KCRW's To the Point Hosted by Warren Olney, To the Point is a fast-paced, news based one-hour daily national program that focuses on the hot-button issues of the day, co-produced by KCRW and Public Radio International. Featuring three discrete segments - Newsmaker, Main Topic, Reporter's Notebook - To the Point presents informative and thought-provoking back-and-forth discussion. A mix of guests cover a range of concerns - politics, international affairs, technology, the environment - the front-page stories that attract a savvy news audience. Olney and his talented team of producers understand that the key to a good program is casting. With one of the richest rollodexes in broadcasting, the producers spend considerable time and effort selecting the guests. The line-up is constructed to juxtapose ideas that illuminate the issue. Olney gets to the point with hard-hitting questions that advance the story. He keeps the pace of the program fast and exciting. And the result is smart, relevant radio.
KCRW's To the Point

KCRW's To the Point

From KCRW

Hosted by Warren Olney, To the Point is a fast-paced, news based one-hour daily national program that focuses on the hot-button issues of the day, co-produced by KCRW and Public Radio International. Featuring three discrete segments - Newsmaker, Main Topic, Reporter's Notebook - To the Point presents informative and thought-provoking back-and-forth discussion. A mix of guests cover a range of concerns - politics, international affairs, technology, the environment - the front-page stories that attract a savvy news audience. Olney and his talented team of producers understand that the key to a good program is casting. With one of the richest rollodexes in broadcasting, the producers spend considerable time and effort selecting the guests. The line-up is constructed to juxtapose ideas that illuminate the issue. Olney gets to the point with hard-hitting questions that advance the story. He keeps the pace of the program fast and exciting. And the result is smart, relevant radio.

Most Recent Episodes

Melina Abdullah: It's a mistake to equate what happens to property with what happens to black lives

America is experiencing the largest civil unrest in decades as countless people protest the police killing of an unarmed black man, George Floyd. Peaceful demonstrations have spread across dozens of cities, and especially in upscale white neighborhoods. In some cases, looting and property destruction have followed, with mixed responses from law enforcement. What does this all say about confronting racism in America? Warren Olney talks with: - Peniel Joseph, founding director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at the University of Texas, and author of "The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr" - Melina Abdullah, professor in the Department of Pan-African Studies at Cal State LA and an organizer of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles - Norm Ornstein, Congressional scholar - Connie Rice, longtime civil rights lawyer and former member of President Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing The following interview has been abbreviated and edited for clarity. Warren Olney: Talk about the looting and violence that took place at the protests in LA over the weekend. Melina Abdullah: "We were very deliberate in deciding to disrupt spaces of white affluence. We want to make sure that it's not just black people who are suffering at the hands of white supremacy, that if we can bring a little bit of the pain that we feel to white communities, then maybe they'll have a vested interest in ... and disrupting these systems that kill our people. They can't simply turn their heads and retreat from what we're experiencing. I think it's a huge mistake for people to be equating what happens to property with what happens to the lives of black people. We need to shift that. We also need to remember that in these demonstrations, the first acts of violence are the police assaulting protesters. And it's important that the media examines that." How does this unrest fit into what both Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said and wanted to see happen? Peniel Joseph: "Dr. King, very clearly from '65 to '68, says that we should be thinking about and investigating the reason behind racial violence and rebellions that are happening all across America. What we're seeing in the mass protests is really not just about the criminal justice system. This has occurred over decades and is a gateway to panoramic systems of economic, political and gendered oppression in the United States. It's connected to homelessness and housing affordability, to the public schools and to the prison pipeline, the lack of health care and mental health care in our communities. Black Lives Matter is building on the legacy of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., and focusing on both non-violent civil disobedience and political protest, and also on a structural critique of white supremacy of racial capitalism. All white Americans in this racial caste system have privilege, not just those in Beverly Hills, but those who are poor and opioid-addicted ... who have their addiction medicalized instead of being incarcerated punished and brutalized ... and murdered like their African American counterparts who are [sic] addicted to crack cocaine in the 1980s and 90s. We have a deep, deep problem here connected to both policy but also empathy. We lack empathy for black human beings in the United States of America. And the election of Barack Obama does not make up for that collective lack of empathy. And that's what Malcolm X meant when he talked about black dignity. He meant that we had to defeat and eradicate white supremacy. He used the words "by any means necessary" because he felt that black people needed to defend themselves against racial terror that was exploding across the United States. This is the deep, rough history that we have. This moment of national racial and economic crisis can be turned into a generational opportunity, but only if we acknowledge the depth and breadth of racism and white supremacy, and we commit ourselves to transforming racist policies with anti-racist policies at the local and regional, the national, the global level." The mayor of Minneapolis apparently wanted to eliminate what he referred to as "warrior training." What is that? Connie Rice: "The culture of warrior policing [is] policing that enforces containment and suppression ... [that] descends from plantation policing and slavery. I dragged former LA Police Chief [William] Bratten to a slavery artifact store on Crenshaw. It's no longer there, but when I took him into the store, he stopped right before a cabinet full of police badges from plantation police forces. And you cannot tell the difference between those badges and the LAPD badge or the Boston badge or the New York NYPD. They are exact replicas. Only around the edges, instead of plantations of green acres, it's [the] city of Boston. So this descends from slavery. We send the police out to enforce a racist, segregationist, suppression strategy that benefits the rest of us. Black politicians enforce it just the same way. And black cops can't survive inside police departments unless they follow the culture. I know the valor and the integrity of many, many police officers because I've been riding shotgun with them for 17 years. I know what good human beings they are, but they carry out a mission that is toxic, and they have a culture that is absolutely deadly. They are looking for a way to change this culture, but it hasn't been fast enough. It isn't felt at all in the communities of a George Floyd or an Eric Garner. But today on the front page of the L.A. Times, eight gang intervention workers who used to be Grape Street Crips and Bloods ... they're [now] with ministers and Commander [Gerald] Woodyard and other CSP [Community Safety Partnership] cops. Commander Woodyard is the commander of the unit that I created with Chief [Charlie] Beck, where the cops get promoted for doing a wraparound safety plan with residents. And residents actually say whether they've created trust. Those are to me the bookends from the last riots to these riots."

