Senator Bernie Sanders has a $16 trillion climate plan. And now he has an army of young climate activists ready to support his Democratic presidential candidacy and ensure he brings that plan to the White House.
At the conclusion of a six-week process, the Sunrise Movement’s members voted to endorse Sanders for president. The group said in their announcement they’ll be shifting resources in the field to stump for his bid for the presidency in early primary states and getting volunteers supporting his campaign.
Sunrise Movement burst on the national scene in the wake of the 2018 midterms by staging sit-ins on Capitol Hill demanding the newly minted Democratic House work on a Green New Deal. Protestors were joined by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the group subsequently went on to establish itself as a major player in climate politics. The Sanders endorsement follows a host of Congressional primary endorsements last month and shows Sunrise has aims to reshape national politics around the climate crisis.
The six-week deliberative process, which concluded in the endorsement of Sanders, including a vote by rank-and-file members on whether to endorse a candidate at all. Eighty-five percent of the 3,349 members who voted wanted to endorse a candidate, and three quarters picked Sanders as their choice. Senator Elizabeth Warren—who released her full Green New Deal plan last month after a slew of other climate plans—came in second with 17.4 percent of the vote. “No preference” came in a distant third with 1.85 percent of the vote.
Sunrise praised both Warren and Sanders in their announcement and noted that their political principles call for “No permanent friends, no permanent enemies.” And they thanked Warren for her work on climate and organizing her climate plan around the Green New Deal, but in the end, the people have voted.
Sunrise Movement is the latest climate endorser to support Sanders. Representatives Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and leaders of the U.S. Youth Climate Strike also endorsed Sanders. Ocasio-Cortez has also worked with Sanders on bicameral legislation to declare a climate emergency and a Green New Deal for public housing. Warren also has her fair share of climate endorsers, including Rhiana Gunn-Wright, one of the main architects of the Green New Deal.
And frankly, it’s clear that of all the candidates out there, Warren and Sanders are far and away the ones who get the threat of the climate crisis and understand the radical restructuring of the economy and society needed to address it. So even as Sunrise endorsed one over the other, they also had a message of unity about what their main goal is (emphasis theirs):
“But if Senator Sanders does not win the nomination, the stakes of the climate crisis also demand that we can’t sit this election out. No matter what, we will be steadfast in advocating for the defeat of President Trump and his fossil fuel cronies at the ballot box on November 3rd, 2020.”