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 Hill:

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.”
Here’s another climate-themed ad the Hillary team put out a few months ago.

Joe Romm at Climate Progress picks up on a point that I’ve made a few times.

Joe Romm at ClimateProgress:

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.”

28 Responses to “The Climate Election”

  1. florasforum Says:

    Sorry, but she’s lying through her teeth. See who funds her 1/4 billion dollar lifestyle and her campaign and then tell me you take any of this seriously. She’s just trying to trick the Sanders supporters, but we know better. It’s funny that she reads a line about being trapped in the past. How rich! Welcome to the 1990s if she’s elected. She’s pro-fracking and took FOREVER to go against Keystone pipeline. (She had to determine first if it would be best for her politically.) She’s for TPP (yeah, she says now she isn’t, but that will change.) And let’s not go into the fact that she loves war. This is one of the most intelligent and comprehensive climate blogs online–don’t get suckered by Clinton! She’ll tell you what you want to hear and then not deliver, that is her way.

    • ubrew12 Says:

      I don’t think its ‘Rocket Science’ to know how the entire Democratic Party would push on this issue if they had the power to. LBJ (Democrat) first warned Congress about this issue half-a-century ago. Jimmy Carter (Democrat) first put real money into renewable energy (I’m convinced this is a big reason he lost re-election). Clinton/Gore (Democrats) first committed the Executive to the Kyoto Protocols. And had Gore won 2000 I believe we’d be on a renewable path today (again: a big reason he lost). Sanders has illuminated the corruption inside DC that everybody, Clinton included, is mired in. Sanders as POTUS would have no, zero, ability to combat that corruption, because its a matter of domestic policy, which is vested in our (bought) Congress. The Sanders Revolution HAS to be directed at Congress. I hope it doesn’t dissipate itself from disappointment that it wasn’t able to take over the part of our government that is LEAST capable of making the change urgently needed in our Democracy. Cuz those would be some sour grapes indeed.

      • otter17 Says:

        To Sanders’ credit, he has addressed that point in an interview. To paraphrase, he had said something along the lines that while Barack Obama ran one of the best campaigns in memory to get to the bully pulpit, there needed to be more follow-through to encourage a continuous grassroots activism movement to combat the bought views within Congress.

        I’m not sure it would work, but it would be a better shot, or at least Sanders thinks so, to have the bully pulpit rallying the people behind a cause instead of trying to tackle it alone or within just the D.C. circles. Having a president calling the people, Dem, Rep, whoever to rally for Move to Amend, Wolf PAC, or any movement of choice would at least be something that hasn’t been tried yet in the bid to set Washington right on the issue of campaign finance. The virus runs too deep within Congress for them to heal it, despite the numerous attempts to propose an amendment.

        A fair playing field in influence with elected representatives would be a huge blow to climate denial in this country. It sure seems like a necessary first step before any leadership will emerge on the issue of figuring out the problem of reducing emissions substantially while providing a economic standard of living.

    • Jim Housman Says:

      Am I to understand that “florasforum” thinks we will have a better environmental policy under Trump and the Republicans?

      • florasforum Says:

        Of course not, Jim. I’m just saying Hillary is all talk–whatever she needs to say to get the votes she’ll say. Trump could be worse, but I wouldn’t put money on that. He’s full of hot air; so’s she. The other comments here I feel are on target. I feel that if Sanders were POTUS we would have action because he is such a great leader and motivator. Over and over, in every speech, he has listed the environment as a major goal. I have no doubt that he would/that he WILL lead millions to action, but I’m not sure what all of that will look like until after the DNC. I’ve heard that the last emails he has sent his supporters are not about his campaign, but about promoting other candidates who he feels will bring about the change we need in Congress. He’s about the big picture–not some ego-maniacal quest like these other two. I am saddened that the Democratic voters have not been behind him in full force, but have followed the status quo mentality with Clinton. –Sandra Knauf

        • otter17 Says:

          “Trump could be worse, but I wouldn’t put money on that. He’s full of hot air; so’s she.”

          Well, even if Clinton is full of hot air and does not follow through on any climate-related promises, she could at least be trusted to maintain what progress that Obama has made so far. Given the economics for renewables changing favorably, Obama’s carbon rules for the EPA would get us on our way towards meeting Paris goals, or at least according to the likes of Krugman.

