Kemp: Keystone Is Dragging Down The Democrats
John Kemp is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own
LONDON, Nov 19 (Reuters) - "Keystone" would be a fitting epitaph for Democratic lawmakers, who will lose their majority in the United States Senate in January 2015.
By voting against the Keystone bill on Tuesday, Senate Democrats have effectively ended the re-election hopes of Mary Landrieu, a member of their own caucus from the strongly pro-oil and pro-pipeline state of Louisiana who is locked in a run-off after failing to win an outright majority in the mid-term election earlier this month.
But the never-ending battle over the pipeline has inflicted much broader damage on the electability of congressional Democrats and the credibility of President Barack Obama.
Polls show majority support for the pipeline, especially among the white working class and union voters that used to be the bedrock of the Democratic Party but which it has increasingly lost to the Republicans in recent elections.
But opposing Keystone has become a key test for environmental campaign groups as well as hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer and much of the clean technology industry.
The pipeline has assumed a symbolic importance in the struggle between fossil fuels and renewables out of all proportion to its practical significance for either side.
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