The Sunrise Movement is working with electoral groups such as Justice Democrats and Climate Hawks Vote to identify progressive primary challengers to moderate incumbents who oppose a Green New Deal.
Excerpt from the Huffington Post
…More than half the Democrats expected to run for president in 2020 slowly endorsed a Green New Deal in some form or another. One poll pegged the number of registered voters who support a Green New Deal at 81 percent, including 57 percent of conservative Republicans.
Touring the country could build a grassroots base for eventual Green New Deal legislation that the last major federal climate bill ― the 2009 cap-and-trade proposal known as the Waxman-Markey bill ― never received.
“The politics have drastically changed since then,” R.L. Miller, the president of the political action committee Climate Hawks Vote, said by email. “Sunrise is a grassroots-driven group, unlike some of the top-down green groups pushing Waxman-Markey, and they have both energy and moral clarity on their side.”
But passion and urgent messaging only go so far, and the Sunrise Movement faces considerable challenges. Labor unions, a necessary constituency for a policy that essentially amounts to an industrial plan, are skeptical of proposals to end fossil fuel use, a source of lucrative contract jobs. The Sunrise Movement’s meteoric ascent was fueled by aggressive protests against potential Green New Deal champions, which risked “burning allies,” according to E&E News. In a competition with immigration, health care and taxes, climate change remains an underdog issue with relatively few vocal champions on the national level despite its ubiquitous threat.
…“The challenge is how to scale it and make it sustainable,” Anthony Leiserowitz, the director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, said of the upcoming Sunrise Movement tour. “One-off rallies in a few cities, for example, might generate a little press and get some temporary action, but the effects are unlikely to last or build sustained support for the policy or, I would argue, build the deeper political power of the climate movement.”
A series of local events might make for a flashy start to the year, but the Sunrise Movement’s 2020 election push won’t end with the monthlong roadshow. The group plans to confront presidential candidates directly, forcing each of the Democratic hopefuls to take a position on the Green New Deal and on whether to accept donations from the fossil fuel industry. It’s also preparing to stage protests at as many Democratic debates as possible ahead of the Democratic National Convention in July 2020.
The Sunrise Movement is working with electoral groups such as Justice Democrats and Climate Hawks Vote to identify progressive primary challengers to moderate incumbents who oppose a Green New Deal. Early polling already shows the group could make a difference. Democratic voters in New York’s 4th Congressional District, a densely populated swath of suburban Long Island, said they would support a primary challenger to popular Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) if she voted against a Green New Deal, according to survey data released last week.
“I feel the Sunrise Movement and their proposed Green New Deal is a genuinely exciting new development,” Ed Maibach, a climate communications researcher at George Mason University, said by email. “If the folks in the Sunrise Movement get out there and sell their idea to Americans before their opponents attempt to shoot it down, 2019 may prove to be an unexpectedly auspicious moment for climate solutions in America.”