Climate change is finally becoming an issue of political salience, especially with young voters. Policy proposals like the Green New Deal have galvanized those worried for the future of the planet/environment. The political energy for a new environmental movement is afoot, but now comes the difficult work of sorting through just what that movement looks like. Obviously that’s a hugely complex question, with a lot of moving parts and distinct goals wrapped up in it, but at the end of the day, one thing is clear, fighting climate change means fighting the pro-corporate status quo.
Simply put, capitalism and fighting climate change are antithetical to one another. At least until we can assure current modes of production are carbon neutral, or incredibly close to it. Getting to that point is a hurdle of research and development capitalism likely isn’t capable of, but massive government expenditure, ala the New Deal, World War II, or the Moon Shot, certainly is.
After said expenditure occurs and a greener system is created, capitalist modes of production and accumulation may not prove as problematic as they seem given today’s status quo. That said, see paragraph two, there is a fundamental disconnect in our current economy that makes creating that status quo nearly impossible, but definitely impossible in the time frame we need. To put it simply, there is too much money on the line to fight climate change and that won’t change until it’s too late.
Which is why if Americans are serious about fighting climate change, there is only one candidate for the job. Only Bernie Sanders has shown himself capable of fighting that fight. And the fight to decouple profit and corporate interests from the destruction of the planet will not be a fight easily won. Likewise, it won’t be a fight patched over with “compromise” or “finding common ground,” this is an existential threat, on one side are those who have willingly and knowingly profited off it for decades, on the other is the rest of the planet.
It’s the most high stakes hostage situation imaginable and frankly Bernie Sanders is the only capable crisis negotiator. When push comes to shove, the true fight is one of profiteers against the planet. And Bernie Sanders is the only candidate who despises said profiteers to the degree necessary to stomach that fight. We’re talking trillions of dollars against all those with a stake in stopping climate change (everyone and everything.) “Everything and the kitchen sink” is probably a gross overstatement of the campaign that will be waged against Bernie if he gets the opportunity to fight that fight.
However, that’s the thing, and here’s the kicker, in the same way Trump’s “trigger the libs” antagonism fires up his base, even in fights where it seems as though he should lose, Bernie’s political brand has a similar appeal. When corporate interests attack Bernie Sanders, for better or for worse, it confirms everything he’s told his supporters. Both that these are relentless blood suckers bent on putting profit above all else and also that his brand of antagonistic politics is the only way to fight back.
Most members of the Democratic Party establishment are so wrapped up in the status quo they can’t actually combat it. They’re also so dependent on the interests therein, they can’t actually combat them. Bernie Sanders has staked his career on being so outside the norm he can’t possibly be wrapped up in the status quo, but also fighting the very interests which relentlessly helped create these systems alongside many Democrats.
This dynamic is at work in all sorts of policy arenas, but obviously in the case of climate change the stakes are the highest. Which is why people need to support a candidate who can actually buck the status quo, which many Democrats can not, because they helped create it.