Jun 13, 2019

The struggle to write the Green New Deal

Ben Geman, author of Generate

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at a Green New Deal rally. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Atlantic's Robinson Meyer has behind-the-scenes info on a newly prominent think tank's effort to fill in the policy blanks of the Green New Deal.

Why it matters: The sweeping template pushed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is firmly in the Democratic conversation — even the party's 2020 frontrunner Joe Biden's climate plan praises it.

Where it stands: The piece explores the young lefty think tank New Consensus' ongoing work to transform the GND into detailed proposals — and their struggles.

  • One part that caught my eye explores what I consider to be a weakness in the GND movement: the failure (so far) to get many major unions on board.

Details: Here's some of Meyer's reporting on a March meeting that New Consensus convened with activists and experts:

"Todd Vachon, a labor-studies researcher at Rutgers University who attended the meeting, told me he was surprised that no union officials were present.
"'We were kind of there, looking around and saying, where are the labor people?' he said. 'There weren’t really any active presidents of unions—people who have the authority to speak on behalf of an organization. It was academics and researchers on one side, and grassroots organizations on the other.'"

What's new: More recently, as Meyer notes, the influential Service Employees International Union backed the GND, joining some other unions. But the absence of broader labor support is something to watch going forward.

Go deeper: The state of the Green New Deal heading into 2020

Go deeper

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