          Trump sure doesn’t seem like he is spouting hot air, or at least we ought not risk it, in his promises to wreck as much progress on the issue as he can. I think the world would laugh at his attempts to renegotiate the Paris Accord, but the message and fallout that would potentially spread to other countries were he to try is somewhat chilling. A primary goal is to defeat this demagogue, and let’s not forget a possible conspiracy theorist with his “AGW invented by and for the Chinese” nonsense. The choice is clear between “maintain progress to date” and “screw the future, tear it all down”.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Another day has passed,and perhaps florasforum and the the other disappointed “Berners” are beginning to get over their disappointment? I for one am pleased that Obama and Sanders met, Obama has endorsed Clinton, and that it appears that Sanders is close to doing the right thing—working with Clinton and Obama to defeat the potential disaster named Trump.

          Florasforum is naive beyond belief if she thinks that “whatever she needs to say to get the votes she’ll say” is not the modus operandi of nearly all politicians, even including Saint Bernie. That’s why he is a liberal-progressive mirror image of Trump in so many ways—-sling bullshit and get the youngsters “occupying”—-it feels SOOOOOO good for him and them—-but they have no really workable plans to achieve their perfect world anytime soon, and NO ONE will make any real progress until Citizens United is overturned.

          “Trump COULD be worse”? Lord love a duck! Get over it and start to work for Clinton—-the “status quo” mentality of the Democrats is so far ahead of that of the Repugnants that we shouldn’t even be having this conversation.

  2. toby52 Says:

    I am not an American citizen and live in Europe. The question seems to me to be: who is in the best position to continue an Obama Presidency? After a shaky enough beginning, and yes he has not been without blemish, his record on the environment is second to none. Who is more likely to continue that – Clinton or Trump? The fact that Trump is already committed to undoing Obama’s legacy should decide that.

    Similarly, on the Iran Nuclear Deal – who is more likely to support and build on it? Clinton supports it (maybe with reservations) but Trump says it is one of the first things he will cancel, along with the Paris Climate Agreement. One of his first acts will be also (he says) to destroy the EPA and its work.

    You could take a whole raft of Obama issues – like Healthcare. Who is more likely to build on his achievements? Not Trump.

    Trump may be just bloviating, he seems to have a totally exaggerated idea of what a President can actually do, like he NEVER mentions Congress. But put him in office, and the damage he could do is immense.

    There is something Nixonian about Clinton – the 2nd most unpopular candidate of all time, but the most unpopular is Trump. Nixon did (tortuously) remove the US from Vietnam, continued detente with Russia, initiated it with China, and founded the EPA. But to paraphrase what Linooln wrote to Joe Hooker when he put him in command (“I will risk the Dictatorship”), I would go with the Nixon in Clinton and risk another Watergate.

    • otter17 Says:

      Yes, “maintain status quo” or “attempt to tear it all down”. At leas with a lot of activism on certain issues like climate, Clinton would at least feel compelled to do some things in order to re-elected to a second term. And, who knows, maybe she is like Obama, in that once a second term is secured, she would loosen up and close out her political career with some progress on climate.

      • florasforum Says:

        Dear dumb, old (and rude) guy: As a “Berner,” no, I’m not getting over the disappointment. I’ve been around for a half century, so I’m acquainted with the fact that most politicians are corrupt (thank you very much). By an amazing bit of fate we got an honest one running an honest campaign this time, who actually considers the environment problem a five-alarm emergency, and oh, look what we did! This election cycle has opened my eyes to a few things. When some of us see clearly that the MSM/multinational corporations have almost complete control of who will win elections, and come face-to-face with a rigged voting system, we can’t go back. The younger generation understands what they are up against and will proceed accordingly. Good luck with the fantasy that Clinton will keep any promises. Say hello to TPP, more fracking, more war, and very little meaningful change. In other words, Obama II (which has been the equivalent of treading water for most Americans), but likely a little worse. As for me, I’m voting Green Party. And don’t even try to shirk responsibility by saying we’ll be the blame for a Trump presidency. You’ve brought this on, champions of the status quo! Now, I won’t be revisiting this post, so you can have the last word with no “florasforum” sass to worry about! Good luck!

        • toby52 Says:

          Nothing wrong with voting Green, but I read that the leader of the Greens wanted Bernie Sanders to run for a 3rd Party. It boils down to which is better: a live dog or a dead lion? Sanders is a lion and an ideologically pure one, but dead electorally, now that Obama, Biden and Warren have endorsed Clinton. Better a hokey dog than an ideologically pure but dead lion. I have a weakness for Lincoln quotations but this is my favourite: “I would agree to any evil, to avoid a worse one”. Trump is the worse evil.

