The presidential election season is upon us.
Although it has often been said in the past, this time around, the argument could truly be made that this a pivotal election.
Yet in order to make that claim more real, the democratic opposition must have the courage that well argued reason and clear vision can provide.
If the democrats settle for corporate business as usual they will most surely fail.
The power of “retrotopia” is arguably too great to be defeated precisely because it does offer a powerful vision of going forward by going backward.
In order to effectively counter the nostalgia politics of Trump, much more than electoral platitudes and fresh faces will be needed by the democrats.
For once, the opposition should have the courage to make the arguments that count: climate change, income inequality, and high tech manufacturing and infrastructure can be beautifully interlinked in a powerful Green vision of change.
The democrats must not be afraid to present a sweeping challenge to retrograde politics. They must take the time and muster the political courage to explain to the American people why climate change is real and must be countered now and not tomorrow and why a holistic vision of government partnership with private industry is not “socialist” but “progressive” and has been effective before in times of acute crisis as well as national mission.
The New Deal, the Manhattan project, the Apollo Missions, the Cold War are all examples of what American government can accomplish with the will of its people behind it.
Admittedly, many are still skeptical concerning climate change and the imminent economic, environmental, and political dangers it presents. It is up to the democrats to make the case that waiting any longer is existentially risky and that a real national emergency is upon us. One that calls not for walls, but for workers of all kinds to be trained, mobilized, and paid justifiably high wages for their newly acquired technical skills.
Thus, a New Green Deal should be the rallying call of the opposition. It should be an inclusive vision which makes the case not only for the transformation of the energy and infrastructure grid of this nation, but also as a bid for a renaissance in highly skilled, highly paid manufacturing jobs in cutting edge technology. Enough of the myth of the service economy. A strong manufacturing base is a necessary prerequisite for long term wage growth and the consequent spread and deepening of prosperity.
Government alone will not and should not shoulder the responsibility of this historic transformation. As always, appropriate coordination with key business interests will be necessary and useful.
Of course, the Trumpian line of attack will be to paint all of this is in alarming shades of deep red: socialist. However, the democrats can and should counter that there is nothing necessarily “socialist” in keeping to the “social” in the social contract between government and citizen, the first duty of which has been the long term security of its citizens and secondarily the promulgation of material prosperity and communal well being.
The New Green Deal is still rough around the edges. Technology, business, manufacturing, infrastructure, and new types of organizational structures and incentives should all, eventually, be in the mix. Yet, it will be up to at least one of the Democratic contenders to proudly and powerfully stand up and take the courageous step to explain to his or her audience why he or she sees the immediate needs of the future clearly and is therefore proud to be called a Green New Dealer.