Despite Joe Biden becoming the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, the Sunrise Movement is signaling its commitment to its environmental agenda. Originally endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders, the climate activist group is now focusing on pressuring Biden to incorporate its platform during the general election.
The Sunrise Movement, which invested significant resources in supporting Sanders before his exit, is leveraging the threat of withholding financial contributions to influence Biden. Their demands include Biden’s engagement with liberal young voters and the adoption of ambitious climate policies such as the Green New Deal.
In a letter co-signed by various prominent liberal activist groups, the Sunrise Movement emphasizes the need for Biden to do more to connect with young voters and support robust climate initiatives. The group’s stance underscores the importance of environmental issues and progressive policies in shaping their support for the Democratic nominee.
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“While you are now the presumptive Democratic nominee, it is clear that you were unable to win the votes of the vast majority of voters under 45 years old during the primary,” the letter stated.
“With young people poised to play a critical role deciding the next president, you need to have more young people enthusiastically supporting and campaigning with you to defeat Trump. This division must reconciled so we can unite the party to defeat Trump,” it continued.
The Sunrise Movement emphasizes the importance of unity, particularly in addressing environmental issues and climate change. Their letter to Biden urges him to embrace the frameworks of the Green New Deal and commit to a just transition to 100% Clean Energy by 2030. Additionally, the movement calls for the prosecution of fossil fuel executives, a position that Biden has expressed support for in the past, stating that he would “put them in jail.”
The leveraging of money as a tool to influence Biden’s stance reflects a strategy by the Sunrise Movement and other activist groups.
They have pledged $100 million in support of Biden’s campaign on the condition that he agrees to a comprehensive policy wish list, spanning issues such as climate, gun control, Medicare for All, a wealth tax, and appointments of leading liberal figures to his administration.
However, finding common ground may be challenging, as the Sunrise Movement has been critical of Biden in the past, giving him lower marks on its presidential scorecard compared to candidates like Sanders and Warren.
Despite attempts to impede Biden’s nomination earlier in the primary process, the movement now seeks to shape his agenda in line with its environmental and progressive priorities.
The Sunrise Movement has a history of adopting an assertive stance towards the Democratic Party’s establishment.
The group has consistently pressured Democratic leaders in the U.S. House to endorse the Green New Deal and advocated for a presidential debate exclusively focused on climate change within the Democratic National Committee.
Joe Biden, in an attempt to bridge the gap with environmental groups, has acknowledged the Green New Deal as a “crucial framework” for achieving climate goals.
He has made commitments such as pledging to ban oil and natural gas production on public lands.
Additionally, Biden has expressed an intention to choose a woman as his vice president, potentially someone capable of engaging with groups like The Sunrise Movement and other environmental activists.
The dynamic between Biden and environmental groups, including The Sunrise Movement, reflects the ongoing negotiation and influence between progressive movements and the Democratic Party’s leadership on climate and environmental policies.