As one of Bernie’s delegates, I’m disappointed so far. But we’re still fighting hard.
By Bill McKibben
June 27, 2016
The Clinton campaign was ready to acknowledge serious problems: We need fair trade policy, inequality is a horrible problem, and unchecked climate change will wreck the planet.But when it came to specific policy changes, they often balked. Amendments against the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and backing Medicare for all failed, with all the Clinton delegates voting against.
At which point we got (about 11 p.m., in a half-deserted hotel ballroom) to the climate section of the platform, and that’s where things got particularly obvious. We all agreed that America should be operating on 100 percent clean energy by 2050, but then I proposed, in one amendment after another, a series of ways we might actually get there.A carbon tax? Voted down 7-6 (one of the DNC delegates voted with each side). A ban on fracking? Voted down 7-6. An effort to keep fossils in the ground, at least on federal land? Voted down 7-6.A measure to mandate that federal agencies weigh the climate impact of their decisions? Voted down 7-6. Even a plan to keep fossil fuel companies from taking private land by eminent domain, voted down 7-6. (We did, however, reach unanimous consent on more bike paths!)
In other words, the Clinton campaign is at this point rhetorically committed to taking on our worst problems, but not willing to say how. Which is the slightly cynical way politicians have addressed issues for too long—and just the kind of slickness that the straightforward Sanders campaign rejected.
Happily, the process is only one-third complete. And Team Sanders has claimed some victories: a strong stand against the death penalty, for instance, and remarkable in-depth language on Native American rights. Now the platform discussion heads to Orlando, where 187 delegates will weigh it in more depth. And the issues on which they still can’t agree can then be raised on the convention floor in Philadelphia.
Oh boy! More bike paths! Needed, very useful, AND something suburban elites can enjoy! But only a baby step in the right direction on climate change.
The truth is, we’re in a world of hurt. That hurt—economic, social, environmental—is driving the unsettling politics of our moment. That hurt needs to be addressed.
I’m curious to know their rationale why even “a measure to mandate that federal agencies weigh the climate impact of their decisions” was judged to be unacceptable by the Clinton Camp? That only seems like common sense. Instead of common sense we get an extra helping of overcautious playing everything safe?
President Obama campaigned on reforming the US healthcare system, so he arrived in office with a mandate to make ambitious reforms. But without proposing programs during the campaign the mandate for them will be absent after the election.