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TikTok, Joe Biden’s VP Pick, & Racism’s Deep History On The US Election Process — CleanTech Talk

In the first episode of this two-part CleanTech Talk discussion, Michael Barnard, Chief Strategist of TFIE Strategy Inc. and CleanTechnica contributor, and Zachary Shahan, Director and CEO of CleanTechnica, sit down to talk about political trends, TikTok, and the Vice Presidential pick for Joe Biden.

In the first episode of this two-part Cleantech Talk discussion, Michael Barnard, Chief Strategist of TFIE Strategy Inc. and CleanTechnica contributor, and Zachary Shahan, Director and CEO of CleanTechnica, sit down to talk about political trends, TikTok, and the Vice Presidential pick for Joe Biden. You can listen to the full conversation in the embedded player below. Below that embedded SoundCloud player is a brief summary of the topics covered, but tune into the podcast to follow the full discussion.

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Every few months, Mike and Zach take time to talk about the state of US politics. Recorded right before Joe Biden’s Vice President pick announcement, both Mike and Zach launch a conversation about what they think might happen in the United States with this year’s presidential election. While they note that many listeners will sometimes question why politics are relevant for a clean technology news site, they believe that there is a strong relationship between policy, politics, and clean technology. Mike and Zach explore how the two interact and relate to each other.

According to Mike, while clean technology has become a seemingly partisan issue in the United States, he believes that at its core it should not be. He brings up trends in politics and how the political landscape in the U.S. has changed over time, especially when it comes to accepting climate action and technology. Mike and Zach also have a discussion on how they viewed Donald Trump before his presidency and how they have seen his political power play out in worse ways than they expected.

The two co-hosts also bring up TikTok and how TikTok users influenced attendance at one of Trump’s rallies. Mike uses this anecdote to transition into a conversation about privacy, security, First Amendment rights, and social media. He also brings up the relationship between social media accounts and disinformation from Donald Trump, as well as the ways in which Fox News has disseminated that disinformation to the broader public. As the United States struggles to understand how to define and regulate social media, Zach and Mike talk about the ways in which these conversations intersect with discussions about the First Amendment and current political protests. Mike also talks about his experience as a citizen of Canada and how he views the intricacies of the United States’ freedom of the press. 

Mike and Zach then transition into conversations about race and racism in the United States, starting with the foundation of the electoral college, which, as Mike explains, was established to favor slave-owning states over non-slave-owning states. He talks about the ways in which gerrymandering and voter suppression have intersected with underlying problems in the United States concerning disenfranchisement of minority voters. The co-hosts also have a conversation about the current Black Lives Matter movement and how the government has responded to recent protests around the United States, with a particular focus on the protests in Portland, Oregon.

Mike and Zach then launch into a conversation about Presidential candidate Joe Biden and how he appeals to certain demographic groups in the United States. To end this first half, Mike and Zach also begin to talk about the potential Vice Presidential pick. Listen to the episodes to hear who each of them was pulling for (remember, this was before the pick was announced) and who got their top choice.

To hear more on these topics, listen to the show!

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Written By

Winter is a Cutler Scholar and undergraduate student double majoring in Environmental Studies and Journalism at Ohio University's Honors Tutorial College, with a minor in French. Her academic interests include environmental communication, technology and social innovation, especially as they relate to international climate change mitigation and adaptation. Though Winter attends school in her hometown of Athens, Ohio, she takes advantage of her breaks to explore the world beyond. She spent her most recent break undertaking self-driven research on climate change and environmental justice in Southeast Asia. This year, she will be completing her dual thesis and supplementary documentary series on climate change communication. Winter is excited to contribute to and work with the team at CleanTechnica as a Summer Editorial Intern.


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