Steve Schmidt and Varshini Prakash on Disrupting Climate Politics

Can we break up the political logjam on climate? “The brokenness of our politics,” says Republican political strategist Stephen Schmidt, “is that we have 90% agreement on a dozen different solutions that we cannot get through the state or federal legislative processes -- because of the systemic brokenness of politics.” Not long ago, Democrats and Republicans basically agreed on climate change. Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzennegger put California at the head of the charge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Senator John McCain crossed the proverbial aisle to co-sponsor three versions of the Climate Stewardship Act -- none of which made it through the senate. In today’s ultra-partisan climate, when even wearing a face mask is seen as a political statement, can both parties ever get on the same page? “I do think that one of the aspects, if we want to move climate change forward as an issue,” Schmidt continues, “is that the two sides, they’re gonna have to learn to speak American to each other.” Visit for more information on today's episode. Guests: Steve Schmidt, Co-Founder, The Lincoln Project; Former Senior Presidential Campaign Strategist, John McCain Varshini Prakash, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Sunrise Movement, co-author, Winning the Green New Deal: Why We Must, How We Can (Simon & Schuster, 2020) This program was recorded on September 18 and September 24, 2020. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit

by Climate One