The green wing of the party pulls in one direction, the jobs, investments and prospects for energy independence that the energy revolution offers pull in the other. It’s going to be particularly tough for the Democrats because the politics of energy involve so many crucial swing states states as well as critical interest groups. Ohio and Pennsylvania have an immense stake in the revolution; the prospects of a revitalized Midwest largely hang on the ability of cheap and abundant energy to re-energize manufacturing and attract both foreign and domestic investors to big new industrial plants. The Democrats can’t afford to lose the Middle West, but greens are an important part of the base too.
We seem to be entering a time when domestic oil and gas producers and the interests associated with them are gaining power; it will be interesting to watch how the White House manages this transition while trying to keep the greens on board. Structurally, the political balance doesn’t look good for greens. The Democratic party establishment worries about business and blue collar voters deserting to the GOP, but it doesn’t lie awake at night worrying that the greens will join the Tea Party.