This was helpful to me (knowing nothing about climate policy) in terms of ideas about how to break down TSM’s “transformative change” into more tractable parts. I guess I’d been treating “transformative change” and what Dan said about “fundamental uncertainty” as something like semantic stopsigns.
One thing I’m confused about:
Indeed, insofar as mass mobilization and climate grassroots activism are strongly tied to the Democratic party and making Democrats more ambitious on climate, it seems likely that the value of this advocacy has decreased due to the relative underperformance of Democrats in Congressional races and the likely less Democratic-leaning environment in the midterm elections.
I feel like I’m missing something—can you explain the mechanism here? Is this based on the possibility that TSM could hurt Democrats’ election chances (“A stronger TSM could make it more likely that pressure on Democrats [...] leads to shifts towards the left that lead to losses in the House in 2022 and the loss of the trifecta”), and so it would have positive impact only when Democrats have a strong majority?
Thanks!To answer your question there are two pieces here:1) Sunrise is most useful right now in pressuring Democrats, it is quite partisan and does not hold as much sway over Republicans. As such, when the overall situation is less Democrat-leaning, the usefulness of Sunrise is lower overall. Sunrise-candidates will not challenge Republican incumbents so an important mechanism of creating pressure on Democratic officials does not exist.2) Yes, of course Sunrise could hurt Democrats’ election chances. This was, with regards to moderates and progressives more generally, an active debate after the disappointing (compared to expectations) election in November. One mechanism would be that pressure on Democratic candidates moves them closer to the left to deal with that pressure, which then reduces their election chances. Another mechanism would be that the progressive wing’s perception hurts candidates in moderate/conservative districts. Going forward, a mechanism would be that the Sunrise/progressive agenda is perceived as a partisan overreach that leads to a “punishment” in the mid-terms. Just to be sure, these are active debates within the party and I am not suggesting that the moderates blaming progressives are always right. I am just saying that when we form a distribution over outcomes of the goodness of Sunrise we should include those mechanisms as well, because they are a plausible part of the overall story (they are explanations held by many people, and the TSM analysis by GG does not refute it). That is a mechanism that pushes the EV of funding Sunrise down.