Thursday, September 5, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He got scared by Elizabeth Warren.

Yesterday, while Trump was on the fourth day of denying he'd gotten confused about where the state of Alabama was (something he continued to obsess over again today), CNN held a series of interviews with Democratic candidates on the issue of climate change. One of the topics that came up was Trump's plan to roll back energy efficiency standards on light bulbs dating back to the George W. Bush administration. Critics pointed out that this would cost consumers billions of dollars and contribute to a massive amount of avoidable pollution.

Today, the Trump campaign released a video of Sen. Elizabeth Warren talking about the light bulb rollback at the CNN forum. But the video was carefully edited to make Warren's position sound extreme. Trump's campaign did this by stopping right after the part where Warren, laughing, mentioned "lightbulbs" alongside "straws" and "cheeseburgers." This was a reference to a (false) claim that proposed environmental laws will outlaw the beef industry, and to the disposable plastic straws that the Trump campaign is selling for $1.50 apiece.

In reality, Warren said pretty much exactly the opposite. In fact, her whole answer points out that corporations benefiting from climate change—and their political allies, like Trump—are trying to distract Americans with manufactured controversies. (Trump's campaign, of course, cut that part out.)

CUOMO: But do you think that the government should be in the business of telling you what kind of lightbulb you can have? 
WARREN: Oh, come on, give me a break. 
CUOMO: Is that a yes?
Look, there are a lot of ways that we try to change our energy consumption, and our pollution, and God bless all of those ways. Some of it is with lightbulbs, some of it is on straws, some of it, dang, is on cheeseburgers, right? There are a lot of different pieces to this. And I get that people are trying to find the part that they can work on and what can they do. And I’m in favor of that. And I’m going to help and I’m going to support. 
But understand, this is exactly what the fossil fuel industry hopes we’re all talking about. That’s what they want us to talk about.  “This is your problem.” 
They want to be able to stir up a lot of controversy around your lightbulbs, around your straws, and around your cheeseburgers. When 70 percent of the pollution of the carbon that we’re throwing into the air comes from three industries, and we can set our targets and say, by 2028, 2030, and 2035, no more. Think about that. Right there. 
Now, the other 30 percent, we still got to work on. Oh, no, we don’t stop at 70 percent. But the point is, that’s where we need to focus. And why don’t we focus there? It’s corruption. It’s these giant corporations that keep hiring the PR firms that — everybody has fun with it, right, gets it all out there — so we don’t look at who’s still making the big bucks off polluting our Earth.

Trump and his political allies are increasingly worried about Warren, who is doing well in the crowded Democratic field. Trump tried to define her with racial slurs, which his political advisors considered his "best shot" at ending her campaign before it began, but they don't seem to have had much effect. Like all of the top-tier Democratic candidates, Warren is beating Trump handily in recent head-to-head polls.

Why is this a bad thing?

  • If you have to lie about your opponent's policies to make yours look good by comparison, then it's not your opponent that's the problem.
  • The only reason to lie to voters is because you think the truth would make them vote for someone else.