Which Candidate?

The last post caused a bit of a stir. Some object to my selection, others propose alternatives, many emphasize that we must show unity to defeat president dumbass.

I want to know more about where various candidates stand on the climate change issue. For instance: is Kamala Harris the proper next choice based on the climate change issue? She has a 100% lifetime rating from LCV (League of Conservation Voters) but ClimateHawks specifically mentions that despite her unmpeacable environmental record overall, she hasn’t “stepped up” to climate change specifically. Still, she looks pretty good.

What about the other candidates? Please share your thoughts on their suitability on the climate change issue. If you want to comment on their other attributes, I believe the previous thread is still open.

And thanks for sharing.

Important Update:

I have a new #1. Someone mentioned Jay Inslee (governor of Washington state), and I discovered that he is a serious possibility as a candidate. He also has announced that climate change would be the focus of such a campaign. If he’s in the race, he’s the clear #1. So far.


32 responses to “Which Candidate?

  1. I like the bernie and kamala ticket for a number of reasons, including balance to help beat prez dumbass, but I was unaware of her climate record standing. I was just going on first impressions. My preference would be Bernie and Elizabeth Warren for the ticket, but I think that would be weaker on voting day. People want change. That explains Obama and Trump. I guess the dems could try Hillary again. She couldn’t lose to that guy twice, could she?

  2. I sent Bernie a donation yesterday. I’m supporting Bernie unless and until someone else stands out. So far, I don’t see anyone who advocate all my personal requirements, including Bernie. These are my personal requirements:

    1. Universal Medicare – and explain how it will work, how we will pay for it, and the supplemental role private insurance and health care will provide.

    2. Fix Social Security – Some combination of these changes is required: Raise retirement age to 70, remove contribution cap, increase contribution %, add means testing for the rich.

    3. Refinance all student loans, forgive student loans in exchange for X years of employment in underprivileged areas, or X years of national service.

    4. Bring back the draft as a new National Service, offering military and nonmilitary options. Offer student loans to those completing service. Forgive student loans for those completing service.

    5. Encourage states to make state universities free for residents of the state.

    6. Establish a new Department of Climate Change for the purpose of converting the nation from fossil fuels to renewables and 4th generation nuclear. Make a plan like we had for going to the moon in the 60’s. All cars electric by 2030? 2050? Set a target.

    7. Make a complete separation of commercial banks and investment banks. More re-regulation is required here, but I am not knowledgeable enough to say what.

    8. Bring back unions.

    9. Begin rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, especially railroads, which should become competitive with air travel. That means they must be much higher speed and electrified.

    10. Establish a retraining system at the universities for everyone who is displaced by any technology shift, especially for people displaced by conversion from fossil fuels to renewables.

    11. Prohibit all lobbying. Any corporation, institution, organization, union, etc that advocates for any cause can create a web page on which it can argue for its cause. A link to the web page can be sent to politicians. That is the limit of lobbying.

    12. Prohibit campaign financing except for travel costs to and from public speeches. Each person running for office can have a web page on which he/she explains his/her policies and political agenda. Beyond that, the person running for office can make political speeches to the constituency. No TV ads. No email mailings. A candidate gets his own web page and he can make public speeches. That’s all.

    13. If there are to be presidential debates, they have to be actual debates, not Q&A sessions.

    14. Stay in the Iran nuclear agreement. Fix what needs to be fixed.

    15. Stay in the Intermediate Range Missile Treaty. Fix what needs to be fixed.

    16. Strengthen NATO.

    17. Create an international program to establish a system to deflect/destroy incoming asteroids.

    18. Automatic voter registration in every state.

    19. Rebuild the public school system. No tax deductions or vouchers for private schools.

    20. No tax free status for churches.

    21. End the electoral college by getting enough states to pass legislation mandating that their electoral college votes shall go to the candidate that wins the popular vote.

    22. Corporations shall not have free speech.

    23. Money shall not be equated with free speech.

    • So, while there are some good discussion points there, 11-13 and 18-23 are likely unconstitutional, and many of the rest would break the bank unless we go to European levels of taxation.

