Thursday, October 21

Big oil and gas companies have invested heavily in Trump’s attack on the electoral system | Jonathan Watts | Opinion


CAlmer bosses can still convince Donald Trump to move from capital denial to lowercase concession, but the longer the defeated president flirts with a coup, the more the oil and gas industry must bear some of the blame. .

Fossil fuel companies are among the biggest donors to the defeated US president and Republican party leaders who have backed his legal challenge to overturn the election result.

They also have the most to lose if Joe Biden delivers on his campaign promise to rejoin the Paris climate accord and enact a $ 2 trillion Green New Deal that would make wind, solar, and other clean technologies much cheaper than energy. Petroleum.

Trump’s refusal to budge can be dismissed as a sore loser tantrum. But his support of prominent Republicans resembles a more serious attempt to contain history: in particular, the two intertwined trends, weather and race, that led Biden to victory.

The world is in the midst of an epochal change as great as the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, which led to wider emancipation and condemned many feudal monarchies to the dustbin of history. Today, the old regime is a big carbon, run predominantly by white male elites, that has dominated global politics ever since, largely through funding from political parties, in particular, but by no means exclusively, the American Republicans.

For decades, they were able to do this within a democratic system by offering supporters better standards of living and marginalizing opponents. It was never exclusively a question of universal and inalienable values ​​and rights. The promises of freedom were selectively fulfilled and their primary goal was to maintain the pioneer illusion of an infinitely exploitable landscape. Democracy is fine as long as it serves that purpose.

In recent years, that restricted form of democracy has been difficult to maintain. Millions of livelihoods have been threatened or ruined by the climate crisis. Demographic changes have changed the electoral map. Minorities have become a powerful force. It is no coincidence that they tend to be among the hardest hit by air pollution and extreme weather.

Climate campaigns are increasingly intertwined with social justice movements. The more they join, the more powerful they become. This is the alliance that led Biden to victory. Going forward, it is likely to strengthen as demographic trends advance and dependence on fossil fuels declines. This may be the reason why some Republicans are so scared that they are playing rejecting democracy outright.

Lindsey Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee who was re-elected as a senator from South Carolina, has made no secret of why he believes Trump’s defiance is an existential political problem for his party.

“If Republicans don’t challenge and change America’s electoral system, another Republican president will never be elected,” he said. Fox News. In a later interview, he clarified this. “If we don’t do something about voting by mail, we will lose the ability to elect a Republican in this country.”

Of course, it is not the postal ballots that you fear, but who is doing it and why. The massive increase in mail-in votes driven by Covid has likely helped give the right to vote to many black and indigenous people who were previously excluded by voter suppression tactics. This, and the dynamism of black activists like Stacey Abrams, appears to have been instrumental in the Democratic victory in Georgia and could still end long Republican control of the Senate, depending on the outcome of a runoff in January.

Trump’s presidency was made possible by the rise of a far-right wing in the Republican party characterized by messages of white supremacy and fossil fuel funding. Oil and gas companies, led by Energy Transfer Equity, Koch Industries and Chevron, give about 80% of their political donations to Republican and Conservative candidates. The largest beneficiary by far is Donald Trump, who received directly more than $ 2 million of this sector in the last year, not including money channeled through secret political action committees. At the top of the list are other supporters of his attempt to overturn the ballot box in the courtroom, such as Mitch McConnell, with $ 490,000, and Graham, with $ 143,000.

The image is by no means clear. Some Republicans see the writing on the wall and want to modernize their party by embracing the energy transition and attracting more black and Latino voters. Many Democrats are wary of abandoning coal and oil, which propelled the American economy to world domination in the 20th century. Biden’s campaign received $ 1 million from oil and gas companies – less than half the donation to Trump, but it is still a clear indication that the industry believes it can work with him as it did with Obama.

Yet the climate is a more pressing issue today, especially among young Democrats. During the campaign, Joe Biden said his long-term goal was “the transition of the oil industry.” Whether you have the opportunity to do so will depend on who controls the Senate and how disruptive the Supreme Court is.

First, however, is the little matter of the sulking president. Trump’s reluctance to accept that he will leave the White House in January is undoubtedly the cry of a fragile ego for fear of what could follow: ignominy, debt and perhaps prosecution. But it is not just a matter of humor. As someone who evidently views the world in purely transactional terms, Trump may believe that the stakes are higher than the value of the system itself. Among his oil-funded allies, he is not alone in this. To assume that American democracy will prevail regardless would be an act of arrogance and reckless complacency. It must be defended, and for this it is necessary to consider how the climate crisis is distorting, amplifying and reinventing politics.

Jonathan Watts is The Guardian Global Environment Editor


www.theguardian.com

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