The Denial Election
November 8, 2016
The failure of media to address the biggest problem of our time will be a source of wonder to future historians, if there are any.
Remember, the media built the Trump candidacy from the ground up – due to their unending fascination with celebrity – and willingness to pretend that birtherism was an actual rational position for a sane, viable political candidate, and not an immediately disqualifying pathology.
But we’re told, “we don’t talk about it because no one is interested in climate change”.
Who the hell was interested in candidate Donald Trump until cable news gave him billions of dollars in free air time?
This election season has been unusual in a variety of ways. In one way, however, it’s been entirely normal, just like previous elections.
To wit: Climate change didn’t come up.
This fact barely needs explaining. It is pretty much what you’d expect, given various features of US politics and human psychology (which I get into below).
It is, nonetheless, worth taking a step back and reflecting on how batshit crazy it is.
The stakes involved are almost unthinkably large. We can say, without hyperbole, that the effects of this election will be felt centuries from now. The potential suffering of millions of people is on the line.
And a woman who has promised to see half a billion rooftop solar panels installed by the end of her first term is running against a man who believes climate change is a Chinese hoax.
Yet not a single moderator asked a single climate-related question in the three presidential debates. The media has been consumed with the email pseudo-scandal and the unending torrent of norm-destroying statements and behaviors from Trump.
Hillary Clinton is passionate about stopping global warming. Completely unprompted, she brought it into one of the three presidential debates. She highlighted that we have competitive clean energy options today that both slow global warming and create jobs.
While the design of a campaign website is organized in a certain way for various reasons, it’s also worth noting that “Environment” is the #3 issue in Clinton’s “Issues” menu bar — only behind “Economy and jobs” (which every candidate basically has to focus on in order to win) and “Education” (which isn’t a surprise since Hillary has dedicated decades to helping children and families and clearly sees it as her professional calling).
Additionally, Clinton’s campaign chairman and reportedly her first choice for chief of staff (which is widely considered the #2 job in US government/politics) is John Podesta, the founder and chair of the Center for American Progress (CAP), which has highlighted climate above all as the most important political issue of the century.
Here are a few quotes from Hillary on the topic of climate change:
“I won’t let anyone take us backward, deny our economy the benefits of harnessing a clean energy future, or force our children to endure the catastrophe that would result from unchecked climate change.”
“When it comes to climate change, the science is crystal clear. That’s why as President, I will work both domestically and internationally to ensure that we build on recent progress and continue to slash greenhouse gas pollution over the coming years as the science clearly tells us we must.”
“Climate change is directly related to the growth of terrorism. And if we do not get our act together and listen to what the scientists say, you’re going to see countries all over the world struggling over limited amounts of water, limited amounts of land to grow their crops ask you’re going to see all kinds of international conflict.”
“Those people on the other side, they will answer any question about climate change by saying, ‘I’m not a scientist.’ Well, I’m not a scientist either. I’m just a grandmother with two eyes and a brain.”
Clinton has clear proposals outlined regarding the Clean Power Plan, a $60 billion Clean Energy Challenge, clean energy infrastructure, efficiency standards, fossil fuel tax subsidies, cleantech innovation and manufacturing, methane emissions, environmental justice, coal communities, and conservation. She would work to make great progress on climate and clean energy matters.