      Asteroid defense could be prohibitively expensive or relatively cheap, depending on how you do it. Right now, one of the biggest perturbations to asteroid orbits is how they absorb sunlight. You might be able to address the threats from a lot of asteroids by merely “painting” them if you identify them early enough.

    • It’s always amazed me that there are not more protests to get the Electoral College scrapped. I’m sure there are historical excuses for it but in a democracy, shouldn’t the leader of that democracy be elected on the votes of the people, with one person one vote? I’m not saying that any other democracy is better but when several of the recent presidents have been elected on a minority vote …

      • Only two ways out of the Electoral College mess:
        1)Constitutional amendment–ain’t gonna happen
        2)Agreement by a sufficient # of states with a sufficient # of electoral votes to cast the state’s electoral votes for the National vote winner–unlikely, but possible.

  3. I guess all I can say at this point is anyone but Trump. I just do not have the faith that the Democrats can push a credible candidate.

  4. Martin Smith, I agree with much of your program, but object to a draft and to taxing churches. At this point I’m for Jay Inslee.

    • Jay Inslee could become the best candidate, but he isn’t actually a candidate yet, and so far he has only expressed a climate change policy. Climate change is the most important issue, but having a comprehensive climate change policy isn’t enough to win the election.

      We need the draft again because the professional military idea, while producing a dedicated and truly professional military, has also insulated most Americans from the true costs of the wars we have started since we eliminated the draft. We no longer protest war the way we protested the war in Vietnam. Consequently the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have been the longest and costliest wars in our history. Our military has become a mercenary force. It collects men like the Coast Guard member just arrested for plotting to kill Democrats.

      During my time in the military in the 1970s, the field grade and general officers I worked with and knew were intellectuals. They were interested in the greater world and in science and philosophy. Now they are less so, or so it seems to me. They are more likely to be fundamentalist christians (which means not much like Jesus), and they seem to see their military careers as an expression of their general political view of “us vs them,” where even the American civilian population is part of “them.”

      With a more citizens’ military again, we can swing that pendulum in the other direction. Look how we are so easily willing to desert our Kurd allies. They aren’t us; they’re them. So we use them as mercenaries and then cut them off. With citizens in the military for national service, the nation will be much more wary of using military force in the first place. Congress can take back its constitutional duty to declare wars.

      Churches should be taxed because they violate the terms of their tax free status. http://info.legalzoom.com/can-church-lose-its-501c-status-21743.html
      But more important than that, they now equate religious freedom with denying rights to others. If a church invokes religious freedom to claim that homosexuality is wrong, or that same sex marriage is wrong, it can only make that claim within its church membership. If members of that church refuse service to homosexuals outside their church membership, or if they argue against same sex marriage as a religious view when it comes up in an election, then that is politics and grounds for that church to lose its tax free status.

  5. Susan Anderson

    Inslee is wonderful! With respect to climate, Elizabeth Warren has been solid from the beginning. This goes back to 2014. The link to the longer video has gone missing, so I’ll post it at the end here.

    Think of it this way: We have tens of millions of people who live right near coasts, just to pick one example. And so what’s happening right now in the debate in the United States? There are giant industries that pollute and the consequence is they make immediate profits and the effects of their pollution will be felt by lots and lots people around this country and ultimately around the globe. Now, it’s in their interest to continue to be able to pollute, because they make short term profits and everyone else will bare the costs.

    Think about it, they are able to amass the lobbyists to go to Washington, to influence the lawmakers,to influence the regulators, to do everything they can to maintain their opportunities to foul the air and poison the water in order to support short-term profits. Everyone else—who has to pay the price on that—doesn’t have that same kind of organized ability to make their voices heard in the same way with lobbyists and lawyers in Washington.

    And so for me, this is just one more example of how we have inequality, of how we have a rigged system, where a handful are able to reap benefits at the cost of everyone else. And I think climate change, like economic inequality, are both symptoms of the same problem. The same problem of this with enough power writing the rules too much in their favor, and leaving everyone else behind.

    By the way, the original “Green New Deal” came from Van Jones who was working with Nancy Pelosi, but a scandal was cooked up and he had to go in the early Obama years.

    In general, I agree that it’s too early, but we’re stuck in this. Continuous campaigning is a distraction from clear and present dangers, particularly the Senate and the Supreme Court as well as Trump.

