Trump’s pretensions to leadership are symptomatic of everything that ails the GOP. What’s dressed up as patriotism is, in fact, the failure to adapt to a fast-changing world.
At High School, my mate Dan was an excellent student. I don’t mean that he swotted it up while others ran and jumped and fell in love. He did all that. I mean that when exam time rolled round, Dan would dig himself out of whatever hole he’d spent the semester digging himself into and climb to the top of the class. We called him Dan the Deliveryman.
The pressure of other people’s expectations fired him up. We all told him he’d do great, and our teachers niggled him constantly about his natural abilities. His girlfriend, the hottest chick in school, pushed him like a locomotive. Dan needed it to count, and he needed others to tell him it counted.
Then Dan went to university. There, invisible to teachers and anonymous among classmates, the pressure was off. The girlfriend moved on and then suddenly, like a pizza boy with a flat tire, Dan stopped delivering.
It was as if a great big crevasse had opened up and swallowed him. Last I heard, he was drifting through nowhere jobs, struggling to climb out of bed.
With the benefit of hindsight, it’s clear that Dan lost himself in the environment of independent learning at uni. In an ever-changing world, the failure to adapt can bring disaster.
Presidential candidate Donald Trump says he wants to get America back on track. But his attitudes toward alternative energy promise to keep it running off the rails.
I am reminded of a story in Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series, Five Go Down to the Sea, which my kids love. It recounts the evil deeds of Wreckers--coastal people who guided ships onto rocks with false lights to pillage the contents and murder passengers and crews for their valuables.
Such are Trump and the GOP. These people have made fortunes in the status quo, and they want to go on milking the coal cow as long as they can. They deny the reality of climate change, dressing up their failure to adapt as patriotism. Their stance demonstrates just how tight a grip vested interests have on conservative American politics.
Fundamentally, they are afraid of change. And in a world in which change is constant, they are being left behind.
Coal is on the way out, and solar is on the way in. Even in an economic environment where coal is cheaper than dirt, during 2015 the US installed seven gigawatts of solar capacity. The solar sector added 35000 jobs, pushing the industry total to 240,000 by the end of this year. Business is booming thanks to solar investment tax credits, positive developments for solar net metering in California and, now, the agreement at COP21.
Gradually, policymakers are climbing aboard. On January 13, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans to eliminate all use of coal in the state by 2020. The day before that, President Obama’s State of the Union speech announced a push to “change the way we manage our oil and coal resources so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet.”
With change underway both on the ground and at the top, Trump and the GOP will find themselves increasingly isolated. Of course, Donald might win the election, and then the farce will go on. And, just as Britain’s economic dominance did not survive the colonial era, the US’s economic dominance might not survive the Trainwreck.