More from the front lines of the Battleground states

A quick follow-up to yesterday’s Battleground analysis — please ignore our smug expression:

The New York Times this morning published its confirmation of our reasoning regarding Trump’s thin chances in November. The Times also acknowledged that Georgia and Arizona are especially vulnerable this year, thanks in no small part to Trump’s racist and anti-Hispanic jibes. That’s important: even should Trump miraculously win Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida, he’d go down to defeat if the Dems flipped either Arizona or Georgia.

But Trump is not going to win all four of those vote-rich traditional swing states. He’s behind in all four as I write, and his insistence on re-running his Primary campaign shows no ability to attract voters other than the disgruntled whites who already support him.

The Times also reminded us of Trump’s lack of a ground game, and his campaign budget shortfall. We have three months of door-to-door, hand-to-hand campaigning in these four of the five traditional most hotly contested states. (As noted in our post yesterday, Virginia has been all but conceded to Clinton by the Trump campaign.)

The Clinton campaign ground game is extremely well funded and well organized, with thousands of experienced staff and volunteers in each of the states at issue. This core of supporters won all four of these states for Obama in 2008, and all but North Carolina in 2012. They have the edge again in North Carfolina this year, thanks to the stupidity of the right-wing state officials, coupled with a growing Black base. Trump’s deep unpopularity with the large number of educated whites and other professionals makes his challenge even tougher.

A side note on the missing Trump bump:

If you blinked last week, you missed it, because it’s already over. He managed to get even with Clinton early in the week, but by today, Sunday, the accumulating momentum of the marvelously produced Dem convention, with its panoply of lucid, sincere, patriotic speakers, has crushed his little pimple. The three best polling sites for a “snapshot” or “who’s on top now?” view all have Clinton on top again, by as many as six points. Nate Silver’s 538.com “Now” projection shows Clinton’s national lead today at thirteen-plus! This, before Clinton’s post-convention bounce has even had a chance to show it’s strength, relative to Trump’s.

OK, OK. We know that the convention bounces are transitory, so let’s not make too much of them. We also know that the gloomy Republican convention was shoved even more deeply into the shadows by the stunning, warm, optimistic Democratic show. But a few weeks from now, people will be talking about Rio, and will have forgotten the contrast between would-be Dictator Donald, and Hillary, President Obama, Joe the Scranton guy (!), Michelle (!!), Bill, Chelsea, and Khizr Kahn, the father of Captain Humayan Khan.

So, yes, we need to be realistic about the limited value of polls this far out from October. But we should also remind ourselves that this election is unique in recent American history. A big challenge for Clinton was and is to persuade a doubting electorate that she deserves their trust. The performance of her party in Philadelphia was a huge step forward toward this key objective. The male pundits tend not to place much stock in such emotional gains, but the women take them to heart, I predict, and will quietly add the scenes over the last two weeks to the long list of Trump insults, adolescent anger, and outbursts of sheer stupidity we’ve all witnessed for a year.

And none of us who saw Mr. Kahn’s heartfelt speech, with its direct challenge to Trump’s very humanity, will forget it. This humble, grieving couple managed to distill the choice between a con artist and a dedicated leader more clearly than any ten hours of TV ads and pretty video biographies ever could do.

The Truthteller Battleground Map – 7/30/2016

Both conventions have ended, and we can finally begin seriously tracking the likely state-by-state electoral results we expect to see come November 8th.

Below is our up-to-date electoral map, showing each state’s winner-take-all Electoral College votes. You’ll see we’ve used color coding to show which states are solidly or safely secure for each main candidate, and the states or Congressional Districts that are “in play”, meaning potentially winnable by either main candidate.

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Map note — Base map courtesy 270towin.com.  Use this site to try out your own electoral combinations and share them with your friends. Access your Truthteller’s map (minus our totals section) at Truthteller’s map. You can modify any state result you wish in our map to see how it changes. Enjoy!

The totals section

Unlike the map graphics in the big name election forecasting sites, we’ve provided summary-level estimates for each of the seven color-coded state categories. We’ve also shown the current consensus estimate among the top quality forecasting sites, and contrasted their estimates with our own.

Our strikingly different take on the so-called “swing” or “Battleground” states

This 2016 election cycle is highly unusual when compared to previous presidential year contests. Our proprietary Delphic Election Forecasting (DEF) methodology adds five normally “red” states to the battleground, based on continuing long-term demographic trends and the particulars of the 2016 race. We also break out the second Congressional District of Maine, whose single electoral vote is counted (by state law) separately from Maine’s other three votes. Why trouble over a single vote? Because, in a tight contest, this single, swing-y vote can become a tie-breaker, or a tie-maker. (Nebraska’s similarly counted two votes in the greater Omaha area are not broken out in our table, since they appear to be reliably Republican this year.) An Electoral College tie of 269 to 269 votes would throw the election into the House of Representatives, where Paul Ryan would swallow hard, then award the Presidency to Trump.