Melina Abdullah: It's a mistake to equate what happens to property with what happens to black lives

How dogs and tech can detect COVID-19

Tech titans like Apple, Google and Facebook are about to get low-tech competition to help detect the novel coronavirus. Labradors and Cocker Spaniels are being trained to sniff out COVID-19. Dogs have up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses — compared to about six million in humans — enablings them to detect COVID-19 on a person even if they're asymptomatic. Medical detection dogs, wearable wristbands, thermal scanners and phone apps are part of a myriad of measures being designed to help people feel more secure about leaving their homes, getting back to work and begin travelling again. Warren Olney talks with Dr. Claire Guest, co-founder of Medical Detection Dogs in the UK; and Amy Webb, futurist and adjunct professor at New York University's Stern School of Business. The following interview has been abbreviated and edited for clarity. Warren Olney: To control COVID-19, might we see the adoption of something extraordinarily intrusive by American standards? Amy Webb: "We live in a very litigious society, but no employer wants to get sued if their employee gets sick. So in order for that to happen, the employer needs real-time knowledge of every employee's health situation. And because it takes a while for the virus to present symptoms, we're either going to have to have some kind of scanning and scoring system for each person, based on your digital behaviors, and if there are any test results. Or we're going to have to have a much faster test, and it's going to have to be comprehensive and available. We're going to have to be tested every single day as we wait for a vaccine. If those two scenarios are what kickstarts our economy and gets us all back to work, what does that tell us? It tells us that privacy goes away and that privacy is dead as we know it. In the midst of this pandemic, digital privacy and a functioning economy are unfortunately at odds with each other." Is there a danger that we'll go too far, and create tracking instruments that can be used in a dangerous way? Amy Webb: "That's the money question. So pre-pandemic, all of the big tech companies were investing heavily in the future of diagnostics and health care. Amazon opened up its own vertically integrated health system back in September just for Seattle-based employees. For example, there's a toilet that Amazon partnered on and is Alexa-powered. You may say, 'Who needs to go to the bathroom to talk to a toilet?; But stop and think about what's really happening. What does this imply? It implies that there are sensors being built into our everyday appliances and everyday objects that we wear with the probable goal of ongoing data collection. So every time you go to the bathroom, there's a urinalysis done and you'll get your protein levels, your sugar level. If any of those are off, you have an indication that maybe something is wrong versus waiting around to show some kind of a symptom. This was all in the works before ... the pandemic. So now we're in the midst of a pandemic and regulations are being relaxed. We're focused on the private sector to help get us out of this mess.If you were to go to the federal government and say, 'Hey, I bought a talking Alexa toilet for my bathroom that's collecting data on me, which regulatory agency oversees something like that?' The answer is nobody knows. ... I've asked: Is it the FDA? Well, as long as the toilet isn't giving you a diagnosis, but rather just showing you data, then probably not. Is it FCC? Well, the toilet's probably connected to the internet so technically it could be, but there's no department for that. This is where we're going to have problems down the road. The fact is that we just do not have people in the White House right now who are thinking far ahead. They are not focused on long-term preparedness. We have a president more focused on platitudes than preparing for what comes next. So this is a huge challenge and all of us should be thinking about it right now." You ran the first program to train dogs to identify cancer. Tell us about that. Claire Guest: "I worked on cancer ... in 2004. So going back 15 years, and we were able to train dogs to reliably detect bladder cancer from a urine sample. Since that time, we have grown and developed a huge evidence base in the detection of disease through volatiles. Volatiles are those smelly molecules like from a nice perfume or aftershave. ... What we've discovered is that diseases change your body's odor volatiles, and the dogs with that incredible sense of smell can be trained to identify them." Are some dogs better at tracking than others? Claire Guest: "Absolutely. ... In the UK, we use a lot of also working gun dog breeds, and we often use the dogs that end up in our rescue centers because they're sort of hyperactive dogs. All our dogs live with volunteers in the area, so we have a no-kennel policy. They come into work in the day, go home in the evening, put their feet up and curl up on the sofa. This means that not only are they dogs who love to use their nose, but they're actually peopley [sic] dogs as well. So they're very, very suitable for working in environments where they're going to be with the public." Tell us about the extraordinary ability of dogs to smell things. Claire Guest: "Until we know how smelly COVID-19 is, we won't know precisely how close the dogs are going to have to be to an individual to find it. But they are trained on a small piece of sock the size of a 50 pence piece. A dog has 350 million sensory receptors in his nose, and us [sic] humans have five million.When we've worked with dogs on other diseases, we've shown that they can go down to parts per trillion. If you can imagine smelling a teaspoon of sugar in a cup of tea, one of our detector dogs could detect a teaspoon of sugar in the volume of water that can be held in the two Olympic sized swimming pools. So evolution has made these dogs into absolutely super biosensors, the best biosensors on the planet."

