Biden Begins His Leftward Shift on Climate After Clinching Endorsement from Environmental Group

Posted: Apr 20, 2020 2:00 PM
Biden Begins His Leftward Shift on Climate After Clinching Endorsement from Environmental Group

Source: AP Photo/Matt Rourke

As he navigates the Democratic nomination for president, which he has virtually secured, former vice president Joe Biden clinched a crucial environmental endorsement. The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) works exclusively on issues related to climate change and energy. The group announced their endorsement of the former vice president on Earth Day, no less:

Climate change issues certainly represent roadblocks to securing young, progressive voters, those who may have favored Sens. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Elizabeth Warren in the primary, come the November election. Biden did not outwardly support the Green New Deal during the primary, which led to policy spars with Sens. Sanders and Warren. Since unofficially locking up the nomination, Biden has begun his inevitable shift to the left:

“I have asked my campaign to commence a process to meaningfully engage with more voices from the climate movement — including environmental justice leaders and worker organizations, and collaborate on additional policies in areas ranging from environmental justice to new, concrete goals we can achieve within a decade, to more investments in a clean energy economy,” Biden said in response to LCV’s endorsement, per The Hill.

This shift in rhetoric represents the former vice president’s dilemma in representing the Democratic Party in November; he has to balance his core base of traditional Democratic voters with the growing, and powerful, bloc of young and progressive voters who have begun to take control of the Democratic party. Many in the latter voting group are opposed to Biden’s candidacy on account of him being too moderate. 

Radical policies such as the Green New Deal, which includes a ban on fracking, will not fare well in crucial battleground states, including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, all of which are home to blue-collar energy jobs. The electoral consequences aside, this leftward shift, which will undoubtedly move to other issues as well, represents the former vice president’s severe lack of principles; indeed, Biden’s claim of being the “moderate” option in November is a pipe dream.