One thing we can say about this year’s presidential election: It’s not following the rules of the game. Take the oil and gas industry for example. Although Donald Trump was recently the keynote speaker at the annual Shale Insight Conference in Pittsburgh, industry executives and employees have not been opening their wallets to the Republican nominee.
But in a typical election they would. As of last week, Republican nominee Donald Trump raised a paltry $245,000 from individuals working in the oil and gas industry, according to figures provided by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. While union members and Hollywood entertainers are reliable donors to the Democratic candidate in presidential races, industries like oil and gas line up behind the Republican.
So what’s going on here?
At an oil and gas conference in North Dakota last May, Trump came across like Santa Claus—ready to shower gifts all over coal and oil country, stripping away environmental regulations.
“We’re going to lift moratoriums on energy production in federal areas,” Trump told the industry crowd. “We’re going to revoke policies that impose unwarranted restrictions on new drilling technologies. We’re going to cancel the Paris climate agreement.”
When you hear that, you think oil and gas industry employees should be lining up to give Trump money, right? Wrong.
Among the many oddities in this election, the 2016 Republican candidate for president has gotten peanuts from one of the GOP’s most reliable donor bases.
Industry employees contacted by StateImpact did not want to speak on the record. But it could be that they just don’t know what they’ll get with a Trump White House.
###This story comes from our content partner StateImpact Pennsylvania, a collaboration between WITF and WHYY covering the fiscal and environmental impact of Pennsylvania’s booming energy economy.