    I was a huge fan of Bernie Sanders in the aughts (when few people had heard of him), but became impatient with the oversimplifications and attack strategies during the 2016 election campaign. Though he did try to restrain his following, many people got quite carried away finding fault with everyone who was not Bernie. I attended a huge climate conference in 2009 at MIT but the hope and energy there was quickly defeated by McConnell et al., and the blame was put on the victims.

  6. So you also censor comments you don’t like, even though they’re on topic and directly respond to your question and points? We told you about Inslee and you won’t allow these facts into print?


    [Response: You posted accusations, the only evidence you provided was a link to a blog which doesn’t seem to me to be a very reliable source. Your say-so doesn’t define “facts.”]

  7. OK, since we are looking at lists of proposals, how about the following list (all related to climate change and related issues). And how do the offerings of current candidates compare to this?

    1. Defend, implement, and extend smart pollution and efficiency standards, including the Clean Power Plan and standards for cars, trucks, and appliances that are already helping clean our air, save families money, and fight climate change.
    2. Launch a $60 billion Clean Energy Challenge to partner with states, cities, and rural communities to cut carbon pollution and expand clean energy, including for low-income families.
    3. Invest in clean energy infrastructure, innovation, manufacturing and workforce development to make the U.S. economy more competitive and create good-paying jobs and careers.
    4. Ensure safe and responsible energy production. As we transition to a clean energy economy, we must ensure that the fossil fuel production taking place today is safe and responsible and that areas too sensitive for energy production are taken off the table.
    5. Reform leasing and expand clean energy production on public lands and waters tenfold within a decade.
    6. Cut the billions of wasteful tax subsidies oil and gas companies have enjoyed for too long and invest in clean energy.
    7. Cut methane emissions across the economy and put in place strong standards for reducing leaks from both new and existing sources.
    8. Revitalize coal communities by supporting locally driven priorities and make them an engine of U.S. economic growth in the 21st century, as they have been for generations.
    9. Make environmental justice and climate justice central priorities by setting bold national goals to eliminate lead poisoning within five years, clean up the more than 450,000 toxic brownfield sites across the country, expand solar and energy efficiency solutions in low-income communities, and create an Environmental and Climate Justice Task Force.
    10. Promote conservation and collaborative stewardship. Keep public lands public, strengthen protections for our natural and cultural resources, increase access to parks and public lands for all Americans, as well as harness the immense economic potential they offer through expanded renewable energy production, a high quality of life, and a thriving outdoor economy.

  8. The draft is wrong because slavery is wrong. Period. Taxing churches is wrong because the power to tax is the power to destroy, and because there’s a wall of separation between church and state in this country.

    • Equating compulsory national service with slavery is too extreme, I think, but it is a matter of opinion, like when a fetus becomes a human being, so it will forever be a line of disagreement.

      And equating the power to tax with the power to destroy is also too extreme. It’s like saying the power to swim is the power to drown.

      Your point about the separation of church and state I agree with, but it is my point, not yours. I’m advocating taxing churches because churches have crossed the separation of church and state into politics.

    • “because there’s a wall of separation between church and state in this country.”

      As churches have engaged in more and more political action the wall is turning pretty leaky in one direction, at least. The ability to engage in political action is also the power to destroy as we are clearly seeing these days.

      [Response: There’s something I feel I must mention.

      Political action brings power, which can achieve many ends including destruction. But to equate its power to destruction, is a rhetorical trap.]

  9. “Political action brings power, which can achieve many ends including destruction. But to equate its power to destruction, is a rhetorical trap.”

    Thank you for making my point far better than I did.

  10. One candidate who has impressed me at this early stage is Pete Buttageig. He has been doing the usual things he would need to do–a campaign biography, appearing on talk shows to increase his name recognition. Most important, he has been relentless at staying on message–very disciplined.

    As a mayor of a somewhat downtrodden town in a red Rust Belt state, he’s shown he can institute a progressive program in a conservative environment. He’s emphasized climate and generational justice in all his appearances, and he is good at projecting his personality to the public. I’ve been a little concerned at the propensity of Liz Warren and to a lesser extent Kamala Harris to give in to distractions (Warren w/ the native American issue and Harris on marijuana). Whoever we run against Trump is going to be competing for oxygen with the worlds largest shit show. Discipline will be essential.

