Sam Bauman: What none of the candidates are talking about



Senior citizens in the United States usually vote conservative; younger voters flip to the progressives. That’s a matter of history as a search of the Internet will confirm.

And seniors go to the polls, probably because of vested interests they enjoy — Medicare, Social Security, and so forth. Younger voters seem too busy to bother with elections.

Elections are decided by the people who show up at the polls. In the United States, the oldest citizens are the most likely to cast their ballots, which gives them political clout beyond their numbers alone. Some 61 percent of citizens age 65 and older voted in the November 2010 election, the best turnout of any age group. More than half (54 percent) of those ages 55 to 64 also cast a ballot. People under age 45 are much less likely to vote. Just 37 percent of 25-to-44-year-olds made it to the polls in November 2010. And not even a quarter (21 percent) of the youngest citizens — ages 18 to 25 — entered a voting booth in 2010. All of which suggests that seniors will pay attention to all the stump speeches being peddled as debates among the candidates. Lots of talk about defense spending, immigration, social benefits.

But one subject seems to be taboo, and that’s climate change, once known as global warming before the PC people decided to tone it down. Not one presidential candidate has raised the issue, despite a world gathering in Paris, where 194 countries gathered to discuss easing climate change. Well, Bernie Sanders touched on the subject briefly with a casual mention, but no political position was offered. There may have been other comments on change, but I might have been up getting my martini to ease the vapid comments from candidates.

For seniors, this omission of climate change could weigh heavily, as most of us have children and grandchildren who will be seriously affected by climate change. They are the ones who will have to live with a Gobi Desert in Iowa.

So why are the candidates ignoring the issue? Simple: Big business, big agriculture, big pharmaceuticals, big manufacturing all see climate change as a threat to profits. If climate change takes place, the world will have to do with less. And the “bigs” are big spenders in elections. Left or right, candidates have to pay attention to campaign chests. One obvious question: Why have the media moderators ignored the question? Never mind that there will be little business to conduct if climate change destroys economies as it surely will. So what must seniors do with protecting their offspring from global warming? (Take that, political correctors!)

Listen to what them candidates say. They’ll have to confront climate change sooner or later. It’ll be informative to see how they handle it without offending the big contributors.

So, if you care about your children or the younger ones in your family, listen for a rumble about climate change from the lineup.

Incidentally, while some political parties deny climate change exists, there is plenty of geological evidence that such changes are natural about every 10,000 years. There was a minor ice age in the 1700s when Europe froze over. Not global warming, but certainly a change. And our recent weather has been decidedly different from the past.

My old friend Bob Thomas, never a progressive, said he didn’t know about climate change due to human actions, but that he thought the continued release of CO2 and other pollutants into the atmosphere was not good policy.

It’s unfortunate the United States hasn’t moved forward with nuclear energy power plants. Yes, there are problems with the nukes, like what do you do with the waste radioactive materials? While we have headed off plans to bury it all in Nevada, the question still looms large.

Other countries have either embraced nuclear power (France gets more than a third of its electricity from nukes, but Germany is getting rid of nuclear power generators). The U.S. still gets a small part of its electricity from nukes, but no new ones are on the horizon.

Meanwhile, listen to the candidates. See if they have a position on the matter, and then think what unchecked climate change would do to your family.

Sam Bauman writes about senior affairs, among other things, for the Nevada Appeal.


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