May 14, 2020 - Energy & Environment

The intriguing arrival of the Biden-Sanders task force

In this screengrab taken from JoeBiden.com campaign website, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) endorses Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden
Photo: JoeBiden.com via Getty Images

There are certainly more riveting terms than "task force," but it'll be fascinating to see what comes of the climate task force announced yesterday by former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Catch up fast: Sanders' representatives include high-profile progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who will co-chair the group, and the co-founder of the upstart Sunrise Movement, which hasn't been shy about attacking Biden's climate plan.

What we're watching: That's whether the group, which is supposed to make recommendations to Biden and the Democratic National Committee, will come to an agreement on specific policy measures (as opposed to just broad consensus principles).

Why it matters: There could be real stakes here for Biden.

  • The blessing of AOC and lefty activists could help inspire Sanders' backers who are less than psyched about Biden.
  • But AOC and Sunrise are not shrinking violets, and if the group doesn't find agreement, that could discourage those same voters.

What they're saying: The Trump campaign sees a political opening with the announcement, yesterday calling it evidence that Biden is listening to America's "two leading socialists."

On the other side, AOC — an outsider in Democratic politics — yesterday made sure to explain why she's taking part.

  • "I have always believed that real change happens not with a panel or task force, but in everyday people organizing mass movements to demand change," she tweeted.
  • "Yet we should also commit to showing up everywhere — every space where there are decisions & formative conversations — w/ mvmt voices."

Go deeper: The real importance of Biden's new climate push

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