So much for our additions to the list of battleground states and districts. Next, we exclude the conventionally defined swing states of Wisconsin, Virginia, and Colorado, all of which appear to be safely in the Clinton column for 2016.

This leaves us with a total of twelve battleground states plus the Maine 2nd District. It means we’re focusing our analysis in states the national media folks don’t even mention. This is leading us to several novel hypotheses and observations. For example, our DEF method indicates that, thanks to the destructive Trump candidacy, the Republicans could be in serious trouble in five formerly “safe” red states. Of these, Georgia, with its 16 votes, is a potential deal-breaker for Trumpsters. Even more important, should Georgia fall to the Dems, there is a strong probability that Mississippi and, yes, South Carolina, would fall as well: the underlying voting dynamics of all three states are essentially similar.

Some interesting results so far

Notice that even if Trump won all the 34 votes of the only two true toss-up states (plus the Maine 2nd District) he’d be at 225 votes, still far short of the 270 needed to win.

That’s discouraging for those supporting the Orange Mega Screw-up candidate, but with the map and summary tables, it’s easy to see that his situation is actually much more desperate. Let’s suppose he was able to take Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes out of the Clinton column. He’d still be losing, with 245 votes to her total of 293!

Trump wins Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and the legendary Ohio, and still loses the election!

Whaaa?

The answer is of course Florida, with its 29 votes. Those votes would get Trump to 274 votes, allowing him to barely eak out a win. Not a major revelation, your Truthteller readily concedes, since most of the TV and print election commentators will tell you that Trump simply must win Florida to have a winning chance. But none (that we’re aware of) will add that even if he can manage to win in Florida, he must also win all the other major “Battleground” states: Ohio, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. That is extremely unlikely, given what we’re seeing in those states.

OK, then, so what if he lost Florida (as current polling shows is most likely). Couldn’t he make up his 25 vote shortfall by picking off more of the “leaning Clinton” states?

The short answer is “Not likely.” He’d need New Hampshire, Iowa, and Nevada, plus Colorado, to give him 25 votes exactly, and reach the magic 270. His chances of taking all four of those states are probably less than five percent. To make the challenge even harder, Colorado is well on the way to becoming reliably blue. (Readers should note again that,along with Colorado, former swing states Virginia and Wisconsin are this year safely in Clinton’s column.)

Looks tough for the Republicans, as you can see. But, looking back at our newly redefined list of 2016 battleground states, if the Dems manage to flip Arizona, with its eleven votes, the Trump cause becomes hopeless. Crazy? Perhaps in past cycles, but this year Arizona is definitely in play, thanks to a weak McCain trying to distance himself from Trump, Trump’s odious anti-Hispanic slurs, strong Latino registrations, and Tim Kaine’s total likability, public service in Honduras, and fluent Spanish. All this even before the Dems reached out so effectively to white Republican women and suburbanites in their Convention. Think rich Phoenix; think Tucson.

We’re seeing the formation of a new, blue, Latino bloc anchored by New Mexico, and adding Nevada, Colorado, and Arizona, with the last three adding up to twenty-six votes for Clinton.

This is only one of the several interesting sets of electoral vote combinations we might see as the candidates fight their way to the November showdown. Another is a deep South potentially trending blue this year, and, very likely in years to come–this would require the redrawing of the strategic map of every professional national campaign consultant in the country.

More to come

The end of the conventions frenzy means that we’ll soon be able to see which campaign gained the most benefit over the other in the past two weeks. But polling results for post-election “bumps” are famously unreliable, so we’ll need to wait until roughly mid-August to have sufficient polling to begin making serious poll-based projections. This is especially true on the state-by-state level, where polling has so far been sparse.

Our DEF method does not rely on polling data, which is why we were able to project 347 electoral votes come November for Clinton in mid-June.

But we respect the polls-based work of, especially, Dr. Wang (of Princeton), Nate Silver of the 538.com site, the Upshot team at the New York Times, and the Reuters/IPSOS operation. From mid-August on, we’ll be daily comparing our evolving DEF decision array to all these polling experts. It’s not some sort of silly contest: we’ll be trying to sniff out the hidden situations in the key states where the polls may not be telling us the full story.

We use the polls, but we are mindful of the potentially hugely significant hidden trends that polls simply cannot “see”. The likely turnout of African-American voters in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Mississippi is an example of a potentially winning tide for Clinton. The emergence of the new Hispanic bloc described above is another new twist in our traditional view of the American electorate. And no poll is going to inform us in advance of the potential “silent rebellion” in Republican and many conservative-leaning Democrat households, as white wives and Moms show their utter contempt for Trump and his spineless Republican puppets by going into ballot boxes throughout the battleground states, smile, and vote to cancel out the Trump vote of their blustering, bullying, or just plain thoughtless husbands.

