Capitol Beat

The “Unspeakable Alternatives” Who Could Destroy The Planet

Linda Pentz
Written by Linda Pentz

The deliciously acerbic long-time journalist, Hal Crowther, recently chastised “the indignant pundits who keep flogging Donald Trump,” as if there was no one else in the presidential race, Republican or Democrat.

Waiting in the wings, he warned in a Progressive Populist cover story, is Ted Cruz, “the unspeakable alternative.”  Cruz, he wrote, is “a sneering friendless ideologue of the neo-fascist Far Right whose strategy is to convince millions of simpleminded Christians that he’s closer to God than Donald Trump.”

Crowther was just getting warmed up, but this forthright observation came as he speculated just how deep into Hell the USA hand basket would descend if any of the current crop of “defective and grotesque” Republican candidates is elected president.

Such an apocalypse could be avoided, Crowther said, by tackling three priorities.  He identified the “most urgent” as “the defeat of the NRA gun lobby,” which he put ahead of climate change and an end of the feudalistic misappropriation of wealth by the 1% super-rich.

I’d have to disagree with Crowther’s sequencing (although with little else) because while gun owners certainly take a terrible toll on American lives, climate change will kills tens of millions or more worldwide if not addressed.  It is a many orders of magnitude more serious and more urgent problem.  We just celebrated another Earth Day, but there is more to reason to worry than whoop.

This is why we cannot afford to measure presidential candidates only through the lens of self-interest.

We may never know, in any case, where Trump really stands on LGBT rights because (a) he doesn’t seem to know anything about anything; and (b) even though he has now blurted something about allowing transgender people to use whichever bathroom they want, he could just as easily reverse his position tomorrow.

Cruz is a card-carrying homophobe.  Kasich tried to forge a path down the middle of the political road when he publicly accepted marriage equality while insisting he did not agree with it.

Instead, we must evaluate the damage any of these candidates could do on a global scale as president, and by far the most serious is their likely inaction — or worse still, policy rollbacks — on climate change.

Trump seems to view climate change as some sort of religion.  “I am not a great believer in man-made climate change,” he told the Washington Post editorial board.  Trump has also called to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency.

Cruz is of course a nutter when it comes to anything scientific and claims there has been no global warming for the last 18 years, a notion that is flat out contradicted by actual climate science.  To indulge shamelessly in a cheap shot, Cruz would probably rather ban dildos than greenhouse gas emissions.

Kasich, a drowning man trying desperately to clutch for the rescuing hand of the GOP establishment, is a climate change wolf in sheep’s clothing, just as he is on LGBT rights.  He will concede the reality of climate change, but demur on action.

Maybe all of this will be irrelevant because, come July, we may be forced to scrutinize yet another candidate, the “player to be named later” who will either emerge or be anointed at the Republican National Convention.  And if that turns out to be the serial non-candidate, Paul Ryan, then we will be stuck with yet another dangerous climate denier.

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