As they promised, supporters of the Green New Deal massed outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office, waiting to talk to him about the urgent need to respond aggressively to climate change.
Unlike Senator Dianne Feinstein, McConnell didn’t offer sympathy for their concerns, condescending comments about their understanding of politics, or internships for the activists. He didn’t even show up. Rather than meet with them, he called out the police and had 42 activists arrested for clogging his office and hallways.
McConnell has already said that he will put the Green New Deal resolution on the Senate floor, and oppose it vigorously. He hopes to embarrass and divide Democrats, and use the threat of environmental activism to raise money and animate his campaign for reelection.
Successful social movements polarize, and McConnell is clearly a prime target for the Sunrise Movement. The young activists will keep organizing, and McConnell will help in drawing a line between supporters and opponents. There is a question about how to pull support from less than enthusiastic allies like Sen. Feinstein.
Right now, support in Congress is not close to enough to pass the resolution in either house. Provoking McConnell might actually help in raising visibility and generating support.