We’ll modify our electoral vote projection map as warranted over the coming three months. In coming posts, We’ll also answer your questions about the campaigns, and our DEF analytical approach.

A Comedy of Terrors — Part Two

Everybody, all together now, repeat after Donald Trump and his clownvention shills:

“Be afraid! Be very afraid! Be like you never knew how much afraid you can be. Something is verrry wrong here. And our government doesn’t even know what it is! Can you believe that? Or, maybe they do know what it is. And aren’t saying. Because if they said it, Obama’s attempt to stick us with a lyin’, crooked Hillary puppet would come crashing down, just like all their other stupid schemes. They’d rather have a dead country than reveal everything they’re hiding in their dead administration. We have to stop them! We have to find out the truth! If you love our country, the only way to find out what’s wrong is to vote for me! That’s ME, with a capital ME, and it rhymes with T, which stands for Trump, which is a warning of the TERRORS that we’ll face without a really strong man as our Commander-in-Chief. A man, folks. Like me! With big hands. Not a lyin’, crooked old woman who oughtta be locked up.”

OK, OK, dear readers, I apologize but I couldn’t resist. If the above is absurd, that’s because the Donald is absurd. He wants us quaking in our flip flops so he can persuade us he’s the man for a job that, buckle up, gals and guys, may not need doing.

Huh?

Yeah, you read me right: notwithstanding all the panic talk shouted at us by the Trumpeters these past few days, the country is actually in pretty good shape.

Consider the economy that is slowly but steadily recovering from the Republican financial meltdown of 2008. President Obama gets full credit for saving our country (along with the global financial system) from a devastating recession or worse. The President could have achieved a great deal more if the Republican-controlled Congress had chosen to do their job instead of plotting and scheming to stifle Obama’s agenda. For example, they could have helped the Administration ramp up clean technologies, instead of spending the past three years trying to ensure Senator Clinton will not win the present election.

Oh, and for those in the One Percent, a little reminder: the stock market is trading at historically high levels. When Trump and his Republican parrots squawk that Hillary means four more years of President Obama, you can project another solid growth period in your assets, and thus know all you need to know.

Meaning the last thing we need now is to put a big orange-topped wannabe dictator into the White House, so he can cut the taxes on the super-rich and expand the military budget and start the same old Republican trickle-down scam all over again.

So there is no reason to fear for our growing economic health. In fact, the eight Obama years, including four with the highly competent assistance of Secretary Clinton, have brought the country back, and provided a foundation for continuing growth and progress on social and economic justice.

As to being afraid of ISIL, and Donald’s adolescent claim he knows more about defeating them than our Generals do, we should remember that when Hillary Clinton left her hugely successful tenure as Secretary of State, ISIL didn’t even exist as an organized threat.

The truth is that the rise of ISIL occurred rapidly on the edges of Iraq and Syria, as ex-Sunni insurgents and de-commissioned Iraqi Army officers took advantage of the parallel deteriorating political and security situations in Iraq and Syria. In a very short time they had managed to grab control of oil-rich territory and the key Syrian city of Raqqa. The U.S. government was as surprised by ISIL’s early success as everyone else in the region.

And Hillary Clinton had absolutely nothing to do with it. Nada. Zip.

Those who childishly need someone to blame in our government will have to be satisfied with pointing fingers at the CIA and Defense folks. But a more rational observation is to note that Clinton had advocated more aggressive support of the Syrian rebel forces while she was in office. There’s at least some chance that had she been on deck in 2013-14, we might have made moves to stymie the explosive growth of the ISIL cancer.

In the past three years, the Obama administration has pursued a mostly effective strategy of first, containing the main center of ISIL’s control, in Northwestern Iraq and Northeastern Syria, then following up with cutting off the pirated oil revenues used to fund ISIL’s operations, and, in the last 24 months, used our drones and air strikes along with Special Ops teams to kill many of the top-level ISIL commanders. This, while continuing the same strategy to contain the remnants of Al Qaeda. Defeating these sources of Islamic terrorism takes patience, not promises.

Trump and his bomb threats and unbelievable ignorance of Middle Eastern affairs would set this growing record of success back, not move us forward.

With Trump’s callous attempts to fan the flames of jingoistic hatred and fear of immigrants, here, too, he’s nothing but an opportunistic demagogue. Obama has also brought undocumented immigration down to its lowest level in nearly three decades. He didn’t need a wall, just hard work and common-sense policies.