What makes cities vulnerable to COVID-19? Concentrated poverty, says econ professor

Disease has thrived among dense populations since cities began. But COVID-19 is the worst example since 1918, and New York City is America's primary victim, with empty streets and skyscrapers. Can New York and other cities survive this pandemic? KCRW's Warren Olney speaks with Harvard economics professor Ed Glaeser and former New York City Health Commissioner Mary Bassett. This interview has been abbreviated and edited for clarity. Warren Olney: You call cities "our greatest invention." Why? Ed Glaeser: "We've seen a renaissance in urban America and great cities throughout the world, from Paris to Singapore. We are a social species that become smart by being around other smart people. That's what happens in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. That's what happens in London. That's what happens in Bangalore. ... But there have always been these downsides of urban proximity. There have always been demons that come with density: high housing costs, traffic congestion, crime. And the most terrible of the demons of density is contagious disease." Facebook, Google and Apple have invested in open-plan work spaces. Now Facebook says its employees who can work from home should continue to do so until the end of 2021. How do big businesses feel about telecommuting long-term? "We recently took a poll of the National Association of Business Economists, asking how many of their workers would stay working from home after COVID-19. And between a third to a half of them were likely to stay home. So as people transition [to working from home], that will decrease the demand for commercial real estate. But I think that will be a five-year to seven-year blip. If we can deal with the disease, the strength of cities is so strong that they will come back. The one constant safe harbor for American workers has been in the service industry. People will still pay for a latte, served with a smile, for a piece of cake that comes with someone telling you, 'You look great today.' That human edge remains the most employable asset of Americans, and those people are going to need jobs, and they're going to need cities." Is it density that makes cities particularly vulnerable to disease? "It's not that cities have a lot of people in them per se, but that cities have tended to concentrate poverty. So even in one of the wealthiest cities in the world, New York City, half the population lives at or near poverty. And that's what is posing the risks. Because when people are poor, they can't afford to pay rents, so they end up squashed up together and overcrowded apartments. They may live far from their workplaces and have long commute times, which they accomplish by crowding onto public transport, buses or subway cars. So it's these conditions that made New York City ripe for COVID. Many people who are poor, who are living under crowded conditions, work in surface jobs that were defined as essential and had to work because they couldn't afford not to work. Those are the conditions, not the density of the city that has made New York City so vulnerable." A sign in Manhattan says, "Stay home if possible, even if you are healthy." Credit: Eden, Janine and Jim (CC BY 2.0). Olney also speaks with Richard Haass, a veteran of four presidential administrations and now president of the Council on Foreign Relations. His new book is titled "The World: A Brief Introduction." Olney asks Haass to elaborate on this quote from his book: "We exist in a moment when history is being made." Haass says with the emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), history is something Americans learn little about, and certainly not enough to carry out global obligations or even self-govern.

