republican strategist, Rob Stutzman, said the swing to suburban voters who delivered the Democrats of the House of Representatives in 2018 was “by the president’s way of talking specifically about climate and about science.” Was turned down

“I don’t think these suburban voters are going to be climate change voters in 2020,” Mr. Stutzman said, “but the discussion around it all highlights this Trump Neanderthalism that is disrespectful to them.”

The importance of the fight was again underlined on Tuesday as Senator Kamala Harris, Mr. Biden’s running mate, returned to assess the damage to his home state, had a meeting with Gov. Gavin Newsome near Fresno and a Wrecked home and a school playground wreck. Destroyed at Creek Fire.

Wildfire has helped clarify the key distinction between the Trump White House and a possible Biden presidency. And Mr. Biden hinted at what is emerging as a decisive contest – to define the biggest emerging threats to the nation, and especially to those living in the suburbs – as the candidates debate three.

“Donald Trump warns that integration is threatening our suburbs. This is ridiculous, ”Mr. Biden said on Monday. “But you know what really threatens our suburbs? Wildlife is burning in the state in the west. Floods in the Midwest are eroding suburban areas. The storm is increasing suburban life along our shores. “

In an election in which the gender gap was already a serious problem for the president – in which polls showed women supporting Mr. Biden in far greater numbers than men – a renewed focus on climate Voting blocks he memorably labeled may prove politically problematic for Mr. Trump’s efforts to win “Suburban Housewife.”

“Women are a lot more concerned than men,” said Edward Maibach, director of George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication. “A catchment group among American people concerned about climate change are conservative white men.”

In a poll earlier this year, the Pew Research Center found that Republican women were more helpful in addressing climate change than their male counterparts. For example, 47 percent of Republican women said the government was doing far less to protect air quality than only 32 percent of Republican men. There were similar divisions on water quality, emission restrictions at power plants, and tougher fuel-efficiency standards.

Former President Barack Obama’s top advisor on climate change, John D. “There is a swing vote in this election, it is Republican-leaning women, many of whom are in the suburbs,” Podesta said. Hillary Clinton served as campaign president. “And it’s an issue they care about.”

In another Pew poll released last month, 69 percent of people in the suburbs said climate change would be important, at least in part, in determining their 2020 vote, with 41 percent describing it as very important.

The production of fire and dangerous air has so far concentrated in the democratic parts of the nation, and with the exception of Arizona, the campaign’s battle map has not been highlighted in Biden and Trump headquarters.

But Mr. Biden’s advisors, as well as environmentalists, who have watched in frustration for years as their issues were relegated to the back of a drawer, believe the sheer destruction of the fire has escalated further into a powerful issue.

This is especially true in other parts of the country in weather with storms, dramatic temperature fluctuations and wild climates. As the fire erupted, the Gulf Coast was preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Sally and torrential rain and flooding.

Mr. Biden has characterized climate change as one of the four crises facing the nation, relying on epidemics, economic downturns, and race and policing.

“For the first time, the average American is likely to see climate change as a problem here, now,” said Mr. Maibach, who studies public opinion on the environment.

“They saw it as a distant problem,” Mr. Maibach said of the first electorate. “Away in time – maybe 2100 but not today. Away in space – maybe not Bangladesh and Boston. And away in species – polar bears, certainly, but not for people.”

The climate change debate highlights another important difference between these two candidates: the values ​​they placed on science-based data. Once again, as with the Kovid-19 epidemic, Mr. Trump is denying the scientists’ claim as he seeks to reduce the threat to the nation’s well-being.

There may be a backlash among suburban voters: Last month, 84 percent of suburbs surveyed an NPR / PBS NewsHour / Marist College poll said they relied on public health experts to provide accurate information on coronoviruses, which other areas Much higher than those living in. And just 23 percent of the suburbs said they relied on Mr. Trump’s statements on the virus, the lowest of any geographic group.

Ms. Porter, who is one of the new suburban Democrats elected in 2018, said she had seen a drastic change in the political climate since Mr. Trump was elected president.

“Now you need to address climate change clearly,” she said. “And this is a significant change from four years ago.”

Mr. Podesta argued that while Mr. Trump has sought to turn climate change into an “elite vs. regular people’s culture war issue” – by linking Mr. Biden to aggressive policy proposals like the Green New Deal – which is on the backfoot in the face . Of the fiercest jungle.

“Guess what,” Mr. Podesta said, “regular people running away for their lives in Oregon.”

Adam Nagorni reported from Los Angeles and Shane Goldmaker from New York. Lisa Freedman and Giovanni Russlow contributed reporting.