By Lesley Clark and Heather Richards
Candidate Donald Trump in 2016 promised that he’d end the “war on American energy.” As president, Trump has boasted that in three short years the U.S. has achieved “energy dominance.”
But with the oil crash and a global pandemic crushing energy demand, the prospect that record-setting U.S. oil production will continue through the end of Trump’s first term is in serious doubt, according to analysts.
Trump’s comments about America’s energy dominance goes back to 2018, when the United States became the world’s largest crude producer. But Saudi Arabia could upset U.S. producers’ dominance by flooding the market with cheap oil. The kingdom is pumping more oil in a game of chicken with Russia, as both sides grapple for market share.
The challenge in November will be for the Democratic contender to prove that they are the vision of the future. The oil upset could drive further swell uncertainty about the oil and gas industry and about its long-term viability, Ridder said.
Still, many voters in energy-rich states are unlikely to blame Trump for any slump in the industry, pollsters said.
“They know he is friendlier to energy issues than the Democrats are,” said Republican pollster Glen Bolger. “It’s not like having the Democrats in charge of energy policy is going to be better for those states.”
Many Republicans say they can successfully peg policies like the Green New Deal to higher energy costs in battleground states, despite arguments from the left that addressing climate change will save money.
“If you go into the voting booth and you’re pulling levers, you’re not doing it on climate change, you’re doing it on jobs, the economy, health care and terrorism, education, a lot of other issues,” former Trump energy adviser Mike Catanzaro said on a University of Chicago podcast this week. “But people do pull the lever if they feel like they’re going to be paying more for energy.”