Liberal fake Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a former member of Congress who voted against the position of the conservative Heritage Action for America in two-thirds of her votes, wrote an editorial for the April 25 Miami Herald arguing that Republicans should be on the front lines fighting climate change. Not only did Ros-Lehtinen vote with liberal Democrats much more often than not, but her climate activism is likely a primary reason why her seat flipped from Republican to Democrat in the 2018 elections.

In the very first two sentences of her editorial, Ros-Lehtinen illustrates how illiterate she is regarding the climate change debate. She writes, “Our climate is changing. This is no longer a debate point, but a scientific fact.” Earth to Ros-Lehtinen, of course the climate is changing. A central point that climate realists make is that the climate is always changing. Pretending that climate change is unique to this generation or can be halted by humans is a major point of denial by climate alarmists.

Ros-Lehtinen adds, “Luckily, Republicans in and out of Congress have spoken out and acted on the issue of climate change in recent years.” Ros-Lehtinen is referencing the Congressional Climate Solutions Caucus (CSC), of which she was a member. Heading into the 2018 midterm elections, 43 of the 239 Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives joined the CSC, which supports congressional action to fight climate change.

It may be true that some Republicans (18% of Republican House members) joined the CSC prior to the 2018 midterm elections, but most paid a fatal price for doing so. Of the 198 Republican House members who did not join the CSC, 178 – or a solid 91% – of those seats remained Republican through the 2018 elections. Of the 43 Republican House members who joined the CSC, only 21 – or a measly 49%remained Republican through the 2018 elections. The 2018 midterm congressional elections were not a wave election against Republicans, as the media like to claim. Instead, the 2018 midterm congressional elections were a wave election against Republican climate alarmists.

Republicans who sell out their conservative base to join the Al Gore climate contingent win very few votes from the overwhelmingly leftist climate activist base. Instead, they merely anger their Republican voting base, depressing their turnout. Ros-Lehtinen experienced this herself in the 2018 midterm elections, as polling showed she was headed for defeat even as a sitting incumbent. Rather than enduring the embarrassment of voters kicking her out of office, she chose to resign her seat.

Maria Elvira Salazar ran as the Republican candidate in Ros-Lehtinen’s 27th Florida congressional district in the 2018 elections. Salazar, like Ros-Lehtinen, ran as a Republican championing climate activism. As a result, Salazar lost the longtime Republican seat by a full 6 percentage points.

Liberal Republican losers like Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Maria Elvira Salazar, Carlos Curbelo, and Bob Inglis like to vote like Democrats, buddy up to Al Gore, get pummeled in elections, and then lecture Republicans about how and why they should vote like Democrats on climate change. They are a growing faction on the political sidelines as political has-beens, and a shrinking faction still retaining their seats in Congress.

James Taylor is the President of the Heartland Institute. Taylor is also director of Heartland's Arthur B. Robinson Center for Climate and Environmental Policy. Taylor is the former managing editor (2001-2014) of Environment & Climate News, a national monthly publication devoted to sound science and free-market environmentalism.


  1. When Ros-Lehtinen first ran as a “conservative” Republican, I voted for her. She lost her way when she went to D.C.. I am embarrassed that I voted for her initially and what you say in the article is true. After watching her actions in D.C., along with the actions of all the other RINOs up there making saying one thing, but doing another, I became disenchanted with her and politics in general. She is a coward for resigning her office, but probably knew she had lost her charm.


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