          • webej Says:

            How green would it be to watch Hillary, who has so far pushed the neo-con agenda everywhere, with Obama as a brake, push Russia into nuclear confrontation: Russia has already clearly stated that a red line has been crossed, and everything points to an expansion of these policies. The threat of nuclear confrontation is greater today than it was during the cold war, but people seem completely delusional about how Russians view NATO exercising on its borders, within artillery distance of St Petersburg, withdrawing from the ABM and in practice revoking the ban on medium distance nuclear missiles. Nothing is being done to de-escalate: And Hillary is not your man!

          • otter17 Says:

            ” The threat of nuclear confrontation is greater today than it was during the cold war, ”

            Wha?? Are the security professionals that are also making this claim?

          • Well, The Bulletin has long thought so, with nukes running around and no showdown between two great powers.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Rude? Is that what one gets called when one dares to scratch the very thin and self-righteous skin of a “Berner” like Flora and provokes her into an even ruder hissy-fit? I wonder if Flora also hold her breath when she doesn’t get her way?

          Where can’t Flora and her young “we” buddies not go back to? She’s going to vote Green and throw her vote away? Does she not remember Ralph Nader in 2000 and how the Greens may have given us eight years of George W. Bush?

          Flora and the children should do as toby52 says and vote for the “hokey dog”. If they want to “send a message”, they can stand on a street corner and hold up a sign.

          And “You’ve brought this on, champions of the status quo!” deserves no more response than “Lord love a dozen dead ducks”. JFC!

          • Ironic that you should bring up Greens and Ralph Nader.

            I was a staunch member of the Sierra Club at the time, and, based upon their urging, I voted for Gore and, indeed, for one Hillary Clinton to be Senator from New York. Indeed, on behalf of Sierra, I campaigned and manned phone banks for her.

            She won. Bush won.

            And, in her years as Senator, she did nothing, diddly squat, zilch for the upstate county I was in (Broome), as corporation after corporation left, unemploying tens of thousands. Upstate never returned. Is still there. Worse, in fact.

            And some of that “worse” can, I believe, be attributed to climate change, because in a series of unprecedented floods, due to Spring ice jams and rains, ones that had not been seen for at least a century, and never that frequently, the Chenango and Susquehanna Rivers flooded, and destroyed industrial locations nearby which were zoned for such work. A newly constructed shopping mall was also destroyed.

            The companies pulled out, not to rebuild. Any pushback? No.

            Finally, IBM pulled out, leaving a toxic mess in Endicott, and IBM negotiated a deal with NYSDEP and the governor so, if they did not have to clean up the mess, they wouldn’t simply shut down and lay off everyone in Endicott on the spot. No Hillary. No Bill. (He was President at the time.) I’m not talking about fluctuations of toxics. I’m talking about homes nearby the IBM plant that were designated unlivable within, due to contamination in their basements, and, therefore, unsellable, wiping out families’ fortunes.

            So, I can see where people might be pissed.

            The message is, people are fed up, whether on the Bernie side or the Donald side, and they don’t care what they say or do, they want a big change.

            The trouble with Clinton is that she’s anything but a big change, and “middle of the road” is what these people have been doing since the mid-1970s.

            So I lay “the Donald” as a symptom of a problem which the Democrats and the standard Republicans have failed to solve. He’s a modern demagogue.

            Yeah, greatly grudgingly, I’ll vote for Clinton, but I consider her goose dung.

  3. Been watching Chomsky vids lately (again). He says elections are a diversionary tool of the rulers. It’s what happens BETWEEN elections that matters. Occupy made Sanders possible. (Not that you shouldn’t vote… “hold your nose and vote for Clinton vs Trump)

    Chomsky: Today’s GOP is a Candidate for Most Dangerous Organization in Human History

    • Lionel Smith Says:

      Chomsky is correct, I am sure that the UK’s EU referendum is a smoke screen to prevent things like fracking and global weather events being put into context.

  4. florasforum Says:

    YES, REQUIEM FOR THE AMERICAN DREAM – The Chomsky Documentary–a must see for all Americans, especially dumboldguy.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      F-forum said on June 10, 2016 at 12:50 pm

      “I won’t be revisiting this post”, and yet here she is 3 minutes later at 12:53, making a “rude” comment.

      F-forum says Clinton won’t keep any promises? F-forum couldn’t even keep her own promise to NOT return for three minutes, and she expects us to put any value in her opinions?. LMAO at the irony of all that!

