South, the few Democrats who represent or recently represented those areas found
themselves occasionally at odds with the party leadership.
Travis W. Childers (D-MS), a Democratic member of the House, found himself
at the center of just this sort of uncomfortable straddle after the BP Deepwater
Horizon oil spill in 2010. That spill devastated many Mississippi families, small
businesses, and various local economies. At the same time, Childers opposed calls
for a moratorium on offshore drilling by noting that the national security of the
United States and thousands of jobs in Mississippi would be at risk if the nation
ended exploration activities altogether. Childers’s viewpoint differed so much from
that of Democrat leaders that with the support of congressional Republicans he
spearheaded legislation to challenge the Obama administration’s ban on new off-
shore drilling permits. Childers sought reelection in 2010, but lost to Republican
challenger Alan Nunnelee.
The Democratic Party has been more or less consistently aligned with the idea
of conservation and protection of the environment and in favor of federal power to
carry out that goal if need be. The changes observed within the party do not appear
to be a waver in commitment to environmental priorities, but rather a response to
a multitude of concerns that sometimes make achieving consensus difficult.
Democratic Party Platforms. 2016. “2016 Democratic Party Platform.” The American Presi-
dency Project, July 21, 2016. Accessed June 29, 2017. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu
Republican Party Platforms. 2016. “2016 Republican Party Platform.” The American
Presidency Project, July 1, 2017. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid