Recently Bernie Sanders and team released a comprehensive plan outlining the details of the Green New Deal. It is the most visionary political document presented by any candidate over the past fifty years and holds the potential for genuine transformation of our circumstance. I dived deep into the material and have five key takeaways that every American voter should know.

Trump’s base would be one of the largest benefactors

A large part of Trump’s campaign was to bring coal back, an empty promise that could never be realized no matter how genuine the effort. Our economics of energy production and distribution are changing based on two key factors.

First and most importantly is the existential crisis we face with the climate catastrophe. It was inevitable that as climate change became more pronounced, the majority of the public would come together around a shared desire for a globally cooperative solution. What wasn’t inevitable was Republican lawmakers partnering with corporations to lie and mislead the public [1][2] about the consequences of our circumstance. This deception laid the foundation for the present bait [3] and switch impacting our laboring brothers and sisters throughout the U.S.

Second is that green energy technology advancements are being driven by the exponential growth of information technologies and processing power. This means that improvements in green energy will continue on the trend of being more efficient and lower cost than fossil fuels. In the pursuit of radical truth, we must acknowledge that we haven’t even scratched the surface. Future advancements in nanotechnology will dramatically accelerate progress in green energy technologies beyond anything available presently.

Bernie’s plan is revolutionary in recognizing that no human being’s worth should be tied to their occupation in a time where the quickest pathway to wealth is disrupting industries. It’s an idea that should have many Trump voters switching parties to vote for Bernie in the Democratic Primary.

The Green New Deal proposes spending $1.3 trillion to ensure fossil fuel and other carbon-intensive industry workers receive the tools needed to transition to new industries successfully. This includes five years of wage guarantee, relocation and job placement assistance, re-training in the form of higher education or vocational training, housing vouchers, stronger labor standards, incentivizing employers to hire transitioning employees via tax incentives, and investing in the communities most impact by the transition.

Bernie’s plan is profound in that he is the only candidate willing to confront the growing pains of transitioning head-on and ensuring that the approach is human-centric. It is a direct investment in those who will be most impacted by this necessary transition to help them reestablish agency within their lives. To some extent, all of our taxes will fund this project, even though many will not benefit directly. It presents progressives with the perfect opportunity to turn the tables on isolationist narratives. Bear this burden with pride, tell everyone you are excited to chip to help other Americans change the direction of their lives. It’s the beginning of a new political philosophy in the United States and is the only real hope of preventing a Trump 2.0.

Perhaps most importantly, it could create a much deeper base for the progressive movement here in the United States by tying our working class into a more collaborative approach towards the structuring of society. The long-term impacts of this hard to estimate accurately, but a victory for Bernie would likely change our political landscape for the foreseeable future. I imagine it would spell the end of the modern Republican party and begin a cascading effect to oust existing corporate-sponsored democrats.

It takes the advice of climate scientists seriously

Climate scientists aren’t pulling punches when it comes to the severity of the crisis at hand. Recently Harvard professor James Anderson spoke at length [4] about how recovery is all but impossible without a World War II-style transformation of industry in the U.S. World War II was one of the most productive eras of American history and a time where people believed in something bigger than themselves. Economically, he’s referring to a mobilized effort and investment to halt carbon pollution and remove it from the atmosphere. While the current consensus outlined in the Green New Deal is about 11 years, professor Anderson is trying to amplify the message that we only have five years.

The Green New Deal recognizes that to begin the transformation, we must cut ties with the past way of doing things. The plan includes an end to fossil fuel subsidies, sanctions on corporations that act against our national climate goals, a ban on offshore drilling, an end to all new fossil fuel infrastructure projects, a ban on exporting fossil fuels, banning fracking and mountaintop removal coal mining, and a repeal of Trump’s executive orders to allow the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines to continue.

