Election 2016 roundup, Greens prepare for battle, Latino voters turn out

HCN.org news in brief


Environmental leaders were stunned by a presidential election that defied the polls and put into power a man who calls climate change a hoax and has vowed to do away with the Environmental Protection Agency, take the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement and cancel the Clean Power Plan. While President-elect Donald Trump’s stances on energy and climate change policy remain murky, his victory has galvanized GOP leaders who hope to undo President Barack Obama’s climate legacy — and environmental leaders who say his pronouncements cannot change the fact that the planet is heating up. “This election, nobody went to the ballot box voting for dirtier air and dirtier water,” says Anna Aurilio, D.C. director for Environment America. “So we have to mobilize.” -Elizabeth Shogren

Donald Trump holds a pro-coal placard during an October rally in Pennsylvania. As a candidate, Trump made pledges to save both coal and natural gas.
Michael Brochstein/ZUMA

The Senate California Attorney General Kamala Harris beat Loretta Sanchez, both Democrats, in California. In Nevada, Catherine Cortez Masto, D, defeated Republican Rep. Joe Heck. Republican Sen. John McCain retained his seat in Arizona. In Utah, Republican Sen. Mike Lee defeated Misty Snow.

Congress: Denise Juneau, head of Montana’s public school system, lost to Republican incumbent Ryan Zinke. In Colorado, Republican Rep. Mike Coffman beat Democrat Morgan Carroll.

State and local elections: Joe Arpaio lost the bid for his seventh term as sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona. The GOP gained control of the Montana Land Board.

Marijuana: California and Nevada passed recreational marijuana use—Arizona was the only state (of five nationwide) to strike it down. Montana and North Dakota approved medical use.

Minimum wage: Arizona, Colorado and Washington approved minimum wage increases.

Health care: Colorado struck down a statewide health-care system but approved a right-to-die law, joining California, Oregon and Washington.

Wildlife: Oregon voted to ban trade in exotic animal parts within state boundaries. Montana rejected an animal-trapping ban on public lands.

Energy: Washington rejected the nation’s first carbon tax. Monterey County, California, became the state’s sixth county — and first oil-producing one — to ban fracking.

Education: Oregon voters approved a measure to allocate funds for outdoor education.

California: gun control, taxes and more A gun control measure passed that bans large-capacity ammunition magazines and requires background checks for ammunition. Cigarette tax increased by $2 a pack and voters opted not to repeal the death penalty. -Lyndsey Gilpin 

Kamala Harris, on the campaign trail in California, was one of three women of color elected to the Senate, bringing the total to four.
Kamala Harris for U.S. Senate

Leading up to Election Day, a historic increase in Latino voter turnout seemed possible, and while Latino support for Democrats waned, that hypothesis proved true. According to Pew Research, national exit polls suggest Latinos did make up a larger share of voters in the past, although more went Republican than in the past. Nationwide, 65 percent of Latinos supported Hillary Clinton, while 29 percent voted for Trump. Compare that to 2012, when Obama won 71 percent of the Hispanic vote (Mitt Romney secured 27 percent). Compared to the rest of the country, though, Latino voters in Western states voted resoundingly for Clinton over Trump. In Arizona, 84 percent of Latinos voted for Clinton (compared to only 56 percent of Hispanics voting for Obama in 2008). The growing clout of Hispanics, though, wasn’t enough to flip the state, as some analysts predicted. Arizona went to Trump, 50 percent to Clinton’s 45. -Paige Blankenbuehler

Columnist Maddie Butcher writes from her divided town, Mancos, Colorado, about what to do following a polarizing election. The answer? Step outside of your typical circles and listen. Butcher writes, “In my small town in southwestern Colorado, those who did not vote for Donald Trump seemed numbed and stunned by the result. … Maybe it was a shocking result. But if these folks had visited outside their circles, if they’d tried to get a fix on what makes the longtime locals tick, they might have had a better sense of what was to come.”-Maddie Butcher, Op-Ed

Nathan Wind: “Reminds me of where I live, here in Oakland, California. People move into the neighborhoods that are less expensive and get mad when neighbors play loud music 24/7 and when people are up all night outside. ... If you move to a new place, don’t expect the place to change for you.” 

Blake Osborn: “I’m from rural Colorado, but one thing I discovered while living on the Front Range for a few years is that it is much ‘cooler’ to live in the mountains. In today’s landscape, transplants are of a certain demographic.”

Steve Underwood: “Maddie missed the beauty of Mancos in this story, instead focusing on the troubles of the rest of the world. We all view our world through rose-colored lenses.” 

“We are the watchdogs of Wallace Stegner’s geography of hope, and we take that job very seriously. You can expect in coming weeks and months ferocious watchdogging of the new administration, which, by all indications, will not prioritize environmental protection or address one of the greatest threats to the planet, and especially our corner of it: climate change.”

—Brian Calvert, HCN managing editor, in his piece “What we learned this election

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