There's really only one true "maverick" in the Senate and that is Lindsey Graham. He has become in some ways the black sheep of the GOP, breaking ranks with the "stop climate regulation at all costs" partisan directive to work across the aisle on forming a clean energy and climate regulation bill.
Many people, Republican and Democrat, have wondered why. In a recent interview with Tom Friedman, Graham finally reveals the reason —young voters:
I have been to enough college campuses to know if you are 30 or younger this climate issue is not a debate. It’s a value. These young people grew up with recycling and a sensitivity to the environment — and the world will be better off for it. They are not brainwashed. … From a Republican point of view, we should buy into it and embrace it and not belittle them. You can have a genuine debate about the science of climate change, but when you say that those who believe it are buying a hoax and are wacky people you are putting at risk your party’s future with younger people.
Graham is very aware that while the general polls
are skewing towards climate skepticism, the polls themselves are in fact skewed ... to older voters, individuals who actually still posses a land line and who will pick it up long enough to answer a few questions during the supper hour.
The reality that Graham points out is that the vast majority of people under the age of 30 do in fact believe in climate change. They know that the basic science is real and they are very worried about it. If these younger voters don't see some demonstration of sanity on the red side of the aisle in Washington, they may be inclined to either not vote or even vote Democrat, despite the fact that they may have predominantly conservative values.
For someone like Graham, who wants a long-term Senatorial career, the long view may pay off as an increasingly younger voting public begins to demand affirmative action on the climate.