      • dumboldguy Says:

        Look at the “thumbs down” that Flora and the rest of the petulant children are giving my comments! Perhaps I will anger them to the point that they will vote for Donald Trump to teach me a lesson? Here’s some more to chew on, kiddies.

        “Requiem for the American Dream”? Just because an old socialist like Bernie hasn’t succeeded in gaining the nomination the dream is dead?. What a surprise. The last socialist candidate for president was Eugene Debs nearly 100 years ago, and he got ~5% of the vote.

        In actuality, The American Dream was basically stillborn, so it’s not correct to be holding a requiem just yet. It took a Civil War and the efforts of FDR, LBJ, MLK, (and yes even people like Chomsky a bit) to breathe some life into it in the 20th Century, and it didn’t live long before the Repugnants and the greedy rich tried to smother it again. The Chomsky documentary is a “must see”? I LIVED through those times, Flora—-I’m, older than Bernie and probably your parents—-and was involved in some “activism” myself.

        PS I made a $$$$ contribution to Sanders’ 2006 campaign. Did Flora even know who he was then?

  5. The Sanders campaign might “not be understood for years to come“, but what’s going on with his supporters and those of Trump’s is no mystery to some educated analysts. I’ve heard people claim the mystery is why it took them so long to get riled up.

    It’s a long time historic pattern: If average people are hurting and neglected economically for a long time, if they feel powerless, they turn to demagogues. Why the surprise?

  6. greenman3610 Says:

    I would urge everyone to simply consider the words of one of the world’s most well known climate deniers, Marc Morano.

    if Dems win, they will lose the ball game. If a Repub wins, they can roll all recent green gains back, including Paris.
    Note, the same folks that hate Hillary hated Obama for not immediately blowing rainbows out his ass, hence the disastrous 2010 election.
    But Morano sees Obama as someone who kicked ass and took names, and has driven climate denial nearly to defeat, — all depending on the election outcome.
    Your call bernie bros.

    • pendantry Says:

      Morano’s view of reality is all rainbows and unicorns. His phrasing ‘win/lose’ proves his failure to recognise that climate denialism sets us all on the road to ‘lose/lose’… as indeed does this failed Grand Experiment. Labeling it ‘democracy’ is an insult to the concept. Smoke and mirrors, bread and circuses.

  7. lracine Says:

    “Representative institutions no longer represent voters. Instead, they have been short-circuited, steadily corrupted by an institutionalized system of bribery that renders them responsive to powerful interest groups whose constituencies are the major corporations and wealthiest Americans. The courts, in turn, when they are not increasingly handmaidens of corporate power, are consistently deferential to the claims of national security. Elections have become heavily subsidized non-events that typically attract at best merely half of an electorate whose information about foreign and domestic politics is filtered through corporate-dominated media. Citizens are manipulated into a nervous state by the media’s reports of rampant crime and terrorist networks, by thinly veiled threats of the Attorney General and by their own fears about unemployment. What is crucially important here is not only the expansion of governmental power but the inevitable discrediting of constitutional limitations and institutional processes that discourages the citizenry and leaves them politically apathetic.”

    Clinton and Trump are two sides of the same coin….

    The most eloquent explanations of where and why we find ourselves in the USA have come from Sheldon Wolin..

    • greenman3610 Says:

      “There’s not a dimes worth of difference between Al Gore and George Bush”
      We ran that experiment in 2000.
      Turns out there was a dime’s worth of difference.
      How many times do you need to see that demonstration?

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Wolin is not the only one who has seen the handwriting on the wall, but his “inverted totalitarianism” is indeed the most eloquent and complete statement of the problem.

      And anyone who says that “Clinton and Trump are two sides of the same coin….” has succumbed to the efforts of the propaganda arm of the plutocracy and corporatocracy. The difference may not be YUUUGE, but there IS a difference.

      The “negatives” about Clinton that the mass media is always pumping out are part of the 25 year long smear campaign that the Repugnants have conducted against her, and that’s just a smaller part of the 45+ year campaign that the bought-and-paid-for Repugnant Party has been conducting since Reagan’s time to establish Wolin’s inverted totalitarianism. It’s working well for them, and NOT supporting Clinton strongly in spite of her few real warts and many imagined ones will just be putting more nails in the country’s coffin.

  8. redskylite Says:

    I enjoyed this great interview between Michael Moore (American documentary filmmaker and author) and a young lad from The Guardian. Good advise on BREXIT and the suggestion that someone is “out to lunch” (pls don’t give him the nuclear codes.)

    See you in Canada.

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