Monday, July 25, 2016

Power shifts and climate action

The left is pissed. Done accepting half efforts. We are spiraling ever faster to huge economic collapse and climate destruction. We have been sold a bill of goods over and over and the left just doesn’t want to take it anymore. Corporations keep calling the shots and lining their pockets by controlling who gets elected and the decisions they make. Hillary can’t be trusted. If she is building a grid, it is to line the pockets of a corporation. If she is putting up solar, it is to line the pockets of a corporation. These are not enough. Hillary needs to stop taking corporate dollars today. Sanders and Warren are selling out too. These are the calls from the left. But here is the thing. If we have any hope of weakening or ending corporatism, it will not be with Trump at our helm.
There is great precedent for an upwelling of democratic revolt being harnessed for grabbing power for totalitarian rule. (Arab Spring being a very recent example). Sanders did a very good job of forcing a shift without allowing himself to be used to destroy the vast coalitions we have for holding the Democratic Party together. If he had failed at that, we would have a fractured polity...the kind that cannot hold together to keep out someone like Trump. There are precedents for multiparty countries leaving power to a plurality that is far to the right. (Thinking the Nazi Party).
I think it is a very hopeful sign that Sanders was able to become so popular and use that to push the party platform, push Clinton left and increase the power of progressives within the party.
I am so relieved that Warren was not the VP pick, though.
She is becoming the most powerful Democrat in Washington, perhaps after Clinton, perhaps not. But most likely, her power within the Party has, or soon will, eclipse Schumer. He may end up Senate Majority Leader. But she will lead a powerful progressive voting block. She will not be impotent, tied to the VP's desk.
You know what worries me, always has? The progressives, like Warren, have never put climate at the top of the list. That's true of Sanders too. But, during this election, they have begun to really shift to bring that issue into their repertoire. Why? Well, you and me and every climate voter. And Senator Whitehouse. And the Pope. And COP21. And, yes, Obama. (And, of course, millions of others). You know, those half measures that the left doesn’t want to stand for anymore... The climate movement has worked hard for those measures, and they, in turn, have pressured the rest of the powerbrokers to respond and address climate.
Hillary Clinton is likely reading the politics exactly right to navigate all of the different political powers and pressures for getting climate action. And some of that has been in what the left dismisses as symbolic and temporary.
The progressives are finally putting climate further to the top. The moderates are working with, and I think glad to have the progressives building political will for the shift to the left. (I believe they are Democrats because they support a lot of the same ideals progressives do. And they are moderates because they are utterly pragmatic in achieving those ideals. They are very likely thrilled to have an upwelling of voices for progressive action. I know Obama asked again and again for people to demand climate action from him so he could deliver). The left is frustrated at exactly the moment that it may have actually achieved what was nearly impossible. They have pushed the progressive agenda further than it’s been in many decades. And they have done it without fracturing the Party. Not only that, the climate movement has pushed itself to greater prominence among the Progressives. We are on the verge of instituting the Clean Power Plan (all we need is to fill that Supreme Court seat). We are on the verge of upping the standards for transport and housing. We can have the grid that can make 100% carbon free energy a reality. And if we do this right, we can have a Congress that will deliver a carbon tax to President Clinton’s desk in the Oval Office.

1 comment:

  1. Great to see this arrival here, Claire!

    Please do not forget to sleep! (and get up from your seat and walk around occasionally, too.)