Bernie’s proposal also does the one thing that every other Democrat in history has been afraid to do, hold corporate polluters responsible for their actions. Under his plan, the fossil fuel industry and investors will face steep tax increases, lawsuits for those who knowingly contributed to climate change while denying and misleading the public about their actions and raise pollution penalties moving forward. It’s a clear and direct pathway to generate capital and hold the people who chose to put profits above the well being of humanity accountable for their actions.

Recognizing that the plan is disruptive, Sanders team is proactive with solutions to mitigate damage to our citizens. The plan calls for the divestment of federal pensions from fossil fuels but doesn’t mention any specific order. I would imagine that the future Sanders administration would want to do this first to avoid causing more loss than necessary to pensioners.

The plan continues to explain how the administration will pressure universities, financial institutions, and other investors to transition investments out of fossil fuels and into clean energy bonds. Now, I’m not an expert investor, so take the following with a grain of salt. If I had my money in dirty energy investments, I’d be concerned about waiting to devest until after the primary. By then it’ll likely be too late.

Bernie’s plan is clear, 2030, not 2050 is the goal. It’s the only realistic plan, despite criticism that the technology is not there yet. Something that’s not often talked about is that we’re already doing real damage to Earth and it’s unlikely to be remedied even if we meet our targets. 2050 is a number put forward as an absolute last option to avoid a total meltdown. But recent reports [5] are showing us that the crisis is accelerating faster than we expected because of the complexity of organism Earth. Given that we understand that we don’t understand the depth of the challenge, it’s reasonable to demand a 2030 transition for humanity.

It will fast track the U.S. back into a position of global leadership

Recently I listened to an interview between Peter Thiel and Eric Weinstein in which Thiel explained his reasoning behind his support for Trump. He believes that Hillary Clinton’s brand of corporatocracy was a pathway to inevitable destruction and that Trump was going to be the shake-up that America needed to wake up. It’s difficult to support an argument for Trump given present hindsight, especially knowing the devastation he caused to American leadership at a global scale. But, in pursuit of radical truth, I can’t help but agree with Theil’s assessment to some extent. The neoliberal model of global leadership has created the structure that allowed this catastrophe to manifest.

Bernie’s Green New Deal shapes a new type of global leadership for the United States. It outlines initiatives such as investing in countries with less economic and political power than the U.S. to help them achieve the necessary milestones to avoid global catastrophe. We lead not through rhetoric or force, but by collaboration and cooperation.

The plan commits America to promoting peace and aggressively reducing our emissions here at home. We’ll invest $200 billion in the Green Climate Fund which will support the equitable transfer of necessary green technologies. It recognizes that the Pentagon is the largest institutional polluter in the world and will redirect funds spent on war and weapons to international efforts to support the global transition off of fossil fuels. It is combined with ending overseas fossil fuel financing and the renegotiation of trade deals like NAFTA written by billion-dollar companies and allow for special protections for polluters.

This aspect of Sanders team plan resonates deeply with me as progressive as it begins to break open the next generation of American leadership, global cooperative projects. If there was ever a plan to make America great, and not in racist and fear-mongering direction, these projects are it. What excites me most is the latent possibility that opens up with the completion of a successful global project like combatting climate change. It will transform universal consciousness on a scale beyond what the Moon landing did for America’s past.

It revitalizes the American Dream

At its core, the American Dream is about a sense of personal autonomy within the world. We believe that given appropriate resources, any person can transcend the circumstances they are born into. It’s a cultural belief that ties your work ethic and determination to your success.

In many respects its a profoundly empowering belief, allowing us to focus on circumstances beyond what is. Where the ethos fails is embracing that our institutions are set up in a way that creates a systemic disadvantage for poor people. The Green New Deal finally makes America take a step towards grappling with our past and addresses some of the disparities existing in modern American society.

The plan introduces a WATER Act, which would provide $34.85 billion to fund programs dedicated to improving the nations crumbling water infrastructure. A problem that disproportionally impacts poor people of color. The money would go to multiple applications with a focus on helping the rural, small community, and tribal drinking and wastewater systems. It includes money to upgrade existing personal home and state-wide infrastructure using materials made in the U.S.

