The Climate Election
June 9, 2016
Is this the first Twitter election?
If it is, arguably, it will have started in earnest today – with Hilary Clinton issuing a blistering three word reply to a stock Trump insult.
The chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign sought to rally green activists on Wednesday for a general election fight against Donald Trump, saying the stakes for the environment are higher than ever before.“It’s trite to say it now, but it’s true this year,” John Podesta said at a League of Conservation Voters (LCV) event on Wednesday night. “And nothing could be more true than on the question of climate change.”
Casting the election as a choice between a climate denier in Trump and a Democrat with a progressive streak on climate change, Podesta said the United States risks instituting “a national policy of climate denial” if Trump wins the White House in November.Podesta mocked Trump’s contention that climate change is a “Chinese hoax.”“Donald Trump is a serious candidate for president but he is not a serious man. The scientific illiteracy is just part of that,” Podesta said, knocking Trump, as Clinton has done, for his temperament and his conduct over the course of the presidential campaign.“We have to make sure climate denial does not find a home in the White House,” he said, thanking LCV members “in advance for the five months of hard work to make sure that [Clinton] is elected the first woman president.”Clinton has campaigned with a laser focus on Trump since he became the presumptive Republican nominee last month, while at the same time closing out a protracted Democratic nomination fight against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.Podesta spoke on Wednesday night, the day after Clinton claimed the Democratic presidential nomination, to the LCV’s annual Capital Dinner, rallying attendees to her cause in the general election.“Yesterday was a very big day for our country and for our planet,” he said. “Hillary Clinton is going to be the Democratic nominee for president.”LCV’s political arm handed Clinton her first green group endorsement of the cycle in November, calling her “without a doubt the most effective leader to stand up to Big Polluters and push forward an aggressive plan to tackle climate change and get it done.”
Joe Romm at Climate Progress picks up on a point that I’ve made a few times.
The mainstream media has begun to call Donald Trump out for racism, as HuffPost notes in banner headlines. But Donald Trump is also a climate science denier — and the mainstream media mostly ignores it.
Obviously racism and climate denial are very different things. Racism has been harming vast numbers of people for centuries. Many have called it “America’s original sin.” The worst harms of climate denial lay ahead — though the gravest danger also happens to be to the poor and disenfranchised.
I bring this question up because racism and climate denial do, in their own way, both pose an existential threat to the idea of America — and because the pushback on Trump’s racist statements is being trumpeted as the media’s “Murrow Moment.”
I have little doubt the legendary journalist Edward R. Murrow, who spoke out against Senator Joe McCarthy six decades ago, would also be speaking out against climate science denial.
If he were alive today, Edward R. Murrow would likely be speaking out against climate science denial
On March 9, 1954, Edward R. Murrow hosted “A Report on Senator Joseph McCarthy,” perhaps the most famous episode of his CBS show, See It Now. As I wrote two years ago, in this time of climate crisis and climate silence — Murrow is a reminder that at one time journalists spoke out on the greatest issues of the day: “This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy’s methods to keep silent…. We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of a republic to abdicate his responsibilities.”