The European Parliamentary Elections were supposed to be about the collapse of the center to the emerging far right populist parties. While this happened in some countries (LePen outpolling Macron in France, the Brexit Party beating the Tories and Labour in the UK) the bigger takeaway is the Green Surge of voters concerned about climate change.
In an election for the European Parliament in which far-right, anti-immigration buccaneers also gained modestly to post their best-ever result, the good showing for the Greens may have the bigger impact on policy.
The Green Party surged to its best finish in European parliamentary elections across the board, alongside other liberal parties concerned about climate. Unlike their American counterparts, the European Greens are pragmatic partners to traditional centrist parties who will now be an essential part of a pro-EU governing coalition.
The center-left and center-right parties that long jointly ruled the parliament have lost their majority, meaning they will need to depend on Greens…to advance their agenda.
So what are the takeaways for American politics?
Green is good. Green voters are the new purple or swing voters. Even in the United States. Supermajorities of Democrats and independents listed climate change as their top issue after health care. The Green New Deal is popular across the board-even with Trump voters. It is even more popular than Medicare for All.
Want to motivate millennials and other young voters to come to the polls? Be Green
The results propelled the Greens into second place in Germany and third place in France and elsewhere, amid a surge in excitement from young voters who faulted old-school parties for ignoring their concerns about the environment and offering few alternatives for a generation beset by economic pain following the global financial crisis.
What is the future of the left? It is green, not red. Focused on making a 21st century economy that is more just for workers and more just for the planet.
“The Greens represent the only project of the future,” French Greens leader Yannick Jadot said Monday on French television.
Climate change, said an editorial in France’s Liberation newspaper, “has become the principal criteria of judging political action in the European Union.”
It can be the principal criteria for our politics too. A transpartisan issue that brings together the left wing base, Jill Stein defectors, moderate suburbanites, midwestern frarmers, and populist independents. We just need candidates willing to run on this vision.