USA brænder – Trump skyder skylden på demokratiske guvernører

Trumps og Bidens reaktion er blevet en del af det politiske spil op til præsidentvalget

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Wildfires in America – Trump blames Democratic governors

Trump’s and Biden’s reaction has become part of the political game leading up to the presidential election

It’s Saturday morning, but it might as well be late afternoon. I cannot read the time of day in the sky, and the mountains I can usually see on the horizon are not visible. The horizon is gray, not of raindrops that we are so used to here in the Seattle area, but of smoke. When I breathe, I can feel a scratch in my throat and an incipient headache. Here smells of smoke, as when you have lit a fire. But the atmosphere does not invite to bonfire singing. Here is completely quiet. Not a car is driving on the road, not a child is playing in the park in front of my house. Everyone has been asked to stay indoors. Parks and public beaches are closed.

Violent fires are ravaging the state of California, Oregon and here with me in the state of Washington. At least 20 people have lost their lives. On Saturday, we woke up to the news that Seattle was the world’s 3rd most polluted city, surpassed only by San Francisco in California and the city of Portland in Oregon, which is a few hours drive from here. In all, more than 75 fires are ravaging the United States right now.

In the state of Oregon, 40,000 people have been evacuated, 500,000 people have been asked to stay ready for a possible evacuation. Several of the thousands of residents who have been evacuated once have had to evacuate again because the fires caught up with them again. On September 9, a clearly shaken Kate Brown, the Democratic governor of the state of Oregon, held a press conference in which she said the state has never experienced such a great loss of human life and private property in the state’s history.

In California, more than 40 forest fires are burning, one of which is the largest in the state’s history. The area burned so far is the largest ever recorded in a year. Democrat Gavin Newsom , California’s governor, said, “This is a climate change !”

In my state, Washington, we have up to 30 fires eating their way through the countryside. Despite Seattle’s rainy reputation, it is very dry here right now, the temperature has been close to and above 30 degrees for a long time, and we have had strong gusts of wind – all of which have given the fires favorable conditions. The governor here is a Democrat and his name is Jay Inslee . He warned that fires are being exacerbated by climate change.

Forest fires are a natural part of the ecosystem of the states on the west coast. But the extent, intensity, speed and timing of these fires are different than usual. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that firefighters and volunteers have to deal with the Corona pandemic. Every time a person coughs, and this often happens when you are near smoke and fire, the work must be stopped and extra precautions taken.

Trump’s response to the forest fires

Trump has been remarkably silent and has not mentioned the fires for weeks. He does not need another emergency on top of the Corona pandemic he has no control over, the high unemployment and social uprisings we see all over the country.

On Friday, he commented on the situation for the first time in a month, thanking the firefighters for their efforts and promising them financial support. There were no promises of support or words of encouragement for the thousands of people who have had to flee their homes.

On Monday, Trump will visit California to be briefed by local and federal firefighters. I do not hope he, as before, intends to say that Californians should sweep and clean up their forests.

Both candidates are, of course, fully aware of which states are burning – and which presidential candidate they are supporting in the upcoming election. For the three states of California, Oregon and Washington, they are so blue, that is, democratic, that there is no doubt about the outcome of the delegated votes in the presidential election in November. However, there are also elections for the House of Representatives, and here the Republicans in the three states have something at stake.

Personally, Trump does not risk anything when, as he did in the state of Pennsylvania in August, he makes fun of how the fires are developing in California. He said that the forests were messy and that there were old leaves and twigs everywhere, so it would not be so strange if it all fell apart. Moreover, he threatened that if the state did not start sweeping and tidying up the forests, then they would have to pay the costs themselves after the fires.

Trump has been at war for years over immigration, environmental policy and health care with California – and there is nothing new in blaming the governor of California, Democrat Gavin Newsom, for both the forest fires and the power outages that the state regularly experiences.

Last year, California lawmakers said they felt the turnaround time was being delayed and that they thought it was a deliberate strategy by the Trump administration, which knew full well that California voted for Hillery Clinton in the last election. A former employee of Trump Administration (2017 + 2019) has stated that the Trump directly got from knowing that there would not be reimbursed support to people who had lost their homes. According to the former employee, Trump was angry that California did not vote for him in the last election.

Biden risks losing both progressive and center-right Democrats in his attempt at votes

The bite has a different tactic. In a press release on Saturday, he said: “To the families who have lost everything; to those who have been forced to evacuate; to the brave firefighters and those who help on the spot; those who risk their lives to help their neighbors – rest assured that we are by your side now. ” He has no real power to be able to do anything but show his compassion, but he is at least trying to gather and not divide the population by reaching out to everyone.

However, there is another reason why Biden weighs his words. Perhaps you remember when the Green New Deal was presented, i.a. with the then newly elected Democrat in Congress AOC (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ) as a prominent figure? The Green New Deal is a progressive climate initiative that offers suggestions on how to move from idea to political change. But Joe Biden is not for all the initiatives that the report recommends. Among other things. he has not committed himself to wanting to ban the fracking of oil and gas, nor does he want to phase out nuclear power plants. However, in comparison to his opponent, he has a highly developed climate policy, and he supports and has committed to large parts of the Green New Deal.

Both must tread carefully. On the one hand, he must try to get moderate Republicans to vote for him, and on the other hand, he must keep the center-right Democrats. Therefore, he can not be too bombastic in his statements when it comes to climate change. But he must also try to get as many of the young progressive voices as possible. The balancing act is difficult. However, Joe Biden said the fires are exacerbated by climate change.

If Biden was not so preoccupied with gaining a broad spectrum of progressive and moderate voters under his umbrella, a focus on Trump’s failed not to say lack of climate policy would be a strategic, political campaign gift.

I’m pretty sure the woman from the town of Malden who sobbingly leaned up on her friend while being interviewed by the local TV station about her experience of the flames consuming her home is pretty indifferent to political spin and verbal teasing. She’s lost everything. She just managed to jump out of her car in the clothes she was wearing – not so much as a family photo, she had time to catch up. The whole city is consumed, only two buildings remain. During the interview, she was completely blank in the gaze, it seemed as if she slowly understood the extent of the words coming out of her mouth. Meanwhile, the friend ate the sobbing woman’s arm again and again.

(Google translate)

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