Hey! We’ve just come up with the best drinking game EVER! We’ll get to that in a moment, but first the news: Mitch McConnell announced yesterday that the Senate will openly debate and take a vote on whether climate change is a real thing. Yes, Bernie Sanders’ amendment is coming up on the Senate floor.
Not that any of it really matters, in terms of passing any legislature. Recall Bernie’s amendment, tacked onto the Obama-veto-doomed Keystone XL bill, states the following:
(1) It is the sense of Congress that Congress is in agreement with the opinion of virtually the entire worldwide scientific community that— climate change is real;
(2) climate change is caused by human activities;
(3) climate change has already caused devastating problems in the United States and around the world.
In essence then, this amendment tacked onto the Republicans’ beloved Keystone XL bill would force Congress to officially acknowledge that climate change is real, that people are causing it and that we need to do something about it. That puts the Republicans who vote for the bill in a pretty sticky situation. Either they vote the bill and force the acknowledgement, or they don’t vote it and the Koch Brothers car-bomb their housecats.
Assuming the amendment makes it into the bill at all, which was always unlikely. Well, impossible. But that isn’t the point. The point is to force the Republicans sure to vote against it to go on record as to whether they’re siding with the 97 percent of real scientists, or the 3 percent bought and paid for by their corporate donors. The debate itself would be, and indeed will be, a referendum on the validity of science in Congress itself.
Said McConnell, being at least superficially magnanimous in allowing the debate to come to the floor:
“We are not anxious to block anybody’s amendment. We are wide open.”
And the debate will be “wide open,” and not as easy a walk for Republicans as some might think. We, and indeed many in the GOP, tend to think there’s a pretty strong consensus on the right about climate change, and the effect humans are having on it. You’d think this would be a pretty simple walk-over for Republicans — just vote “no” on Sanders’ bill, say something about “consensus,” and that will be the end of it. No risk at all, really.
Except that isn’t entirely accurate.
While it is true that the majority of Republican voters believe that the effects of global warming are exaggerated, and that humans aren’t the primary cause, the fact is that a lot of them don’t. Believe it or not, the Republican voter base is actually a bit more sensible regarding climate change than we tend to give them credit for.
A 2014 Pew poll found that 44 percent of Republicans believed there was “solid evidence the Earth is warming.” That’s actually up by 3 percent from a 2008 Gallup poll, which found that:
- 41 percent of Republicans say the effects f global warming have already begun, and the effects aren’t exaggerated in the news.
- 44 percent of Republicans believe there’s a scientific consensus on the matter. And most critically,
- 42 percent believe that humans are the primary cause of global warming.
Granted, those numbers are from six years ago. But still, the trend has been upward, and at the very least this shows that there’s still a very strong bloc of Republican voters who aren’t utter denialists. Make no mistake then, there is some very real risk for Republicans in this debate.
Considering how narrow the margins of victory were in 2014 for many of them, a year when Republicans literally had everything going for them…scant few can afford to alienate 40 percent of their constituency. So, there are some real stakes on the table here for Republicans. Especially those up for re-election in 2016, a presidential election year when Dems are certain to come out in much higher numbers.
A dangerous gambit, for certain. Brought to you by Bernie Sanders.
But, we promised you a different game; The Best Drinking Game Ever. And here it is. During the senatorial debates on climate change:
- 1 shot every time you hear the word “consensus”
- 2 shots every time you hear the word “hoax”
- 3 shots every time you hear the words “natural cycle”
- a Jager Bomb for every reference to “liberal conspiracies”
- a whole Long Island Iced Tea for every reference to “socialists” and “Nazis”
The winner is the one who’s still conscious after 5 minutes of James Inhoffe, Lisa Murkowski, John Cornyn or Mitch McConnell. See?
Best Drinking Game EVER.
Don’t put money on winning this one.