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Governor Jay Inslee threw his hat into the ring for the Democratic nomination for President yesterday and pledged to center his entire campaign on the issue of climate change. This is great news. He has taken the Green New Deal and thrust it into the conversation about who will be the most capable opponent to take on President Trump. We can see it now – a sea of people wearing blue hats and t-shirts with the letters “MACA” for “Make America Cool Again” and a picture of the planet embroidered on them. The double meaning of this slogan would be lost on some but not on most Americans. The majority of Americans acknowledge that climate change is real, people are causing it and more and more of us are beginning to feel its effects first hand. Wouldn’t that be a great way to tee up a fight with the President on the single most important challenge we face today? We think so.
But immediately the skeptics pounced –from the right of course, but also from the left. At the conservative CPAC conference, Vice President Pence, alluding to Governor Inslee’s failed carbon tax proposal, said the green in the Green New Deal stands for the money it will cost Americans in higher taxes and regulatory costs. Additionally, Republican National Committee communications director Michael Ahrens said in a statement: “Jay Inslee’s chances of becoming president are exactly what he’s polling at: zero. His campaign will only force Democrats into embracing more extreme policies, like a carbon tax, which would kill jobs, raise energy prices, and disproportionately hurt working-class Americans.” It’s not clear where Ahrens gets his talking points as a future with increased renewable energy can bring energy prices down and the two fastest-growing jobs in America: solar panel installers and wind turbine technicians.
A friend of ours wrote us and asked point blank “Is Inslee’s campaign dead on arrival because it’s focusing on one issue?” Inslee’s campaign will face an uphill battle because he is unknown outside of his home state of Washington. But if anything, centering his campaign on climate change will give him an important plank – one that is a rallying cry for many on the left, just as building a border wall was for Trump supporters in 2016.
However, climate change as a political issue is also much more significant than even most Democrats give it credit for. It encompasses literally every other voting priority like jobs, economy, national security, healthcare, immigration, etc., etc. Dems have just never communicated it as such. It can provide a unifying framework on which to hang many popular proposals. It can give the Democrats a platform that holds together thematically – and that is easy to communicate. It is a much better vehicle to engage the public than a bunch of policy memos and wonky ideas that none of these candidates could make appealing.
Climate change, and its government response – the Green New Deal – is big and bold and will make us great again by moving the nation forward, rather taking us back. Much like its namesake, President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, there’s something for everyone. It is about the economy, an energy revolution, national security, agriculture, immigration, public health, and enjoying the outdoors. It is about making every sector of our economy work more efficiently and cost us less – pollution is nothing more than waste that someone else has to pay for – either through illness or blight or ravaging fires or storms. Corporate polluters have been given tax cuts for decades and regulatory rollbacks will cost millions of American lives. They’ve also been responsible for spreading climate denial and perpetuating the false narrative that action on climate comes at the direct cost of the economy. It’s time that the health and safety of the American public are prioritized over the profits of fossil fuel companies.
So bring it on, Governor Inslee. Keep talking about climate change. We need it. And maybe if you keep it up, even the Democrats will see it for what it is – the fuel for a blue wave in 2020.
By WW0 Staff For the United States, the post-Trump, pre-COP26 road to Glasgow has been paved with ambition and humility. In a major speech, the President’s Envoy, John Kerry, previewed the results of his climate diplomacy before heading into two weeks of intense deliberations of world leaders. Speaking at the London School of Economics — […]
Next week, the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow will draw hundreds of world leaders to Glasgow to determine the path forward five years after the Paris Climate Agreement (for a primer, read this) as new science underscores the urgency. The conference aims to squeeze countries to strengthen the commitments they’ve made towards securing global net-zero […]
By Amy Lupica, ODP Daily Editor In a report released last week, the Department of Defense (DOD) confirmed that existing risks and security challenges in the US are being made worse due to “increasing temperatures; changing precipitation patterns; and more frequent, intense, and unpredictable extreme weather conditions caused by climate change. Now, the Pentagon is […]
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