What makes cities vulnerable to COVID-19? Concentrated poverty, says econ professor

Will COVID-19 reshape political conventions?

Joe Biden says he might be nominated by a virtual convention. Donald Trump wants balloons, bunting and cheering supporters. It's public health versus economic recovery in this year's presidential campaign. KCRW's Warren Olney sat down with Ron Brownstein, E.J. Dionne, and A.B. Stoddard to talk about the presidential campaigns, polls, and hydroxychloroquine. This interview has been abbreviated and edited for clarity. Warren Olney: How are this year's Democratic and Republican conventions going to sound and look different from the past? Ron Brownstein: "The maximum that's possible at the Democratic convention still seems to me below the minimum of what Trump might accept as a Republican in-person event in North Carolina. But recall how controversial this was in Charlotte to begin with. There are pressures now for the hospitality industry, restaurants, and everything else that has [sic] been hurting. ... so they would love this economic infusion. But if you're talking about tens of thousands of people— which is what polls say will happen— many of whom are just more resistant to any social distancing precautions, the prospect of having to clean up for that, and the implications for the health of your community, there is going [sic] to be some very difficult decisions and tough negotiations in the weeks ahead. The Republican National Committee is acting as though it's full speed ahead and saying that they're expecting 50,000 people to be there in person in just a few months. That's just — wow!" Warren Olney: I have covered presidential politics for a long time, but the announcement by Trump that he is taking hydroxychloroquine was one of the strangest ever to come out of the White House. Will it fly with voters? A.B. Stoddard: "The president let us know in no uncertain terms he's decided to take this medication as a preventative measure against COVID, though our own FDA and the government has told us that we should not use this in any way — unless we are in a trial or under the supervision of a physician in a hospital. It has been denounced as a preventative or a treatment for COVID as it can cause risky effects to the heart. But he said he took it because he's heard from a lot of people, and he said that's his evidence. I don't know that he's definitely taking it. It was very clear from his doctor's note that the doctor does not say he prescribed it or the president is on it. I do think that the president might have wanted to change the topic in the news away from an investigation into a secretary of state. What the polls show is that there is a huge drop in support among seniors. They're very scared for their health. Like my own mother, they don't feel that they can re-enter society until there's an abundance of testing, if not a vaccine. And he has lost them by 20 points in a six week period. If he doesn't get them back, his coalition cannot get him a second term in office." Warren Olney: E.J. Dionne, do you agree? E.J. Dionne: "Yes, Donald Trump cannot win this election if he doesn't win white voters over the age of 65 by enormous margins. The president's slowness in reacting to this and then his handling of it, his delegating everything out to the states has actually made this situation both on the health side and on the economic side worse. And when unemployment is at the rate that it is, the economy is not an asset to him anymore. In fact, it's a huge potential liability. Warren Olney: What about the role of Fox, which has taken the president's position again and again and again, in marked contrast to both CNN and MSNBC? A.B. Stoddard: "Trump is very intent on keeping Fox in line on his message platform because he's trying to keep his voters focused off of what was a spectacular disaster, his response to this virus. I'm trying to think in history when this government has failed this country in a more profound way, but I cannot come up with a stronger example than this." E.J. Dionne: "The mainstream media really has a responsibility not to play the game that Trump wants them to play. There is no obligation to pass along falsehood. There is no obligation on the part of the mainstream media to pretend that there is such a thing as Obamagate. Trump's counting on getting enough of this junk into the mainstream media that it creates enough confusion that some potentially Democratic voters stay away or people get this idea. You've got to distinguish between the signal and the noise with the Trump campaign. The noise will be the signal, and the media have to face up to that."