As far as the refugees trying to escape the violence of religious war in the Middle East are concerned, under Obama the process of vetting immigrants has become even more rigorous than under the Bush administration.

But what about the threat of more mass ISIL-inspired shootings and bombings in our own backyard? We must openly acknowledge that there will be more such attacks, in spite of the best efforts by our security people, working in close cooperation with their counterparts in other countries. Let’s not be evasive: we’re in a long term struggle with a large minority of Muslim believers scattered across Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. These jihadists believe that killing non-believers is not only permitted under their code, but demanded by their seventh century version of God.

This deep-seated hatred isn’t aimed at Americans so much as the values we share with other “Western” countries. Fundamentalist Muslims are threatened by our adherence to personal freedom, free speech, democratic rule, the equal rights of girls and women, and an open society. This hatred won’t go away, and it won’t dissipate unless and until reform-minded Muslims and Mullahs manage to get control of their communities. We need to confront this animosity with intelligence, with understanding of history and culture, with substantial security budgets, and with patience: the struggle within the global Muslim culture will likely take an hundred years and more to exhaust itself. During those decades, a large number of non-Muslims will be slaughtered by the Islamic fanatics, but far more victims will no doubt be their Muslim “brothers”, killed for simply opposing the dictates of the religious dictators who want to live in the eighth century rather than the 21st.

Figuring out how to contain this jihadist anger and gradually defeat it at its source will take a sustained effort by a non-UN authorized alliance of determined westernized countries. Trump can do nothing to speed up this process; the only likely effects of a Trump presidency would be be to undermine this vital cooperative defensive campaign.

In the meantime, we need to cope with domestic terrorist threats more effectively. The first step is to face the fact that the recent so-called “terrorist” mass shootings were actually hateful gun crimes by home-grown hate-driven perpetrators, not fiendish plots by American-hating jihadists pulling puppet-like strings away off in an underground bunker in Syria.

Donald dwells on the fear of the inevitable coming spate of attacks, while failing to offer even one practical, implementable policy to prevent them and deal with the ones we fail to stop.

His new Republican pals agree with him: say anything, do anything, promise anything, but at all cost never say the truth. The mass attacks we have faced have all been gun crimes, or would have been, had the Republican-controlled Congress had the courage to enact the same kind of tough, fair gun regulations every other advanced country employs.

Rather than putting Trump and the McConnell/Ryan/Priebus gang in charge next January, it would be far more effective to elect a progressive Democratic Senate and House of Representatives to support Clinton in her determination to stop gun violence. We can only deal effectively with terrorism if we start at home, by breaking the NRA stranglehold on our government.

A Comedy of Terrors — Part One

The less said about the first day of the Republican Party marriage ceremony to Donald Trump, the better, for both parties to the deal.

We’ll have much more to say in a follow-up post about the Trump Campaign of Fear and Loathing, and the scary speeches of the first and second evenings. But the first day featured three extraordinary events that demand our immediate attention.

The first occurred when, soon after the doors to the convention center opened, Trump’s most senior guy, Paul Manaflirt, attacked John Kasich. the governor of Ohio, for failing to show up in Cleveland to welcome the Trump circus. This, after Kasich had repeatedly made clear that he has no intention of supporting Trump’s candidacy. What makes Manafart’s tirade extraordinary is his dumb decision to attack the extremely popular governor on his home turf. Ohio is still rated a toss-up state by most pundits and pollsters, so one would expect the Trumpeters to try and patch up their differences with Kasich. Instead their campaign boss goes out of his way to step on Kasich, and the toes of the politically savvy Ohio Republicans, the very folks who Trump will need to carry the state in November. I can hear the state tipping to Senator Clinton even now…

After Mr. Manaflub’s attack on the Ohio governor, the second event unfolded. It concerned a mid-afternoon attempt by non-Trump delegations in several states, who’d sought to bring an issue to the convention floor. When stymied by the Trump/Preibus Chair flunky, the delegates made a perfectly legitimate request for a role-call vote. After a voice vote imposed on the body from the rostrum, the Chair simply used the ancient tactic of announcing that, in his judgment, the “Ayes” had it. No role call would be permitted, in short, prompting delegates opposed to Trump from Colorado and several other states to walk out of the hall.

Hey, it’s a political convention, right? The Chair steam-rolled the “minority”. Happens all the time in these uniquely American political conventions. So, no big thing, just a rather mild example of a floor-fight amongst opposing delegates. What made the dust-up extraordinary is that Mr. Manafort surely had anticipated this protest on the part of the “Never Trump” faction, yet had made no move to deal with the mini-rebellion in a less arrogant manner.

