Of all the outrageous things that have happened during this election, it’s not been Donald Trump’s open racism, nor his tax-dodging, nor the bafflingly under-reported charge of child rape leveled at Trump and longtime friend (and notorious pedophile) Jeffrey Epstein, that has most consistently generated controversy. Rather, Clinton’s emails have been the main talking point. That was true last year, as the Benghazi investigation rolled on to a close, and it was true in this year’s primaries as her use of a private server came under renewed scrutiny, and it’s true now as the FBI investigates her in the wake of a highly-publicized dump of leaked campaign correspondence. When we look back on this election year, we will remember only Trump. But for now, all anyone seems to be talking about is Hillary Clinton’s emails.
To some, it’s justifiable. The batch of Clinton campaign emails (leaked from campaign manager John Podesta’s account) released to the public by Wikileaks last month for many people confirmed what they already suspected about the Democratic nominee: that she makes promises in private that don’t chime with what she says in public; that she uses her connections to give herself political leverage; and that she is, fundamentally, corporate-minded, taking campaign advice from heads of major corporations and making a VP shortlist which included CEOs with no political experience. Through these emails, we also know the Clinton campaign probably unlawfully coordinated with super PACs and used media contacts to gain an edge in televised debates.
These leaks have only compounded the distrust the American electorate already felt towards Clinton. Millennials in particular have been proving evasive for her campaign. It was estimated back in September that over a third of 18-29 year-olds were planning to vote for third party candidates, and the Wikileaks emails certainly haven’t helped Clinton’s cause with younger voters. Many of them voted for Bernie Sanders, and now thanks to the Podesta emails know that the Clinton campaign—with the help of the mainstream media—sought to defeat Sanders with a “hit” dossier.
However, there is one set of leaked Clinton emails, released last week, that doesn’t just show Hillary in a rare (for this election) positive light—it offers voters, especially millennials, their best reason yet to vote for her. Emails between Podesta and David Fenton, founder of public relations agency Fenton Communications, reveal a plan to use “guerrilla tactics” in countering professional climate denial. The exchanges show millions of dollars would be spent targeting the audiences of right-wing media (in particular that owned by Rupert Murdoch) with scientific facts and allow conservatives to support action so “bipartisan efforts on climate change will be achieved on time.” These emails reveal a determination to put Murdoch “on the defensive” and enact Clinton’s extensive climate policies.
Clinton’s hasn’t been a campaign to love. At a time of anger, fear and general dissatisfaction, Clinton has bar a few proposed changes promised to maintain Barack Obama’s status quo. The revelation that the Clinton team are behind the scenes planning to finally break the stalemate on climate change is different. You might not know it from the lack of media attention—chances are you won’t even have seen any reports on this set of leaks—but global warming is more of a threat to the human race than ISIS, immigration and bad trade deals combined. And if humankind doesn’t start tackling the biggest issue of our time in a serious way, all other problems we face will be magnified manifold.
Even ardent Clinton supporters prefer to spend their time telling you why not to vote Trump as opposed to telling you why you should vote Clinton. When it comes to comparing the candidates on climate change, commentators have highlighted that where Clinton has vowed to address global warming immediately, Trump simply insists climate change is a hoax. While that’s a good enough reason to vote Clinton over Trump—with even wars and migration crises now being kickstarted by climate change, we really can’t afford to wait another four years until something starts getting done—the secret Podesta plan to break America’s political logjam on global warming should excite progressive voters.
America under Barack Obama has been leading the world on tackling climate change, but with a right-wing media aggressively pushing a message of denial, Obama has only been able to achieve so much. The Podesta leaks on global warming are promising for two reasons. First of all, the leaks reveal that Clinton’s team have a solid plan in place to fight the professional climate denial that has acted as a blockade to progress for so long. Secondly, even if this plan doesn’t entirely succeed, it proves that the Clinton administration aims to be more serious about climate change than many originally suspected. Disillusioned millennial voters in particular might want to think again about denying their vote the candidate that actually wants to prevent the Earth’s demise. This, after all, is the only planet they’ll inherit.