The majority of New York State Democrats are anti-war and anti-fracking.
As I breathe the sharp, cold air of the Delaware River Valley, fracking pipelines and compressors are crisscrossing and dotting our State. In the last week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) overrode New York’s investigations into plans for the building of gas infrastructure near the Indian Point nuclear facility. The plant, just 25 miles north of New York City, is old by any standards and New York Times articles have raised consistent concerns over its accidents, aging storage facilities, leaks and other critical safety issues.
These are unfortunate events for New York State residents and they don’t bode so well for Hillary Clinton, either. The anti-war, anti-fracking base in New York is effective, in gear and has no love or trust for her. Her fracking inconsistencies and donations from the oil and gas industries make her suspect and since her pro-Iraq War vote when she was a New York Senator, the belief that she’s a Hawk with bad judgment persists. Recent events in France and Belgium and the vehemence of her support for regime change in Lybia when she was Secretary of State have bolstered this opinion — especially since so many anti-war folks believe there’s a correlation between our Iraq invasion and the rise of ISIS.
Even without those considerations, many rural voters distrust Clinton. They pride themselves on reading people — on knowing whether someone is genuine or wearing adaptive camouflage. Many say they’re wavering between Trump and Sanders. Some supported fracking. Some are FOX-watchers. Some steal from Peter to pay Paul when the mortgage or rent is due. There are enclaves of reactionaries who emphatically support militia-thinking. Most are tired of seeing their kids go off to war or jail instead of college and they don’t have the resources to fight the heroin epidemic that’s claiming their families. They’ve lost farms, plumbing businesses and have stopped chasing the American Dream. They’re discouraged, can’t afford the cost of local farm goods and feel betrayed by established political hacks. Even when gains are made, belief in them is tentative and tinged with anxiety.
Into the mix have come urbanites with their more socially Liberal tendencies. For instance, Zephyr Teachout, a populist, pro-choice, anti-fracker, did an amazing job against Cuomo in the last election despite people not knowing her, Cuomo’s refusal to debate her and the relatively small size of her campaign war chest.
In New York City and its environs, voters are thoroughly awake to all things fracking, its infrastructure, methane, naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORMS) and gas explosions. They’re particularly attuned to the threat of terror attacks, to economic collapse, Wall Street machinations, a friable Stock Market and affordable housing shortages.
Worse for Hillary, whether rural or urban, New York voters are familiar with the candidates’ positions on those critical issues. With a riled, educated electorate, New York State could easily be Hillary’s Waterloo.