These conventions are supposed to showcase each party’s well-oiled campaign machine, appealing agenda, positive focus, and unified national party team. Instead, this opening skirmish demonstrated that, once again, the Trump campaign is run and staffed by amateurs who are long on offensive declarations and short on preparation. It comes after the previous week, when its platform committee issued perhaps the most backward-facing, divisive, party platform in 40 years. It revealed to all that unification remains the most important challenge to the mis-managed Trump campaign, since the 60% of Republican and Independent primary voters who opposed Trump’s candidacy through the winter and spring are still not planning to vote for the ticket in November.

All this confusion and consternation would have been soon forgotten had the evening program of shouted Hillary hating drowned out the grumblers who’d been betrayed by the Republican National Committee that afternoon. And then would come the evening’s piece de resistance, the first national speech by Mrs. Mega-rich, the oh-so stylish and pleasant Melania Trump.

But it was not to be. The entire first day of shouting and fear-mongering was brought into sharp focus when Melania delivered a speech where the most moving and elegant phrases had been lifted almost word-for word from Mrs. Obama’s speech in 2008 in support of Barack!

The Trump campaign was utterly gob-smacked overnight and all through the second day, as, initially, Manafortress denied any such plagiarism, and decried the media for being so nasty to even suggest it. Finally, Wednesday mid-day, the third day of the Trump four day clownfest, the confession came, and a junior amateur speech writer fell on her sword. True justice would have called for Manafumble to apologize to poor Melania, the Party, and the country, then be fired by Donald–but we’d be foolish to expect Trump to do an honorable thing.

This third Monday incident was a reminder to all of us, as if we needed another one, just how callous and incompetent the Trump campaign and its leaders are. As will be discussed in a later post, they had planned a four-day marathon of hate, fear, and mistrust, all focused on Clinton and her supposed puppet-masters, Barack and Bill. Instead it has proved to expose the heartless. mindless, thoughtless nature of Trump, his minions, and his new Republican followers.

Before being gulled by the endlessly repeated Trump message of threats and a failed America, one might wish to question going forward how much Trump and his bumbling scheme team can be trusted, and if they are not to be feared far more than the woman who many have declared the most qualified person ever to run for President of the United States.

Your Truthteller wants to know…about deportation

Greetings, Mr. Trump. Here’s another question the press and TV folks haven’t gotten around to asking you yet. Actually it’s a bundle of questions, each focused on your promise to make America great again by deporting illegal immigrants.

If elected, when will mass deportations begin? By April 1, 2017? Later? How much later? What will be the number of deportations in the first year of your presidency? Will all undocumented persons be deported by the end of your first term?

Please include answers to these follow-up questions. Will children born in the U.S. (and therefore being citizens) be deported with their parent or parents? Suppose the home country of the deportee(s) refuses to accept their children? Will your administration have some solution for abandoned children in place before the mass deportations begin? What about the homes and businesses owned by the deportees? Will Trump Properties assume ownership?

Please submit your answers to the above questions before the end of August, 2016.

PS: We still haven’t received your answer to our earlier question of June 27th, regarding the SCOTUS decision throwing out the Texas attempt to close down women’s health care clinics. We realize you have a new issue with one of the Supremes, but that should not prevent you from giving us the simple “yes” or “no” we requested.

 

The Ten Basic Truths About Climate Change

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Burn Baby, burn!

Donald Trump wants to tear up the Paris Climate accord; Hillary Clinton wants to implement it

Trump has no knowledge of climate realities, accepting in the absence of understanding the rabid ravings of a few energy industry-sponsored “deniers”, namely that global warming is a hoax. Clinton has done her homework and understands the conclusions of the overwhelming majority of expert in climate science, namely that global warming is real, is happening much faster than any previous such warming in the planet’s history, and that the cause of the resulting climate changes is our burning of fossil fuels.

Trump claims it’s not an issue; Clinton knows it’s the most important challenge our country and the rest of the planet have ever faced.

That difference alone would require any well-informed American voter to cast their November ballot for Clinton, no matter how much that voter may dislike Clinton, or her husband, or “establishment Democrats”, or Progressives, or sloppy email server management.

Whether one favors Clinton or not, the latest qualified national survey shows that 64% of Americans are now worried about the damage fossil fuel burning is doing to our planet. This, even though the media hasn’t effectively informed them about the critical dangers and risks we face, not just as a country, but as a species.

We’re confident the issue of climate change will be raised in the debates between the two candidates. But with the understandable level of public concern and frustration about the issue, with the complexities of the topic, and given the threat to action on climate change posed by Trump, we need to get the mitigation of climate change impact into the public discourse now, not later.

Plus, we have to acknowledge that Trump may be so afraid of showing his inability to take on Clinton mano a mujer that he will turn tail and refuse to debate her. The chances of any serious discussion about climate change during the campaign would then be zero.

How to inform the voters in time?

