It seems like a no-brainer that presidential candidates want to win. That assumption seems questionable when it comes to Donald Trump.
James Cameron spoke at the Democratic Convention specifically to call Trump a “madman.” While that could apply to Trump regarding many of his positions, Cameron was referring to just one — the subject of his new documentary, summed up in a single word: climate. Cameron derided Trump’s pledge to tear up the Paris climate agreement as both incredibly reckless and dangerous.
No One Else In The World Would Win With Trump’s Position On Climate Change.
According to the Sierra Club:
“If elected, Trump would be the only world leader to deny the science of climate change.”
That may not matter to those who are already Trump supporters. They seemingly don’t care that the GOP once pledged to fight climate change and now deride those who make any attempt to do so. In 2008, the Republican platform said:
“Republicans support technology-driven, market-based solutions that will decrease emissions [and] mitigate the impact of climate change where it occurs.”
What a difference eight years make! Their 2016 platform reads:
“Climate change is far from this nation’s most pressing national security issue. This is the triumph of extremism over common sense, and Congress must stop it.”
The GOP candidate has gleefully and often tweeted about climate change, calling it a “hoax” and a “con job.” In one of his most extreme tinfoil hat moments, he even said:
“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
By contrast, Bernie Sanders has called climate change the number one national security threat. It’s around this one issue that many of his hardcore supporters have coalesced. Their numbers are large enough to swing the election and both camps are intent on converting them to their side.
Just 14% Of Voters Show The Way To A Win.
Republicans don’t have a prayer of doing so because they have no clue how important the issue is. According to a recent survey, 14% of voters name climate change as their number one concern.
Democrats — Sanders and Clinton fans alike — are starting to come together on the issue in a way that could pull the holdouts into the tent. At the Democratic convention, the work has begun to forge an official caucus on climate change, the environment, and energy.
Sanders, of course, has been the driving force on including strong language on climate change in the platform. It says:
“We believe America must be running entirely on clean energy by mid-century. We will take bold steps to slash carbon pollution and protect clean air at home, lead the fight against climate change around the world, ensure no Americans are left out or left behind as we accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy, and be responsible stewards of our natural resources and our public lands and waters.”
The specifics include many things that Clinton did not originally support, like stronger regulation of fracking and a rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline. Consequently, Sanders supporters made up the majority of the group pushing for a new caucus.
But some came from the Clinton camp. There is, perhaps, a growing recognition of how important action on the climate is to a Democratic win. Sanders may have started the ball rolling, but Clinton has to carry it over the line. Cohesion in this area could make all the difference in the race against Trump.
Skepticism at the meeting was high over whether Clinton would actually carry through with the climate change plank of the Democratic platform. But activist Jane Kleeb urged Sanders supporters to stick with the party:
“The caucus has got to send the message that we’re serious, that we’re not going away. We have to weave [climate activism] into the party at its core. The only way I won the Nebraska Democratic chair was because Bernie people stayed involved in the process.”
The Democratic Party has the advantage in heading for a win, as long as they hold onto the commitments on climate change that are in their platform. Sanders has already made the case to the 14% of the electorate that considers it their top priority.
All Clinton has to do is make it clear that it’s her priority as well — that she’s prepared to take strong action. The 14% will be lined up to vote blue. And it’ll be “Good-bye, Trump!”
Watch: “This election is about climate change.”
As Bernie Sanders pointed out during his speech at the Democratic National Convention, this election is about climate change.