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Green New Deal Mocked with Sham Vote in Senate

Senate Leader Mitch McConnell forced a vote earlier this week on the non-binding Green New Deal resolution co-sponsored by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey. The resolution has its supporters, but was nowhere near ready to be introduced to the floor, resulting in a resounding 57-0 legislative defeat. Aside from a few “no” votes on the left side of the aisle — “Purple State” Senators Doug Jones of Alabama, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Krysten Sinema of Arizona, plus  — the Democrats voted “present” in protest.

On the left, the vote was dismissed as a bad-faith sham vote meant to put the Green New Deal to rest, or at least to poison the issue with drama. According to Senator Lindsey Graham, President Trump advised his Senatorial supporters, “[Make] sure you don’t kill it too much, because I want to run against it.” It was perhaps more taunt than advice, since McConnell has already characterized the Green New Deal as “nonsense.” Following the vote, he explained to reporters, “[If] you’re going to sign onto nonsense, you ought to have to vote for nonsense.” 

In a statement, Senator Manchin attributed his “no” vote to his commitment to innovation as a way to reduce carbon emissions without having to give up fossil fuels. “Only through innovating and developing new technologies that reduce carbon emissions will we truly make a difference.” 

Manchin’s refusal to engage with the Green New Deal on the grounds of innovation was embraced by legislators on the right. Senator Mike Lee suggested that climate change is “a challenge of creativity, ingenuity and technological invention” that can be solved by the absurd solution of procreation. Because apparently we don’t have enough brainpower in existence to sole the issue now. “More people mean bigger markets for innovation. More babies mean more forward-looking adults — the sort we need to tackle long-term, large-scale problems,” Lee explained. He called specifically for American babies, because he claimed, falsely and with a racist twist, that they would “be wealthier, better educated, and more conservation-minded than children raised in still-industrializing regions.” Meanwhile, having children is one of the most carbon-intensive choices that someone can make, though the benefits and costs are ultimately unquantifiable.

On Twitter, AOC described Lee’s plan (whether it was earnest or not) as one that banished her sense of impostor syndrome. “Like many other women + working people, I occasionally suffer from impostor syndrome: those small moments, especially on hard days, where you wonder if the haters are right,” she wrote. “But then they do things like this to clear it right up. If this guy [Lee] can be Senator, you can do anything.

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