Despite its lack of feasibility, there are a number of plausible factors that could contribute to the substantial support the GND has garnered from many influential democratic senators and congressmen. The first is that the country is in a good place economically. In the first quarter of this year, the United States has shown a 3.2% GDP growth rate and an incredibly low 3.6% unemployment rate. In other words, virtually anyone who wants a job can find work and, compared to previous years, even young people are able to live in relative luxury. Under these conditions, more practical ideas such as job security don’t attract much attention. Actually, in times like these, it is big ideas like those proposed in the GND, which set out to eliminate feelings of dissatisfaction and hopelessness towards issues like economic inequality and the colossal cost of education and healthcare all in one fell swoop, that emerge at the forefront of popularity. The next factor in the rising approval for the GND is the Democratic Party’s plan to take control of the Senate and the Oval Office in 2020. In 2016, then-Candidate Trump manufactured “enemies”, including China and Mexico, who he claimed had stolen the American Dream; he was able to win the support of many by creating the need to “protect” America from such threats. Trump’s scapegoating of fabricated foes like China and Mexico was certainly one of the factors that elevated him from his status as a fringe candidate to the occupant of the highest office in the land.
Now, it is the Democrats who need to create something for people to rally around, and climate change seems to be the perfect storm of substantial, easy to understand, and simple to present visually, making it an ideal “enemy”. An additional boon to climate change as a rallying point has been the fact that President Trump has vehemently denounced anthropogenic climate change as a hoax. Furthermore, as I mentioned at the beginning, the younger generations are successfully drawing attention to the reality that they are the ones affected by environmental degradation. At present, with the millennial generation comprising 30% of the eligible voting population, the correct way to move forward from a political standpoint seems to be to attack those of the older generations who have grown rich on fossil fuels over the years, in favor of accumulating votes from the younger generations.
The GND also states that it aims to secure high paying jobs through massive investments funded by economic stimulus programs intended to respond to climate change. This appears to be an attempt at capturing the votes of labor unions. The Democratic Party, which has historically tried to bring together city-dwellers with a higher education, LGBTQ individuals, people of color, and labor unions, had those same labor unions stolen from right under their noses in 2016 by the Trump Campaign; rallying around climate change on its own is unlikely to bring those votes back. This seems to be the goal of the “non-green” elements of the New Green Deal.
The words “World War II” are used twice in the GND, and an additional 4 times in Ocasio-Cortez’s leaked FAQ. On December 8th, 1941, Americans were united against a common enemy: Japan. People come together to fight a common enemy – this was true in 1941, and it is just as true today more than 70 years later, and it is reflected in the difficulty of whipping votes in the ever-diversifying United States, and the zeal of the GND proponents. It is clear as day that the Green New Deal cannot simply be dismissed as “unrealistic”.