I knew Trump intended to screw over tree huggers and other liberals when during his speech announcing American abdication of its responsibility to reduce fossil fuel consumption he mentioned “draconian” as if the scriptwriters learned the word from the Reader’s Digest feature “It Pays to Enrich Your Word Power”; I knew he was trolling libs when he insinuated that effeminate snobs in Paris were going to tell Pittsburgh residents not to use briquettes for Sunday cookouts. Michael Grunewald:
The entire debate over Paris has twisted Republicans in knots. They used to argue against climate action in the U.S. by pointing out that it wouldn’t bind China and other developing-world emitters; then they argued that Paris wouldn’t really bind the developing world, either, but somehow would bind the United States. In fact, China is doing its part, dramatically winding down a coal boom that could have doomed the planet, frenetically investing in zero-carbon energy. And it will probably continue to do its part even though the president of the United States is volunteering for the role of climate pariah…California just set a target of 100 percent renewable energy by 2045, and many U.S. cities and corporations have set even more ambitious goals for shrinking their carbon footprints. Trump can’t do much about that, either.
This is what matters:
What Trump can do is remind his supporters—and everyone else on the planet—which side he’s on, and, more to the point, which side he’s fighting. He’s taking a shirts-and-skins stand against liberals, against goo-goos, against condescending scolds in Birkenstocks who don’t like Styrofoam or hulking SUVs or real Americans, against naïve globalists who want the U.S. to suck up to the French and the Chinese and the United Nations. Climate change will affect the entire earth, from drought-ravaged farm villages in Africa to floodprone condo towers in Miami, but for Trump it’s just a symbol of the stuff that people who don’t like Trump care about. Paris is just an Obama legacy that he can kill, when he doesn’t have the votes to kill Obama’s health reforms or Wall Street regulations or tax hikes on the wealthy. Whatever damage Trump’s climate policies cause to the planet will be collateral damage, shrapnel from his political war on elites and the left and Obama.
I wrote about this phenomenon yesterday. I accept that so long as the Democratic Party relies on the altruism of venture capitalists and suburban upper middle class voters it’s fucked in the long term or, in an example of history reversing itself, transforms into a coalition of comfortable technocratic liberals cool with capitalism but with social consciences, like the Republican Party before 1920. But only the Democratic Party wants healthy Americans in the physiological and holistic senses of the adjective, even if it’s a result of concluding that a healthy capitalist is a happy capitalist. Ask me on Sunday if I’ve made my peace with this sobering conclusion.