It was probably the worst thing that Donald Trump ever said:
“Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.”
Bold, rash, and sweeping, it represented an emotion response, a visceral reaction, to what had transpired earlier that week. On December 2, 2015, married couple Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik killed fourteen and wounded 22 at the San Bernardino Department of Health Christmas party. Cited as an example of “homegrown terrorists”, the couple were killed four hours later in a bloody shootout with police in a rented Ford Explorer. It was the deadliest terror attack on US soil since 9/11.
Trump’s reaction was widely condemned, but it illustrated an important point about public policy: it is not generally best made in the heat of the moment in the wake of incidents that stir up wild emotions, and the worst in humanity. Furthermore, public policy is generally better served by a deliberative, gradual approach, as opposed to vast, rapid, sweeping changes made on the whims of whoever is in power at the time.
That is why the Founders and the Framers placed such importance on checks and balances and gradualism. Even in 1790, for example, the process required to amend the Constitution was mind-numbingly time-consuming and complex. The Framers prioritized law and order and stability first and foremost. These are served by gradual change.
The environmental movement has clearly become more radical and strident in its demands over the course of the past two years. This is part of the general left-ward lurch of the Democratic Party in the wake of Trump. Yet, their environmental proposals are bound to put them at odds with mainstream America.
Hillary Clinton found this out the hard way in West Virginia, when she famously promised that she would shut down the coal industry (the backbone of the West Virginia economy), pledging “to put a lot of coal companies and coal miners out of business” at a CNN Town Hall event in Ohio. Yes, she subsequently discussed how she was going to prioritize “clean energy” jobs in coal communities, but the damage was done.
Clinton and the Democrats fared poorly in coal country. This, of course, is a phenomenon that is attributable to many other factors beyond environmental policies. First and foremost, the Democratic Party seems increasingly inept at making their case to the Heartland: rural and suburban working class people in states like West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and Iowa.
Which leads us to the Green New Deal.
It is the most discussed, most written about, most talked about piece of legislation in the current Congressional session. Sponsored by Queens socialist firebrand Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) in the House, and Ed Markey (D-MA) in the Senate, it is probably the single-most unrealistic piece of legislation proposed in modern American political history.
Its fundamental proposal is simple: end all carbon emissions. Period. No coal. No natural gas. No petroleum. 100% clean and renewable energy sources. And AOC has told us that the world is going to end if this effort isn’t brought to fruition by 2030.
One would think, then, that given the dire dangers posed to the very existence of the human race, that AOC would set a personal and professional example, to completely eradicate the use of fossil fuels in her own life.
Nothing could be further from the truth. AOC is an enormous proponent of travel by Uber, even though there is public transportation mere minutes from her front door. She lavishly spends on air travel, even though the fossil fuels burned by planes are contributing to the destruction of the human race.
14.5% of emissions come from livestock, according to a CNN special report last year, and the cattle industry receives special focus from AOC. Yet, she was pictured out on the town last week, with her chief of staff, who was dining on hamburgers.
So, we are supposed to believe that cars, planes, and beef (things that are widespread and intrinsic to the American experience) are going to be killing us in over a decade, yet Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez is continuing to contribute to our very death and destruction?
AOC is perhaps the most “inartful” communicator in the current Democratic Party, and ripping on her is easier than shooting a whale in a swimming pool, but nonetheless: we should be concerned that her brand of climate extremism is increasingly taking over the Democratic Party.
Climate change is a problem. It is certainly not the most serious problem facing humanity today. And it is certainly not going to kill us in twelve years.
One thing that Trump and AOC may have in common: a penchant for sweeping and rash reactions to problems.
Pick your poision: for Trump it’s terrorism. For AOC it’s climate change.
AOC and friends are the conductors of a one way train to electoral college suicide come 2020. All Republicans need to do is highlight how many people would be put out of work (energy, transportation, infrastructure, aviation, farming)…if the insane proposals of the Green New Deal were ever actually enshrined in law.