Progressive Breakfast for October 15

Morning Message Sam Pizzigati

Confronting Climate Change in a Deeply Unequal World

Humanity has, the scientists tell us, about a dozen years to get our environmental act together. The level of global warming governments once saw as “safe” would, if ever reached, trigger catastrophic dangers. We’re living, they say, in a burning house. Who has time to argue about who gets the biggest rooms? But — in this case — we have to find that time. We’ll never put out the fire, we’ll never forge a sustainable future, until we confront the concentration of our world’s wealth and power. To be a bit more blunt: Either we become a far more equal world or we have no future.

Dems Lead In House Race

Fate of House hangs in balance. Slate: “Democrats are in an increasingly good position to take control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections, according to a CBS News/YouGov poll. If the election were held today, Democrats would win 226 seats, eight more than the 218 needed for a majority. That’s well within the margin of error of the poll, meaning that the race for leadership could still go either way and some are so close that “it wouldn’t take much movement from where things stand now to swing many seats in either direction,” notes CBS News. There is one key thing that will determine how the election will go: turnout. If there is a higher turnout with voters who don’t usually head to the polls, Democrats could win 235 seats. But if the turnout is lower and new voters stay home, Republicans would win 218 seats meaning the GOP would narrowly hold on to the House majority.”

Will You Turn Out To Vote?

If turnout rises, Trump loses. CNN: “Why does enthusiasm matter? Simple, turnout is the key to success in all elections — but that especially holds true in midterms given the traditionally lower turnout than presidential elections. For example, in the 2016 presidential election, the turnout was 55%, while in the 2014 midterms we saw only 36.4% voter turnout. This means, as a practical matter, midterm votes actually could have more impact on results. And it generally follows that the more excited someone is to vote, the more likely they will be to will take time out of their day and cast a ballot. Of course, it’s no guarantee of actual results but when you combine that excitement with a few other findings of the polls, it really could be bad news for those who are fans of the man in the red MAGA hat. The CNN poll also found that margin between voters supporting Democrats and Republicans in a midterm election is at its widest since 2006, with 54% of likely voters supporting Democrats to 41% backing a Republican. So what happened in 2006? Democrats won 30 House seats and six Senate seats. Obviously the country has changed a great deal politically since 2006 in terms of hyperpartisanship, but Democrats just need to win 23 seats to control the House and two to control the Senate.”

GOP Stalls In Trump Country

In Trump country, Republican candidates this year fall flat. WaPo: “It has become increasingly hard for Republicans to remain optimistic about the chances for him and other GOP candidates across the industrial Midwest. A number of Republicans running for governor or senator in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, including several who hitched their wagon to Trump’s political movement, are behind in polls by double digits, a remarkable turnabout in swing states that were key to the president’s 2016 victory. If current polling averages hold, Democrats will maintain all their Senate seats in those states, pick up a handful of House seats and, in some cases, retake the governors’ mansions. In nearby Iowa, a state Trump won by nearly 10 points, the Democratic candidate for governor was running about even with the Republican governor in a Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll. Polling this week found Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wis.) trailing his Democratic opponent, Tony Evers.”

Trump Defends Arms Sales To Saudis

Trump defends $110B US arms sale to Saudi Arabia. The Hill: “President Trump on Saturday, shortly after vowing to hand out a ‘severe punishment’ to Saudi Arabia if it is found to have killed a missing dissident journalist, said he wants to preserve a $110 billion arms deal with the Saudi kingdom. Trump said if the United States pulled out of the deal, Russia and China would rush in to sell their own armaments, potentially costing domestic jobs. Trump called it ‘the largest order ever made’ and said it would support 450,000 jobs domestically. ‘That’s a tremendous order for our companies. It’s a tremendous order, really from an economic development standpoint,’ he said, noting that Texas stands to reap big economic benefits. ‘In terms of the order of $110 billion — think of that, $110 billion — all they’re going to do is give it to other countries and I think that would be very foolish of our country,’ he added.”

Trump Questions “Agenda” Of Climate Scientists

Trump admits climate change isn’t a hoax but suggests ‘it’ll change back’. The Verge: “Trump has been a long-time climate change denier, suggesting that the concept was “created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive.” But, in an interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes last night he backed away slightly from these claims, saying he no longer believes the warming of the planet is a hoax. ‘I’m not denying climate change,’ Trump told interviewer Lesley Stahl. At the same time, though, Trump suggested that climate change might not be caused by humans; that he did not want to take any action that would harm the American economy; and that the warming of the planet by industrial emissions would reverse of its own accord. A recent landmark report on climate change from the United Nations spelled out the dire consequences of the planet’s warming. If emissions continue to rise at their current rate, the planet will warm by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) by 2040, leading to extreme heat waves, reduced rainfall, and frequent coastal flooding. This in turn could lead to waves of climate refugees which might destabilize governments. When Stahl cited scientists who report that extreme weather is getting worse, Trump replied: ‘You’d have to show me the scientists because they have a very big political agenda.'”