WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 07: U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) speaks as Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) (R) and other Congressional Democrats listen during a news conference in front of the U.S. Capitol February 7, 2019 in Washington, DC. Sen. Markey and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez held a news conference to unveil their Green New Deal resolution. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Messianic Politics on Display: The Green New Deal and the New Political Order

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
February 14, 2019

Since her election to congress last November, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has broken the traditional mold of a freshman legislator in Congress. Freshmen rarely make the headlines. They generally do not sponsor legislation, and they carry little influence, even if they caucus with the majority party. Ocasio-Cortez, however, might be one of the most influential Democrats in the entire nation because of what she represents: a young, vocal, social-media savvy political operative who knows how to push her party towards the far left of American politics. The centerpiece of her rise to prominence is the “Green New Deal.”

Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Senator Edward Markey sponsor this sweeping resolution that would, indeed, involve a lot of green—not just ecological but financial. This proposed legislation encompasses environmental changes coupled with economic and financial policy initiatives. Indeed, the entire purpose of this bill aims to drag the Democratic party to the far left of the political spectrum. The “Green New Deal” abounds with radical proposals about the future of the United States, but it also raises questions about whether politicians really mean what they say when they speak to the American people.

On its face, the resolution redounds with impossible, impractical, and grossly generalized policy proposals that would have massive consequences on American public life. It includes a 10-year commitment to convert 100% of power demands in the United States to clean, renewable sources. It mandates upgrading all existing buildings in the country to meet energy efficient requirements. It aims to make air-travel obsolete by expanding high-speed rail. It promises millions of new jobs, guaranteed health care, and a sustainable family wage—all of that in the matter of a decade. This is no “Green New Deal.” It marks an entirely new conception of the American government and way of life. It takes up proposals that have been a part of the climate change and energy discussion in the U.S. and then launches into an imaginary world in which a new age of liberal miracles arrives just in time to save humanity.

Reporting for the New York Times, Lisa Friedman and Glenn Thrush wrote, “Liberal Democrats put flesh on their Green New Deal slogan with a sweeping resolution intended to redefine the national debate on climate change.” They go on to write that “the resolution has more breadth than detail and is so ambitious that Republican’s greeted it with derision. Its legislative prospects are bleak in the foreseeable future. Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California has no plan to bring the resolution in its current form to the floor for a vote.”

There is a level of political irony in that last sentence—the Democratic Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, refuses to bring the “New Green Deal” up for a vote, while the conservative Republican and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promises that the Senate will hold a vote. Where Pelosi must balance the liberal wing of her party with the members who describe the “Green Deal” as nuts, McConnell has made a politically masterful move by forcing the Democrats in the Senate, especially Democratic Senators running for President, to put their vote where their mouth is—to cast an official vote rather than pay lip service to a radical liberal agenda.

Indeed, every major Democratic candidate for President who has a seat in the United States Senate has come out in favor of the “Green New Deal.” The political vector of the Democratic party continually presses towards a moral liberal and increasingly socialist agenda. The energy swirling in the Democratic party flows from the more liberal and populist ideology that arose during the 2016 Democratic Presidential Primary between Hillary Clinton and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. As a result, the new wave of Democratic contenders for the White House, in an attempt to tap into that liberal fervor, have pledged their support to liberal policies like the “New Green Deal.” Now, however, with an impending vote orchestrated by McConnell, these Democrats have a conundrum on their hands of epic proportions. It’s one thing to say they support this New Deal; it’s another thing altogether to voice that support in a vote—a vote for an outlandish, irresponsible, proposal that not even Nancy Pelosi wants to touch in the House.

The irony only continued when the Senate sponsor of the “Green New Deal,” Edward Markey, complained about McConnell’s plan to bring this legislation up for a vote. This might be the first time in American politics where the sponsor of a bill complains that his proposed bill is to be put up for debate and a vote.

Political hilarity and irony aside, Markey’s complaint about a vote for his bill reveals the underlying absurdity of “Green New Deal.” Markey decries McConnell’s move as legislative sabotage. When it’s sabotage to adopt your own legislation, maybe you didn’t mean the proposals in the first place. What turned out to be legislative conviction was only political grandstanding.

Grandstanding puts it lightly. Democrats know that this legislation has no path to law—it cannot happen, nor will it ever happen. It is not just economically impossible, it is technologically impossible. Even if Democrats gain control of the entire government in 2020, it will not pass. It is a political stunt. The entire American economy with all its trillions of dollars could not afford the “Green New Deal.” The Democrats proposed this grand, green deal only to toss raw meat to their base for the upcoming elections and, perhaps more importantly, to shift the entire political climate of the nation—to make the radical and disastrous policies of this legislation normal and reasonable in the public eye.

As Ross Douthat put it in his opinion piece in the New York Times, “The core conservative suspicion is that when liberals talk about the dire threat of global warming, they’re actually seizing opportunistically on the issue to justify, well, full socialism, the seizure of the economy’s commanding heights in order to implement the most left-wing possible agenda.” As Douthat concluded, the “Green New Deal” is actually a bold admission of that charge. Indeed, this “Green New Deal” aims not at revolution of ecological policy, but an entire reorientation of America’s economic ideology.

But the most significant remark made by Senator Markey as he proposed the legislation as this: “We will save all of creation by engaging in massive job creation.”

Seriously, this bill will “save all of creation.” If nothing else, what we see here is messianic politics. The Green New Deal calls for peace on earth, healing humanity, freeing indigenous peoples, stopping population loss from rural areas, and guaranteeing a well paying job, health care, and the arrival of full “economic security for all people of the United States.” As if any bill, any government act, or any government on earth, could do that.

The Christian worldview provides a more comprehensive and lasting promise for the care of creation. God entrusted mankind with the solemn stewardship of the environment. From the Garden of Eden to our present moment in history, God summons his people to care for the world and all God’s creatures. Stewardship of creation implies the existence of a Creator and that our dominion over the creation was no evolutionary accident. He granted mankind responsibility and dominion over the earth—a dominion that requires carefulness, not recklessness. It also requires honesty.

No doubt, this political debate has only just begun. The breakneck speed of American politics leaves little room to catch a breath, much less think about these important issues facing the nation. The gloves are on, the battle lines drawn, and Christians must vigilantly profess the biblical worldview that can answer and lead us through moral and political quandaries of the day.

This article draws from the February 14th edition of The Briefing. To listen to the full episode, click here. To subscribe to The Briefing–Dr. Mohler’s daily podcast that serves as an analysis of news and events–click here

R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

I am always glad to hear from readers. Write me using the contact form. Follow regular updates on Twitter at @albertmohler.

Subscribe via email for daily Briefings and more (unsubscribe at any time).