    Don’t know if Buttageig has staying power, but at 37 years old, I think he is one to watch.

  11. The founders left churches out of being taxed for a reason. Review the political situation of churches back then and you’ll see why. It would be too easy to tax churches we don’t like more than ones we do like. And would Wiccans be taxed? How about Scientologists? Why or why not?

    • Taxation of churches *would* be a massive potential hole in the ‘wall of separation’, even though there could easily be ways of doing so in non-discriminatory fashion.

      I do feel, though, that the question about just what qualifies as a church for taxation purposes probably already does arise from time to time today. I’m pretty sure that an individual, for example, couldn’t get away with declaring him- or herself a religion of one purely in order to build a tax shelter. So there still are judgment calls somewhere at the margins.

  12. My views seem to match nearly perfectly with those of Robert Reich. I wish he would run for president. Here is his animated analysis of how we got into this mess and how we get out of it:

    • Agree on Robert Reich. One of the clearest progressive voices out there. Unfortunately, he is way too smart to ever want to run for President. And also unfortunately, much of what you and Reich have laid out would require either:
      1) A constitutional amendment, which ain’t happening any time soon.
      2) A dramatic reversal by the Supreme Court, which ain’t happening for at least 30 years.
      3) A Constitutional Convention, which at this point would more likely turn the country into a theocratic dictatorship.
      4) A military coup, which, given the current composition of the military, would result in a theocratic dictatorship.

      All we can do is claw back our country, one election at a time.

    • Martin Smith

      Inslee doesn’t appear to have a campaign website yet. You’d think he would have had that ready for the announcement so people could contribute and read about his policies.

      • I guess Inslee talks a good game on all things green, but watching perform as governor, I have been quite disappointed with his approach to restoring the health of the Salish Sea (aka Puget Sound) and with his failure to lead against the spraying of toxic material at the shoreline to help the shellfish industry stay profitable. I think he’s just another corporate dem who likes to wear green.

        [Response: Gosh, we finally have a candidate who will make climate change the #1 issue, who’ll put it front and center, who will make it impossible for politicians and pundits to ignore. And how do we respond? Let’s find some flaws, some things that pissed us off, and forget about his long history of being a leader on the climate change and other environmental issues. Let’s dismiss him in offhand fashion as “just another corporate dem who likes to wear green.” That couldn’t be more wrong, but if you’re pissed off at something go for it.

        As for a candidate who will put climate change front and center on the national stage … who would want that?]

  13. Also, I suspect Inslee is running for vice president.

    • Dude. Nobody runs for VP. VP is a position where political careers go to die.

      • A fair point–though fans of GHW Bush, and even LBJ, may disagree.

      • Actually, I think the 8 and 3 years they did as VeeP actually diminished their respective statuses (stati?) as politicians. LBJ was a credible rival to JFK in 1960. And GHWB was a caricature of himself by the time the demented cowboy went off to his ranch to vegetate.

      • I think there’s room for reasonable disagreement on those assessments, as witness the fact that they still do have their fans. Me, I’m relatively agnostic on that.

        But either way, I’d point out that upon *entry* to the Presidency their reputations were in pretty good shape, hence they weren’t diminished by serving as Veep, but rather by (aspects of) their respective Presidencies.

        For someone like Inslee, it may be a way to at least remain relevant (assuming that his bid doesn’t just skyrocket a la Obama). It lets him work on the big national policy stage and remain relevant politically. Cf., Biden–who, I think, has probably run out of demographic ‘runway’ with respect to his age, but may yet try anyway.

  14. New article on Inslee (he’s in the news since he recently declared). I like what I’ve seen, though I fell for my Senator Elizabeth Warren some time ago. She leads.
    Jay Inslee Wants to Be a Presidential Candidate for the Climate-Change Era [interesting it’s written by Benjamin Wallace-Wells, who has been front and center recently as well. Not much complaint this time about his “extremism”. I think people are getting wise to the scope and urgency of the problem.]