T2B33: Cliden 6

The History of the GND


Trump isn’t a strategic thinker, but he knows how to look out for himself. What’s in it for him to continue saying the election was stolen?

  1. It’s a get out of jail free card. Literally, as in the threat of widespread violence might keep the feds away.

  2. It’s free advertising for whatever he’s about to do next: new TV channel, Make Mar-a-lago great again etc.

  3. It’s solidifying the Republican party in his image and only in his image.

I want to focus on 3. Trump has gone after any Republican who dare oppose him, including the governors of Georgia and Arizona. Republicans getting elected today are far more likely to swear an oath of loyalty to Trump than the old timers. Those who don’t support him are getting primaried and losing elections.

In other words, the Republican party has a feedback loop that makes it Trump’s personal fiefdom by the day. Think about it this way: down ticket Republicans did better than Trump in the recently concluded elections but that’s because they get all of Trump’s vote plus the votes of Republicans and independents who won’t vote for Trump. If they challenge T-rex, they will lose the Trump core (at least 50% of the Republican party) and Democrats are increasingly unlikely to vote Republican. Trump is good for Republicans as long as they sing the master’s tune.

More here: Trump is winning.

The History of the GND

Who would have thought that Tom Friedman would have written about the GND before AOC made it popular - not in 2018 or even 2008, but in 2007 while Dubya was still promoting compassionate conservatism.

The thing is that the GND is - in many ways - a perfect neoliberal policy proposal, combining market mechanisms with shifts in tax laws, carbon markets etc etc. The capitalist system isn’t wedded to any particular energy regime - a solar surplus works as well as a gas surplus. But that ideal capitalist system doesn’t exist - fossil energy companies and their downstream successors such as plastics industries have captured half the political system and are trying their best to deny what might appear to be a ‘natural’ transition to forms of energy that are cheaper, cleaner,healthier.

The fossil economy also comes with a fossil psychology; the images of freedom and mobility that car ads propagate are alive and well in the renewable era with Tesla on the way to becoming the dominant car company in the US. What’s left unsaid is that a world where all of us drive Teslas is as unsustainable as a world in which all of us drive Hummers. These are all challenges to an organizational approach to the climate crisis. But the GND is not just about Teslas and jobs building them:

  1. Far greater emphasis on jobs and justice and of reducing the impact of climate change on frontline communities.

  2. Emphasis on the centrality of the state in making the GND happen.

  3. Much greater political support, going from the periphery of the Democratic party to its very center and of course the energy of the Sunrise movement and other climate grassroots organizations.

I will cover all three points in future Cliden updates, but let’s stick with Tom for the rest of this essay. Friedman is still thinking in red-blooded capitalist terms:

I don’t agree with this formulation, but it makes me think that Biden could sell the GND (without calling it so if needed) as precisely the “geostrategic, capitalistic, economical, innovative and patriotic” to Make America Great Again the Democratic Way.

This is the GND as the lynchpin of the capitalist system rather than a return to socialism. Let’s note that Friedman was the first journalist to get an interview with Biden after he became President-elect so the Friedman way of thinking might find an appreciative audience.

How might Biden pull that off? What organizational competence does he need to make it happen?