Vote As If Your Life Depends on It, Because It Does

I’m sure many of you saw this video of Trump dismissing science yesterday:

Joe Biden responded:

I believe several nightly news programs juxtaposed these very videos.

Joe Biden got off to a slow start on climate change plans during the primary season, but since then he’s pumped it up quite a bit, and I feel a lot better about his climate proposals now. See Biden’s climate plan won praise from progressives at CNN and this article with a misleading headline at the Sydney Morning Herald. I take it Biden has been listening to some smart people about what needs to be done, which is a good thing.

On the issue of climate change alone, there cannot be a more stark and extreme contrast between these candidates. Which brings me to David Sirota. I’ve linked to a lot of Sirota’s reporting over the years and subscribed to his newsletter. But lately, Sirota has been in Bash Joe Biden mode, all day, every day. This morning’s Sirota newsletter complained that Biden is “suppressing” the progressive vote and is in danger of throwing the election to Trump because progressives just aren’t enthusiastic enough about Biden.

I unsubscribed. This is getting ridiculous. Especially on a day when the western U.S. is burning up and the southern Gulf coastal states are flooding, don’t talk to me about enthusiasm. If your hair isn’t on fire, so to speak, what’s wrong with you?

See also Scientific American Endorses Joe Biden.

The next issue is that between Trump and Mitch McConnell, President Biden is going to have a historic mess on his hands. Paul Krugman writes that Republicans are governing as if there will be no next year. “And this means that if Biden does win, he will have to govern in the face of what amounts to nonstop policy sabotage from his political opponents,” Krugman says.

… the most striking demonstration of Republican refusal to think ahead is the fact that nothing has been done to alleviate either the suffering of unemployed Americans — who lost much of the benefits that were sustaining them at the end of July — or the looming fiscal crisis of state and local governments.

Chances are that by January we’ll still be dealing with both an out-of-control pandemic and an economy that at best will be tottering on the brink of a major depression, if not fallen into it. And the climate will still be warming.  Krugman continues,

Traditionally, departing administrations try to smooth the path for their successors. If you think that’s going to happen this time, I have miles of new border wall, paid for by Mexico, that you might want to buy.

What’s actually going to happen, at best, is nothing: no actions to limit the spread of the coronavirus, no financial relief for families and local governments in crisis. And does anyone want to bet against the possibility of deliberate actions to make things worse?

So if Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20, he’ll be the second Democratic president in a row to inherit a nation in crisis, but this time one much worse than the one facing Barack Obama.

And the troubles won’t end on Inauguration Day. If Republicans still hold the Senate, they’ll do everything they can to sabotage the new Biden administration.

That last part terrifies me. There’s no time left to undo Trump’s dismantling of environmental policies and put genuinely robust policies into place to save the planet. There’s no time left for debate or to wait for another election cycle to get the obstructionists out. We are out of time. It has to be now.

We’re also likely to see an upsurge in right-wing terrorism in this country after Trump loses. 2021 is likely to be a mess, at best. And I’m sure we’re all exhausted already; I know I am.

Joe Biden, obviously, is working to put together a big-tent coalition to counter Trump’s rabidly wackjob base, because the truth is that there aren’t enough progressives in the U.S. to elect a president. That’s safe to assume, given that there weren’t enough progressive voters to win primaries. Progressives need to appreciate that they are part of a coalition, and coalitions only work when they actually coalesce.

On the plus side, the extreme problems we will be facing in January should put an end to Clintonian complacency. Anyone arguing for tweaks and baby steps and incrementalism must be hooted out of the stadium. But if we don’t dump Trump and re-take the Senate, I fear all is lost. Including our planet.