It invests in job training and local hiring, prioritizing minority and women-owned businesses as well as community-owned and municipal enterprises. The plan takes special note to include that funding for parks, and public lands will be equitably distributed in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Most importantly, it invests heavily in creating a broader social safety net. Two examples are energy and food assistance to ensure that no one is during the transition.

The Green New Deal also incorporates American agricultural workers as part of the solution. It invests in small family-owned farms to update and modernize their practice. The plan also expands research and development into advanced agrarian technologies. Notably, it makes a point to talk about not supporting the existing monopolies, and instead of keeping the focus local.

Thinking politically, much of Trump’s base stems from U.S. agricultural workers. Many of whom have directly experienced the brunt of Trump’s ineptitude via his reckless and ill-strategized trade war. The strength of Bernie’s plan is that it brings more Americans into a new generation of political, economic, and legal thinking that focuses on collective human benefit over the profits of a tiny minority.

These social and industrial investments raise the floor for so many Americans who are trapped in cyclical poverty. Investments in their community infrastructure, so often ignored by their local legislatures, will improve the quality of life and peace of mind for millions.

There’s often something that goes unsaid about the American Dream. To achieve it requires a degree of self-actualization, which is incredibly challenging to accomplish if your basic needs are not met. The Green New Deal prioritizes investing in our most disenfranchised to help elevate themselves to heightened degrees of access and agency within our world.

It’s about structural reform

For the longest time, I kept my president candidate preferences on the down-low. I voted for Bernie in 2016, but I wasn’t an extremely vocal supporter. The Green New Deal Changes that for me.

I’ve spent a lot of time and effort talking and writing structural reformation in the past, and this plan is the first and only plan I have ever seen from present political leadership that presents the United States with a truly progressive alternative. By structuring our energy infrastructure to be a publically owned entity, we fundamentally change the future of the U.S. for good. The same public ownership model is proposed for democratically controlled and publically owned broadband infrastructure.

Bernie’s team does what other administrations have been too afraid to do, recognizing that public investment into core aspects of society need to be organized outside of a for-profit structure. Energy and broadband are two great starting points and will lay the foundation for further expansion of this model. Medicare for All would follow the same infrastructure of public ownership.

In the end, the Green New Deal represents a fundamental shift in the direction of American society. It provides us a pathway to break free of the corporate dominance that has strangled our institutions and purchased our politicians for so long. It’s not perfect, but it’s an incredibly bold starting point that can transform American society in a way that allows more people to realize their power more often.

Progressives must be open and willing to take the time to explore these concepts with family, friends, and those in our networks who might be caught up in the Trump fervency. The Green New Deal is a plan that can truly unite people, in invests in those who need it most both in rural and urban America. If you’re fortunate enough to count yourself as someone who may not be on the receiving end of the economic development, wear your support for the plan like a badge of honor. A more collaborative United States begins with our personal decisions to embrace the collective need over personal greeds. These are exciting times, but it’s up to us to make it happen.

[1] Exxon Knew about Climate Change almost 40 years ago

by Shannon Hall Scientific American https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/exxon-knew-about-climate-change-almost-40-years-ago

[2] ‘It’s devastating’. End of GM in Ohio town as Trump fails to bring back midwest jobs by Adam Gabbatt The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/aug/23/general-motors-factory-ohio-lordstown

[3] Why conservatives keep gaslighting the nation about climate change by David Roberts Vox https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2018/10/22/18007922/climate-change-republicans-denial-marco-rubio-trump

[4] We Have Five Years To Save Ourselves From Climate Change, Harvard Scientist Says by Jeff McMahon Forbes https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2018/01/15/carbon-pollution-has-shoved-the-climate-backward-at-least-12-million-years-harvard-scientist-says/#6471123963eb

[5] Some Arctic ground no longer freezing — even in winter by Craig Welch National Geographic https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/08/news-arctic-permafrost-may-thaw-faster-than-expected/

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