Gene Sperling on economic dignity and wage gap for frontline workers

Martin Luther King Jr., speaking on behalf of striking garbage workers in Memphis, Tennessee, said "all labor has dignity." He argued that each job is essential, and that a sanitation worker is as important as a physician to our nation's well-being. Former Obama economic advisor Gene Sperling picked up that theme in his latest book, "Economic Dignity." Written before the novel coronavirus pandemic hit, his message is prescient. Sperling summarizes some of his ideas with KCRW's Warren Olney. This interview has been abbreviated and edited for clarity. Warren Olney: We now celebrate health care workers and others that have been taken for granted for a long time. We're calling them heroes. What does this have to do with economic dignity? Gene Sperling: "Today is that moment where people are being forced to deal with the fact that we are dependent on the farm worker, the driver, the nursing aide, and all of the frontline workers. Yet they are often among the people we treat the worst economically. Only half of farm workers have health care of the nursing aides and home aides taking care of our sick at this time, risking their lives. Fifty percent of them can't take a paid day off to care for their own child or family member. And we're applauding and recognizing people as heroes. But if they do not have a living wage, if they do not have personal protective equipment, if they do not have paid sick leave for themselves, then I think the applause will start to sound and feel empty." How important is the definition between essential and non-essential work? "Morally and spiritually, we should recognize the value of all workers because they are doing their part to contribute to their family and to the country. One of the things we have to question is why we didn't realize the people producing our food are essential to our lives, and why don't we value those jobs more? The more we value them, the more value we would get out of them. I call these double dignity jobs. If you treated jobs with more dignity, if the people caring for our older relatives were given more pay, more opportunity to gain skills, they would stay longer and in turn they would prevent more hospitalizations. So the provision of treating workers with dignity, and then giving more dignity to the people they serve can also be good because it can lead to our children being smarter and more productive members of society. This is about a belief in economic dignity of all people, but also it is the smart thing to do for long term returns for our economy and our society." ALSO: Later in this episode of To the Point: the U.S. Postal Service, an institution older than the U.S. Constitution, may be closing its doors. Declining revenues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic are crushing the agency and at a time when government support is most needed. President Trump has called the agency a "joke," and threatened to let it go bankrupt. With the November election fast approaching is it possible to hold free and fair elections without a functioning postal service?

Digital Darwinism and COVID-19: Businesses must adapt or perish in new economy

Will we ever look at toilet paper the same way? Will we live as we did before COVID-19? Not a single nation is immune from the impacts of the virus. Futurist and digital anthropologist Brian Solis shares some of his insights with KCRW host Warren Olney. KCRW: The digital revolution and the global coronavirus situation —how do they go together? Solis: "There is an opportunity here to see it as a control-alt-delete moment. The world is now accelerating towards digital momentum. Whether that is working from home or e-commerce, this path to digital was inevitable. It's been ongoing for 20 years. Unfortunately, this moment in time is forcing incumbents and digital disruptors like the Ubers and Airbnbs of the world to rethink what it means to be in business today. That is forcing what I call the novel economy, which is essentially all of the playbooks that we had coming into this moment are not going to work moving forward." What about the idea that businesses must adapt or die? Is that situation more crucial now? "Let's look at the deaths. If we look at the retail sector, for example, this is an industry that was disrupted beginning in 1995, when the dawn of the consumer-facing internet really started to rise. Yet many retailers still talk about how to more effectively compete against Amazon, when Amazon itself is over 20 years old. When we talk about Uber and Airbnb and being disrupted in their respective markets, those companies are over a decade old now. So it gives perspective to the fact that we're not moving fast enough. The number one place for businesses to make investments (as customers are now forced to shop online) is in e-commerce —and many organizations aren't able to keep up." As classes increasingly go online during the pandemic, how will that affect kids and their parents? "Parents now have to help their children learn in a way that really only teachers have had to do. ... Hopefully this is a learning moment for them to say, 'Wow, I now see the devices differently. I see how their brain works differently. It might be different than mine. Perhaps I need a bit more empathy in this moment to think: How would my child learn, knowing that their brain is probably different than my brain, so that I can connect the dots and be a better teacher, be a better parent, and be a better role model?' So in many ways, this is an opportunity for us to learn and grow to help the next generation who doesn't know any different. This is all they know."

Digital Darwinism and COVID-19: Businesses must adapt or perish in new economy

How will COVID-19 leave its mark on health care?

