Biden Gains First major Endorsement from Environmental Group

Image: LCV Action Fund

When Senator Bernie Sanders dropped out of the 2020 presidential race, his supporters lamented that former Vice President Joe Biden–the presumptive Democratic nominee–did not have a climate plan that was bold enough to meet the breadth of the climate crisis. As a result, progressive climate action groups like the Sunrise Movement did not endorse Biden after Sanders’ departure from the race.

But yesterday Joe Biden received his first endorsement from a major environmental group, the League of Conservation Voters which has spent tens of millions in recent elections to help elect green candidates. The endorsement could very well be the first step in encouraging other green groups to engage with Biden’s campaign on environmental issues and eventually issue their own endorsement.

Why This Matters: In accepting the endorsement, Biden issued a statement in which he sought to expand the conversation his campaign will have with the climate movement–focusing on environmental justice leaders and worker organizations to help shape his climate policy going forward.

It’s unclear if/when youth climate groups will endorse Biden–there’s some political strategy to waiting toward the end of the election to push him as far as possible on climate issues. But the bottom line is that Biden is immeasurably better than Donald Trump for our planet, and Biden is open to being bolder in his plan. That’s not nothing. 

Coronavirus Recovery: If Joe Biden is elected president this November he will have to oversee the economic recovery from COVID-19 much as President Obama had to oversee the recovery from the financial collapse of 2008. How Biden might spend stimulus dollars will be key in spurring clean energy and a transition to a low-carbon economy. He’s already stated that pushing for a Green New Deal in subsequent stimulus packages is something Democrats should absolutely pursue and this is an important opportunity for green groups and the renewable energy industry to have a conversation with the Biden campaign.

The AOC OK: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has become one of the most vocal proponents of climate action in Congress and was an important supporter of the Sanders’ campaign. How might Joe Biden court her support in 2020?

Also yesterday, Rep. Barbara Lee who is one of the biggest environmental justice champions in Congress, as well as a mentor to The Squad, came out with her endorsement for Joe Biden. For Biden, this could be the first step in the process to rack up the important progressive endorsements he needs in Congress.

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