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Past Democratic presidential nominees have certainly acknowledged the threat of climate change in their campaigns, though the issue has never been one to run on in and of itself. In 2008, then-Senator Obama committed to an 80% emissions reduction from 1990 levels by 2050 as part of his campaign, though his messaging was confusing at times. And in 2016, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton didn’t shy away from addressing the climate crisis, but she talked about it markedly less after winning her party’s nomination and didn’t hold a campaign event devoted solely to climate change until 3 weeks before the election.
Which is why it’s worth noting that current Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden today put out an entire political ad devoted to the issue of climate change (the first presidential nominee to do so).The ad features John King, the co-owner of King Orchards, a fruit farm in Central Lake, Michigan and highlights the ways in which climate change – including late spring frosts, flooding, and droughts – continues to wreak havoc on Northern Michigan cherry farmers.
Climate on the Campaign Trail: Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris regularly address climate change, environmental justice, and the prospect of putting Americans back to work through the transition to a clean energy economy. After a Democratic primary in which every major candidate put forth a detailed climate change action plan, Democratic voters are demanding that the topic is at the forefront of the campaign. Furthermore, a summer of climate-fueled natural disasters has further necessitated that candidates discuss what’s happening and offer solutions that prepare Americans for a warming planet as well as mitigate the effects of climate change.
Failing to discuss the climate crisis in-depth, like Donald Trump has, ignores the single greatest threat to the wellbeing of Americans as well as to the economy. The Biden/Harris campaign hasn’t missed an opportunity to talk about what climate change means to all Americans and how the solutions to overcome it are an opportunity to build a safer and more equitable future. As the former Vice President said at an event in Miami recently,
“We’re going to meet the threat of climatechange and invest in strengthening climate resilience where we are already dealing with the existential threat of climatechange — stronger and more frequent hurricanes, rising tides, and flooding. That’s not in some distant future in Miami and South Florida — it’s right now.”
Montana’s Senate race is a toss-up, according to the Cook Political Report, because the popular Democratic governor, Steve Bullock, has managed to put incumbent Senator Steve Daines on the defensive over a deal he orchestrated in which Montana ranchers were to supposed sell $200m in beef to China’s second-largest company, JD.com, and the company was going to build a $100m processing plant in Montana.
Virtual organizing has allowed NGOs like NextGen America to focus their attention on rural, young BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) voters — a demographic that has been historically underrepresented in elections in the U.S. These voters have brought climate change and sustainable farming to the forefront of the election in places rural Iowa.
Why this Matters: In 2018, only 2 percent of rural voters ages 18 to 29 voted in the midterm elections.
Thanks to some help from the Lincoln Project and self-inflicted wounds that have put Republican incumbent Senator Dan Sullivan on the defensive, in Alaska the challenger, Dr. Al Gross, an orthopedic surgeon, is making a strong run.
Why This Matters: The Pebble Mine project is opposed by a majority of Alaskans because of the harm it could cause to the extremely valuable Bristol Bay commercial salmon fishery, and to pristine Alaskan wilderness.
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