The coronavirus pandemic has revealed the worst of America's broken health care system. But there is an unexpected silver lining, according to Dr. Amol Navathe of the University of Pennsylvania. "The way that the health system has shifted in the past three months shows that we're capable of the type of change we need to save American health care," he says. Hospitals and doctors have been forced to become more efficient to accommodate COVID-19. Unnecessary surgeries and procedures have been postponed. The catch: Elective procedures generate the revenue needed for providers to stay in business. Navathe says what's needed are investments in tech. He also suggests, "Do things in a different way that has not been supported by the existing financial model." KCRW also hears from James Blake — a humanitarian aid worker and journalist — about the dire risk facing those in fragile countries and conflict zones. A recent International Rescue Committee report warns that the world risks up to 1 billion cases and 3.2 million deaths from COVID-19 across countries such as Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen. Blake explains why aiding these regions is crucial to halting the pandemic.

With demand for oil at an all-time low, will there be new opportunities for renewable energy?

The economic shutdown from COVID-19 cut the demand for oil — so much so that the price per barrel dropped below zero for the first time in history. Storage space is now more valuable than the oil itself. And things won't get much better when the economy picks up again. "The oil industry is basically going to shrink as a whole as the coronavirus changes people's habits," says Ben Lefebvre, who covers the energy industry for Politico. "These guys are basically losing their shirts." So what about support promised by President Trump? "The White House doesn't want to get involved in singling out the oil industry for any kind of aid. It's just not going to help them at the polls," Lefebvre says. But Dan Reicher — former energy advisor to Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Google — says the federal government has ways to encourage alternative energy production. "There's more than $40 billion sitting in the Department of Energy right now that could be used in helping to commercialize energy technologies." Reicher says the current situation is a wakeup call for COVID-19 and climate change, which the world is facing simultaneously. He says this will make the public more confident in their governments to take on both threats.

With demand for oil at an all-time low, will there be new opportunities for renewable energy?

The politics of stay-at-home orders, plus the ethics of online shopping

The coronavirus pandemic is changing the rules for both public life and private behavior. New options are challenging the president in the White House and citizens sheltered at home. When it comes to determining where Americans can go and which businesses can stay open, President Trump embraces it one day but passes it onto governors the next day. says, "So much of this is politics and so very little of it is law," says professor Stephen Vladeck of the University of Texas School of Law. While touting his own measures for social distancing and staying at home, he shows support for those protesting his own rules. That's about politics too, says Asha Rangappa, a former FBI agent and now a Yale law school lecturer. "They're yelling and spreading their germs everywhere with no masks on, but this is the way they demonstrate their support for Trump," she says. Meanwhile, many people who are hunkered down at home have turned to online shopping as a convenient and safe way to buy food and medicine — as opposed to physically going to stores. But should they buy non-essentials online too, such as shoes, appliances, or furniture? "There's a realization that jobs are at stake, and that in order to ensure that few are lost as possible, online shopping is a good option for many people," says Laura Steele, a business professor at Belfast University. On the other hand, she knows there are risks involved in the supply chain."What I personally am doing is trying to order from companies that have made efforts to ensure the health and safety of their workforces. But the reality is it's not always possible to get access to that information."

What does COVID-19 mean for climate change long-term and Trump's re-election?

Shutting down whole economies because of the coronavirus pandemic means cleaner skies in many of the world's most polluted places. That sounds like good news for climate change, as well as the fight against COVID-19. Air pollution and increased heat are "threat multipliers" that make respiratory diseases like COVID-19 worse than ever, says Katherine Hayhoe, a climate scientist and political science professor at Texas Tech University. In addition, trafficking wildlife and destroying their habitats could significantly increase the risk of a virus jumping from an animal to humans, she adds. At some point, stay-at-home orders will be lifted. "We can't close the schools. We can't shut down the economy and industry. Those are just not sustainable solutions," Hayhoe says. And as businesses and commuting resume like usual, it'll be tough to keep those skies clear. In talk around both climate change and COVID-19, political tribalism comes up. "The exact same discussions are playing out in real time with the pandemic as [they] play out with climate change. The same tensions are rising to the fore, and we're seeing the same gridlock," says Hayhoe. That tension is especially dramatic for President Trump, who's on "a long sort of slow slide toward a more authoritarian form of government," says Stephen Walt, professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. COVID-19 has not been good for Trump's ratings, and if the president thinks he's likely to lose in November, he may be ready to "break rules in order to keep himself in power," Walt says.

What does COVID-19 mean for climate change long-term and Trump's re-election?

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