What can we do to help people quickly understand the main threats of global warming, and how climate change can be mitigated, especially when the subject is much more complicated than even our conflict with Islamic terrorists, or immigration, or jobs growth–not to mention all the disinformation about global warming spread by minions of the energy industries and their political allies for the past three decades?

Our approach is to start with a simple, brief, basic list of ten well-demonstrated scientific facts and observations.

Courageous men and women of science have done the heroic field and laboratory work to “prove” these findings; that’s not the purpose of this post. Nor will we defend the reasoning behind the conclusions listed here–readers can go to the sources and make up their own mind if our reasoning is sound.

All we’re trying to do here is summarize the truth about climate change in language the voters can understand. We have confidence that if they know the hard truth, they’ll vote for action to mitigate the disasters our children and descendants will face in the second half of this century and beyond.

The ten basic truths voters need to know

Let’s begin with the scientifically based truths:

1. Climate change is not a hoax

The changes in the Earth’s climate are observed facts. The only global warming hoax is the one that Exxon Mobil and the other fossil fuel companies have been perpetrating for fifty years, as they concealed their own research and sand-bagged climate science through false-front “scientific” so-called think tanks and the bought votes of politicians.

2. The climate, including both the atmosphere and oceans, is warming faster than our powerful models predicted just a few years ago

The sea and atmosphere are warming even more rapidly than was forecast just a few years back by officially sanctioned scientific sources sponsored by the UN. With improving techniques and measurement tools, scientists are discovering feedback loops, deep ocean relationships, and glacial melt phenomena not foreseen even five or ten years ago.

3. The climate is warming quickly mainly due to our use of fossil fuels

The evidence of this is now overwhelming. Readers who continue to deny this truth can Google ” fossil fuels global warming”.

The largely unspoken or unpublicized truths

4. The media is focused mostly on rising sea levels, not on the much more dire impacts of climate change

This is understandable, since those living on the world’s coasts and low-lying islands are the ones most visibly affected by rising sea levels and massive storms. Similarly, extended droughts get some coverage. The media are beginning to report the disaster facing coral and other oceanic species as the oceans warm.

But the vastly more threatening near-term impacts are the decline in potable water supplies, the destruction of the oceanic food chain, and regional climate impacts such as enormous regional droughts.

The human impact is rarely reported in the proper context of climate disruption. The media do not want to discuss the most dangerous likely outcome of climate change: the mass migration of millions of desperate people — not the ones moving from Miami or the Gulf Coast to higher ground, but the penniless millions in South Asia, and the starving millions in Africa, desperately trying to find food and water and shelter for their helpless families.

5. Little to no public attention has been focused on known potential methane release events

Methane is potentially roughly twenty times more deadly than CO2 as a greenhouse gas in the short term. If enough methane were to be “released” into the atmosphere at once, say, over a fifty-year span, the Earth’s climate would warm very much faster.

Scientists call the mass release of naturally stored methane an “event”, almost as if it was a minor or local phenomenon, akin perhaps to all the ice currently atop Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania melting, not seasonally, but for all time. Methane release events are anything but minor; they affect the entire planet.

These events occur when the arctic and/or deep oceans become warm enough to melt the huge quantities of methane frozen at the bottom of the sea. Equally threatening would be the release of millions of tons of methane currently suspended in the frozen tundra regions of North America and Siberia. Both types of methane release events are driven by global warming, so it’s likely our descendants will be hit by both types of events at once.

We know beyond any possible doubt or stupid “denial” that that the climate is warming fast. What we cannot yet see is how much faster it will heat up once we begin to experience one, or very likely, two methane release events concurrently.

The scientific question is how close are we to triggering the beginning of massive methane releases? How much more CO2 buildup in the atmosphere and oceans can the planet tolerate before we pass the methane release tipping point? Once the releases begin, it will be too late to avoid the worst consequences of our collective greed and foolishness.

6. Our ability to predict the pace of future warming is very much undermined by our lack of global research

There are many more threats to our collective survival. The coming methane release is but the scariest. All the risks and threats urgently demand study and measurement. But in the U.S., we’ve allowed the efforts of the climate researchers, our most critical scientists, to become political captives of a Republican-controlled, anti-science Congress. In turn, the Republican-controlled Congress is impeding the ability of other nations to effectively combat global warming.

The uncomfortable truth our leaders won’t talk about: how we allowed ourselves to get into this mess and put our planet at risk

7. The massive increase in the consumption of fossil fuels over the past 60 years has been driven by the massive increase in global population

Our blind, unreasoned, unchecked adherence to cultural tradition and religious dogma has resulted in a level of population that will soon reach 8 billion: about three times the number of mouths this planet can realistically support. These billions require energy to live. As their economies develop over time, they demand more energy per person.

