Activism us congress election 2012

Published on November 6th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


Yes, There’s A HUGE Difference Between Democrats & Republicans (Get Out & Vote!)

To my friends, family, acquaintances, and readers who think that there isn’t enough of a difference between Democrats and Republicans to bother voting (i.e. for the Democrats), let me be absolutely 100% clear — actually, there are HUGE, HUGE differences between these two parties these days, and in nearly every situation I’m aware of, Democrats are a much better choice for you (unless you’re a selfish, male millionaire or billionaire).

Before getting into these a bit, let me note that I have campaigned for people on the argument that there isn’t enough of a difference between the two parties, or between specific candidates. I have been there, and I still think that those efforts were correct in those situations and at those times. But I wouldn’t go that route today in the huge majority of congressional races (or the presidential race). Let’s get into why….

us congress election 2012

Image Credit: US Capitol Building via Shutterstock

Republican Leaders Are Overwhelmingly For The Rich, & For Polluting Heads Of Industry

Now, just to be clear, I think there are huge differences between many Republican voters and their Republican representatives in Congress. Political Republican leaders have gone über extreme, while many Republican voters are not at all.

I’m really not sure why GOP leaders have gone so haywire (there are numerous theories). But their ties to the super rich and super polluters (hint: that’s not the majority of us) are very clear.

Open Secrets indicates that 86% of oil & gas congressional spending goes to Republicans. (That’s $13,144,688!)

Obama and several other Democrats have touted an “All of the Above” energy strategy for years. Oil drilling on US public lands has increased in the last 4 years. Yet 86% of oil & gas money is going to GOP congresspeople. I think that makes it pretty clear that Republicans don’t support an “All of the Above” energy strategy, but support an “Oil & Gas Above All” energy strategy, something that would not benefit the public in any way.

Furthermore, “Commercial Banks” overwhelmingly donate to the GOP (67%), “Misc Finance” interest groups overwhelmingly donate to the GOP (64%), and Insurance Companies overwhelmingly donate to the GOP (62%).

Do these rich, polluting people and industries influence GOP leaders? Surely, how could they not? Heck, many GOP leaders actually have direct ties to these industries — they are these industries.

How else could the GOP be so illogically opposed to clean energy (which the huge majority of Americans, including GOP voters, support)?

How else could the GOP be so opposed to energy efficiency standards that will provide US consumers with billions or trillions of dollars?

How else could the GOP be so opposed to switching back to tax policies that had the super rich paying a fair share?

The Tea Party (i.e. GOP)–dominated Congress of the past couple years has basically been the most anti-environmental in the history of the US, putting forth the most extreme, anti-environmental (i.e. anti-public) laws we’ve ever seen.

I could go on and on (and, actually there are many other areas of society and politics where there are very similar trends), but I’ll move on for now.

Some Democrats Are Corrupt, And Some Vote Against Your Interests At Times… But Some Is A Lot Less Than Almost All, Almost Every The Time

Now, certainly, not all Democrats are saints, and our political system is drugged up on corporate money and corrupt lobbyists more than is good for the public, but in every race I examine, and every congressional bill I follow (and I have followed many very closely), Democrats are overwhelmingly more focused on helping the public as a whole.

If it weren’t for Democrats, we’d probably have pollution levels like those in China (seriously).

If it weren’t for Democrats, we’d have even lower minimum wages than we have now (if we had minimum wages at all).

If it weren’t for Democrats, forget the child labor laws and fair pay laws we have today. Seriously, just forget them.

If it weren’t for Democrats, re-regulating the financial industry that crashed our economy wouldn’t have happened, reviving the US auto manufacturing industry likely would not have happened, creating jobs where jobs are created (not simply giving more money to the rich) probably would not have happened… we’d probably still be in the economic free-fall we were in when Obama took office almost 4 years ago.

Quite simply, not all Democrats are perfect or align with all your views, but they are overwhelmingly for the public.

Going back to Open Secrets data for 2012, the interest groups most supportive of Democrats (by % of donations) are:

  • Women’s Issues (99%) — for protecting women’s rights
  • Industrial Unions (97%) – for protecting workers’ rights
  • Public Sector Unions (91%) – for protecting workers’ rights
  • Building Trade Unions (82%) – for protecting workers’ rights

I wonder why the groups who support common workers, common people, the middle class are so supportive of Democrats. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Democrats overwhelmingly support common people, the public, the huge majority of us.

The Wonderful Thing About The Internet… For Liars

The Internet is great for sharing information, for allowing us all to better inform ourselves. But there are some major downfalls to the Internet, as well. Basically, anyone can write pretty much anything (even complete lies) and publish it. People can deceive tens, hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people just by making up some nonsense and spreading it widely.

The truth is, this happens.

Of course, it doesn’t only happen on the Internet, but the Internet is a powerful force for misinformation… even the most untrustworthy people and industries can disguise themselves and influence all of us.

I work on the Internet, I see it every day. I see campaign after campaign specifically geared at spreading incorrect information. They use pretty packages, authoritative-sounding titles and pseudo-studies, emotionally appealing language and arguments… all to convince the public to suuport things that aren’t in our own interest, or to oppose things that are in our own interest.

This is a huge struggle today.

If correct and full information were available, Democrats would crush Republicans in political race after political race. If this were the case, yes, we could move the Democratic party even further in the direction of sanity and work supportive of the public good. We could transfer bad apples to other parties or other leagues. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, so we have a choice:

  1. Support the party that overwhelmingly (without a doubt) supports the majority of you.
  2. Or support a party that overwhelmingly supports the rich over the rest of society (unfairly); and the polluting class over the humans who need clean air, clean water, and a livable climate to live a long, high-quality, and healthy life.

I think the choice is clear, get out and vote! And also get others to go vote (for themselves) today!

(Note: while the general statements above are very useful, I do always recommend that you inform yourself on the specific elections in your locale, especially for lower-level races where you have more influence and where there are more nuances within political parties that could make some of the above untrue — there are always exceptions! Note that Google is quite helpful these days for helping you prepare to vote.)

For more on this regarding the presidential race, please read:

  1. On Obama: CleanTechnica’s Evaluation & Endorsement
  2. On Romney: CleanTechnica’s Evaluation
  3. Election 2012: Who Wins On Energy Issues?
  4. Difference Between Obama & Romney on Energy, Climate Change, Clean Air, Energy Efficiency, & Public Lands

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he's the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to and click on the relevant buttons.

  • Dasdfasfas

    I do not like this article. Please state where you got evidence that shows 86% of all gas and oil money goes to GOP.

    • Zachary Shahan

      there’s a link in the article. right on the text “*86% of oil & gas congressional spending goes to Republicans* .”

  • Zachary Shahan

    You’re one of the best writers I’ve run across. Send me any articles ideas/articles any time and I’m happy to publish them on PS or CT (depending on where they fit best). Basically, anything remotely green fits on one of those two sites. :D

    • Bob Higgins

      Thanks Zach,

      It’s in the mail…almost.


      • Zachary Shahan


  • Bob Higgins

    Zach, Thanks for all your work and that of your network and writers. Iknow it made a difference. Now it continues.

    • Zachary Shahan

      Thanks, Bob! Been meaning to reach out to you again for about, I don’t know, over a year! Please let me know if you have any interest contributing here! COuld use your excellent literary skills and thoughtfulness. :D

  • althotos

    Amen, brother.

  • Wolfebea

    This is a great article.  It is really to bad that it didn’t come earlier than today when by now everyone ha than likely made up their minds and not for the right reasons. . 

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