Climate change is turning Republicans in western states into extremists due to the discontent sparked by water scarcity, heat and related government policies, two Los Angeles Times columnists argued.
Wildfires, droughts and worsening heat, which the authors link to climate change, is contributing to extremism among supporters of former President Donald Trump in California, columnists Anita Chabria and Erika Smith argue. That trend will accelerate if political leaders impose further environmental restrictions that have a disparate impact on rural residents or forcibly relocate them over fire concerns, they claim.
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“There’s no denying that the extremist turn of MAGA Republicanism is flourishing throughout the state’s pastoral parts,” the authors wrote. “As climate change worsens, water gets more scarce and the land becomes hotter, drier and harder to live upon, this discontent could very well metastasize into violence. That’s especially true if California uses financial leverage to discourage rebuilding fire-destroyed towns and encourages rural denizens to move to more defensible places.” (RELATED: ‘Full Of Anger, Violence, Hate’: Biden Goes After ‘MAGA Republicans’ Of Congress During Labor Day Speech)
The state’s environmental policies tend to have an outsized impact on rural residents, who are generally more conservative than city-dwellers, such as orders to stop using river water to irrigate fields, according to the columnists. As California struggles with water scarcity and wildfires, some worry that the state could force the relocation of its rural residents by blocking rebuilding efforts in fire-prone areas.
“Floods, fires and hurricanes cause tens of thousands of temporary evacuations every year, displacing people from homes, jobs and schools and making them more susceptible to — or victims of — extremist propaganda,” the piece read.
One source stated without evidence that anti-government sentiments in the western U.S. were deeply linked to antisemitism.
“They all believe that the U.S. government has been captured by Jews,” said Alexander Reid Ross, an extremism expert at Portland State University, referring to the west’s “extremists.” He told the outlet that the longtime relationship between the western anti-government cowboy ethos and antisemitism was “supercharged” and mainstreamed through the MAGA movement.
Chabria and Smith did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.
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