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Jan. 9th, 2008 @ 12:17 am Why McCain must win the Republican nomination
No, I'm not suggesting any US reader goes out and registers as republican, not that I could find myself recommending any of the two main parties. I believe it to be very important though that John McCain wins the republican nomination.

In recent years in all countries the greatest effects have been shifting the centre pole of the debate. Often this has been to the right economically, Germany's centre-left SPD adopting privatising agendas, and in the UK Labour selling off sections of the National Health Service, although the Tories adopting more liberal social stances is an example that it can work both ways too.

In the US the Republican Party have done this incredibly well (from their perspective), and now many Democrat candidates follow a more right-wing line on many issues than in the past.

Climate change has not really raised its head so far in the US election, a survey of of talk shows counted 2,275 questions asked of presidential candidates over the past year and found that just three mentioned global warming. Iraq, immigration and health care seem to be taking a much more central role. However, later in the year this may well change, and if it does, that centre pole is really going to matter.

In the past climate change has been an issue to avoid; it didn't have a huge number of people who knew much or supported the issue strongly, and a candidate supported action was a huge target for attack. Now it's much further up the agenda and can only go up. Who the republican candidate is will determine the manner of the discussion.

If it's any candidate but McCain it will follow the typical "hurting US jobs", "disputed", "EU conspiracy theory" (take your pick) route it always has. If McCain gets the nomination, suddenly it's no longer about all the questions that were actually answered 10 to 20 years ago, now it's about the best way to tackle it. That we should have real significant emission reductions will not feature in the debate; it will be an accepted viewpoint to start from (unlike even at Bali). This would be a great leap forward as all the media will have to follow along with this. It could start the re-definition of climate change as an issue in the US mainstream.

As none of the main Democrat candidates have a fantastic record on the subject (cap and trade is good, but 15% by 2020 is crap, even if they don't sell out), I believe that the result of the Republican nomination is far more important.

So, fingers crossed for McCain right now.

(UPDATE: I did actually post this yesterday before the result but ended up posting it to the wrong place. Glad to hear the New Hampshire result though.)
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climatechange:
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From:ig1234
Date:January 9th, 2008 10:01 pm (UTC)
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BUT do you think that if McCain takes the Republican nomination, there is a chance that this will push whoever takes the Democratic place into doing more on the subject? Or do you still think McCain is the only one?
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From:climatechange
Date:January 10th, 2008 12:04 am (UTC)
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I'm not suggesting that McCain is better than a Democrat on the issue (although he has a longer standing record), and I don't believe in single issue voting anyway. As tackling climate change effectively requires such significant changes to the economic system that all are pledged to support (continual economic growth) not to mention going against the interest of their campaign funders, I don't see any candidate doing much in terms of major cuts. We probably are better off with a Democrat than McCain, as the support base is there on the issue in the Democratic party thanks to Gore, where it isn't in the Republican party.

The difference comes as the wrecker leaves the room, so it's not that the Democrat nominee will be pushed into doing more, it's that he won't have to avoid the issue. It'd be the first presidential election where the two candidates actually discuss the issue seriously like adults as a serious problem instead of in a "oh he's going to take our toys away" attitude. It's bigger than the candidates, it needs a nationwide conscious change. What it does mean is that things will stop moving backwards, whatever the outcome.

I hope that answers your question!
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From:ig1234
Date:January 10th, 2008 12:28 am (UTC)
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Good points. I think I misleadingly read it as you were extolling that McCain should win the vote for PRESIDENT rather than the Republican nomination (even though this was the exact title of the post... I'm ill, sue me).

I agree entirely though. The most serious Republicans are probably not that stuck in the 'denial' camp any more, but I'm sure many of their supporters are, and even if you aren't, it doesn't mean anything if you don't bring up the issue. So yeh, if McCain is to put it forward for the Republicans, then there is no reason why the Democrats will avoid it, because I doubt they'd bring it up as a leading issue to get support... which is what you're saying... so yeh, I agree!

Are you American, by the way?
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 11th, 2008 12:52 am (UTC)
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I enjoyed your view on this matter but i think for this election our country would be better off with a democratic president. I'm in an environmental class and we discuss a lot about global warming and the candidates view on it and if i remember correctly some of the democratic candidates seem to have a better handle on the matter and want to make a bigger change then McCain. I think the U.S. should try to help out with the global warming issue but americans are just to lazy. Even if global warming turns out to be a big hoax, theres nothing wrong with helping out the environment.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 11th, 2008 12:53 am (UTC)
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I enjoyed your view on this matter but i think for this election our country would be better off with a democratic president. I'm in an environmental class and we discuss a lot about global warming and the candidates view on it and if i remember correctly some of the democratic candidates seem to have a better handle on the matter and want to make a bigger change then McCain. I think the U.S. should try to help out with the global warming issue but americans are just to lazy. Even if global warming turns out to be a big hoax, theres nothing wrong with helping out the environment.

CLD