A Matter of Degrees
I have been most interested in The Nation’s coverage of the climate crisis, particularly Daniel Judt’s “https://www.thenation.com/article/senegal-climate-injustice/” [October 7]. However, in many publications, including The Nation, the projected temperature increase is expressed in Celsius instead of Fahrenheit. I find that misleading to US readers, who may not be accustomed to the metric system and may find it harder to take climate change seriously when expressed in Celsius—“What’s a few degrees? Nothing serious.” But if The Nation and other publications would express temperature projections in Faarenheit, that might help highlight the crisis.
Devil in the Dixie
I want to thank Patricia J. Williams for unpacking the disturbing and painful prettification of Confederate slavery [“Plantation Blues,” October 14]. A few years ago, my family visited the upscale Hilton Head resorts in South Carolina for a music festival. Numerous gated communities (all-white, of course) have “plantation” in their names. Nobody but our family seemed embarrassed by this vicarious enjoyment of slave owners’ privileges.
Rush to Judgment
Many thanks for Eric Alterman’s column “Vicious Cycle” [October 14], in which he summarizes three books tackling the mystery of the Trump presidency. I must say that I am in most agreement with the talk radio theory put forward by Brian Rosenwald in Talk Radio’s America. I was married to a registered Republican for years. I can almost tell you to the day when he started listening to Rush Limbaugh. Every night, it was another outrageous tale of terror that started with “You’ll never guess what they are going to do now.” “They” were the liberals. My now former husband became suspicious, agitated, angry, and xenophobic. Talk radio let him off the hook. He was no longer complicit in the creation of his own unfulfilled life. “They” were.
long beach, calif.
Tag-Teaming the Primary
That Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren stick together [“Bernie and Liz” by D.D. Guttenplan, October 14] is a tribute to their progressivism and their refusal to play politics as usual. Only one, however, can win the Democratic nomination for president, not both. Changes in the Democratic Party’s rules governing the nomination in 2020 give one of them the opportunity to win, but as the polls stand now, only with the cooperation of the other.
In every state and territory’s primary or caucus, the percentage of votes each candidate receives will determine, by proportionality, the percentages of delegates she or he receives on the first ballot at the Democratic National Convention next July. Moreover, only candidates receiving 15 percent or more votes in a state’s primary will be allocated delegates in that state. At present, only three candidates exceed 15 percent in the polls: Biden, Warren, and Sanders. If none of them receives a majority on the first ballot, then the nominee will be decided on the second or a subsequent ballot in which superdelegates (approximately 15 percent of all delegates), will decide the winner. Superdelegates consist mostly of Democratic National Committee members, Democratic U.S. Senators and Representatives, and Governors. Biden has been endorsed by many more potential superdelegates than either Warren or Sanders.
In terms of Democratic primary polling, Biden and Warren are running quite close; neither has a majority in most states. The sum of their votes, however, could constitute a majority. If the situation stays the same through the early primaries, Warren and Sanders could ensure that one of them will win the nomination: They could jointly issue a statement acknowledging that neither is likely to have a majority of delegates when the primaries and caucuses are over; consequently, the one with fewer delegates would withdraw in favor of the other. The withdrawal could be delayed until May or June, permitting both to continue campaigning and emphasizing progressive policies.
Let’s hope they continue to work together in that way and their supporters show the same generosity.
Neil A. (Tony) Holtzman
menlo park, calif.