If we have the objectivity to turn and look back, we can see how doubling our numbers from four billion to eight has brought us very close to or beyond the edge of sustainable human civilization. If we have the courage to look ahead, we’ll see how we’ve embarked on a course of species disaster.

8. Future population levels may be much greater than we’re being told

The U.N. and other official agencies assure us population growth is slowing and will soon “stabilize”. But there is no guarantee that the maximum population level will be reached as soon as hoped. Your Truthteller estimates “stabilization”–the leveling off of population growth–will occur much later in this century, at a population level close to or exceeding 14 billion. That would be some 30-40% higher than the levels forecast by the U.N.

Said more bluntly: our immediate descendants may be facing a global population well in excess of thirteen billion, as opposed to the nine or ten billion suggested by the “official” forecasters. No existing public policy deals with this probable reality.

9. The demand for energy in just a few decades will skyrocket

The growth will be due partly to the growing global population, but mostly due to the certainty that billions of today’s humans along with all the new ones will be working their way up the standard of living scale, and hence, up the consumption chain. They’ll be demanding cars, refrigerator-freezers, computer devices, and air-conditioning.

Even should the official “stabilized” population level of ten or so billion be correct, we will have stabilized at a level that demands twice as much food as we produce today, and consumes at least three times as much energy as we now use each year. If these new humans succeed in achieving even a modestly comfortable lifestyle, our collective energy use could be as much as five times the kilowatt-hours we consumed globally in 2015.

No one in authority is telling us how much more energy each year will be needed, or where it will come from. The U.N. and our governments refuse to deal openly with the realities of over-population. The fossil fuel producers supply energy consumption estimates, but they downplay the likelihood that their published forecasts are low.

10. The future our immediate descendants face is much darker than most people realize

While climate change is gradually working its way into the daily news cycle, the average person is still dangerously uninformed of the pressures placed on the land, sea, and other species as population continues to grow.

Even if we could supply cool air and electric transportation to ten or more billion people, we’d still face the problems of trying to feed them. We’ve already depleted the oceans of their fish stocks, already over-farmed the most productive lands, and already condemned billions to a miserable existence of perpetual undernourishment. The scarcity of fresh water will be even more pressing.

Electricity can feed our devices and support our lifestyle, but it cannot by itself fill our bellies. Yet still we refuse to face the consequences of our self-induced population madness.

Two more conclusions every voter needs to consider

To these ten stark truths we must add two assessments–well-reasoned suppositions that will very probably prove accurate over the coming decades.

One holds out a promise of saving our descendants from the horror of a hot, hungry world consumed by famine, disease, violence and human exploitation. The other starkly predicts why we are unlikely to act to save our own children and grandchildren in time.

First, the required energy to meet the coming massive increase in demand is reasily available, at low cost, without using fossil fuels or nuclear power

Although not publicized, the truth is that renewable and other non-carbon energy sources can be ramped up very much faster than governments and the great energy corporations want to say. It is realistically possible we could virtually end the burning of fossil fuels within the span of three or four decades, even while providing enough electrical power to meet the energy demand of four to six billion new urbanized consumers by around 2080. We can produce enough cheap electricity for all this even while providing massive power for water desalinization, recycling, and industrial-scale foods manufacturing.

It sounds hopeful. Until we consider your Truthteller’s second assessment.

We do not have the political will and organizational determination to achieve this green, clean future

The harsh truth is we have insufficient political will in the few semi-democratic countries to overcome the economic and legislative power of the global energy industry. The billion or so citizens of the leading OECD countries will not prove up to the challenge, leaving the ten or more billions in the impoverished and developing world to suffer the worst effects of global warming.

The fossil fuel companies know that if they can manage to delay political and regulatory action long enough, the inevitable explosion in energy demand will force us to allow them to keep on burning. They’ll be able to dig up and burn all the coal in all the corners of the Earth. With billions of new consumers desperately trying to acquire energy, the companies know they’ll be able to keep the price of energy electricity high enough to secure huge profits, while using their political power keep the alternative energy providers small. Will they be able to block all forms of alternative energy? No, they’re too smart; they’ll allow enough victories to lull the consumers in the relatively more comfortable countries into accepting the continuation of fossil fuels burning. The ten billion desperate consumers with zero political power will thus remain under the companies black thumb.

The energy industry giants know that their survival depends on keeping us ignorant about the bleak prospects for ours.

They understand the best delaying tactic is to ensure we continue to have powerless or downright stupid national and corporate leaders. Their strategy has paid off for two generations. And now, in the person of Donald Trump, they have an opportunity to literally halt all attempts by the U.S. to mobilize the other industrialized countries against this cataclysmic threat.

In follow-up posts, we’ll explain in more detail the looming threats to the survival of our civilization and thousands of other species.

But hopefully, thoughtful readers of these ten truths about climate change will now understand why U.S.-sponsored and OECD-led action to end the burning of fossil fuels is far and away the greatest issue of the 2016 election. They’ll see how this election may well prove to be our last chance to turn humanity away from the path to its own destruction. They’ll conclude that only under Clinton’s proven leadership and consensus-building skill do we have a chance to convert our leading economies to alternative energy supplies. They’ll realize that she must have the bipartisan support of a Congress no longer controlled by the climate deniers and energy industry toadies.

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Where this list of climate truths comes from

Our book series on climate change and sustainability economics will be published hopefully in the coming year and 2018. For now, we’re intensely busy with the more immediate issues of the 2016 U.S. election cycle, so we must limit our exposition of the climate issue to the contrast between a seriously concerned Clinton and an absurdly ignorant Trump.

Since our intent is to stimulate thought and discussion among the voters, we’ve held back on our extensive quantitative analysis of the impact of further population on energy consumption for now. We’ve also deferred for now the explanation how we can scale up clean, renewable energy very much faster than even a proven genius like Elon Musk may have dreamed. For now, readers only need accept that our (and other) realistic, cost-effective energy solutions are available using presently available, proven technologies.

Suffice to say the sources for all these facts and conclusions are publicly available, in research papers and databases that are mostly not pay-walled. (We’ll be publishing over a thousand online links in our upcoming book series, so non-technical readers, parents, teachers, and business people will be able to quickly investigate the sources directly, and draw their own conclusions.)

Words for the Activists

Many who are actively trying to mitigate climate change are opposed to any discussion that suggests it is inevitable we’ll continue to see the growth in energy consumption. They assume this means that programs to reduce CO2 and industrial methane emissions will somehow be undermined by the politicians, at the behest of the fossil fuel companies. The truths enunciated here in no way discourage emission-reduction programs; they do suggest however that we must do far more than simply focus on taking carbon-based energy off the market.

Activists also often refuse to consider the realities of “climate engineering” in discussions of mitigation. The truth is that humans have been engineering the climate in an organized way ever since the beginning of the Neolithic age. The issue is not how to avoid the engineered production of energy at all costs, but how to manage the costs, producing energy that is clean, safe, and cheap, cheap enough to drive the fossil fuels industry out of business.

My analysis emphasizes the economic costs and risks of climate change, not individual human or entire species tragic outcomes. Plenty of others will find and document the awful results of past, present and likely future unconscionable human stupidity. Similarly, in analysis and discussion of mitigation efforts, I consider the political barriers to action right along with the perceived economic ones. It is common among activists to build their case on the premise that “we” must do this or stop doing that. They almost never suggest how “we” could actually change entire economies. They usually fail to confront the fact that regulatory force is the only way to make all these “musts” actually happen. They avoid the real challenge, namely that “we” cannot command “they”.

Words for the naysayers

You’re free to dispute the truth or probable truth of these ten statements, of course–but not with your Truthteller. It’s OK to not be aware of factual science, logical reality, and energy realities; but it’s not OK to waste our time. I’ve done my homework on climate and economics for decades. If you think I’m wrong I invite you to go to the sources and do the same. If you think quoting from the denier cabal passes for sound argument, think again. These are the bozos who’ve tried to block all rationale public discussion and political action on climate change; who’ve undermined the work of tens of thousands of climate researchers around the globe; and who even now refuse to face the hot reality all of us can see and feel.

The authors of the studies, analyses and exhausting, often dangerous fieldwork that collectively comprise the sources you’ll be trying to disprove are the folks you want to debate. Spoiler alert: you cannot argue with a fact; you can only deny it or try to cover it up, just as Exxon-Mobil did for fifty years.

Feedback and useful questions are always welcome. Hate mail is welcome, too; we have excellent garbage collection services here.

 

What climate change?

climate, warming, hoax, republican

Mumblin’ Mitch:

“Ahhh-humpfh…I’ll be down in the creek with the rest of the turtles in case anyone wants to schedule a vote on emails.”

Blinded Priebus:

“Climate change? I called Mr. Trump to find out if we need to make up a reason we don’t need to worry about it, and when he wouldn’t take my call, I called Senator Imhofe, but he was trying to get his airplane out of a ditch, so I talked to Dr. Hansen who told me it was changing, but only for people who could understand why, and not to worry my Priebus little head about it.”

Denyin’ Ryan:

“Poppycock! The climate’s always changing, except when it’s not, and next year we’ll set up a Special Climactic Event Investigations Committee and run tests in the Watergate Hotel using a dozen of our most senior Members to prove conclusively that it’s not, but if it is, the Committee’ll find out how Hillary has concealed that fact by discarding thousands of emails.”