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

Amy Harder, author of Generate
13 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Climate change goes mainstream in presidential debate

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty

The most notable part of Thursday’s presidential debate on climate change was the fact it was included as a topic and assumed as a fact.

The big picture: This is the first time in U.S. presidential history that climate change was a featured issue at a debate. It signals how the problem has become part of the fabric of our society. More extreme weather, like the wildfires ravaging Colorado, is pushing the topic to the front-burner.

Finally, a real debate

Photo: Morry Gash/AP

A more disciplined President Trump held back from the rowdy interruptions at tonight's debate in Nashville, while making some assertions so outlandish that Joe Biden chuckled and even closed his eyes.

  • A Trump campaign adviser told Axios: "He finally listened." 

The result: A real debate.

Biden to Trump: "I have not taken a penny from any foreign source ever in my life"

Former VP Joe Biden pushed back Thursday against allegations from President Trump, saying he had never profited from foreign sources. "Nothing was unethical," Biden told debate moderator Kristen Welker about his son Hunter's work in Ukraine while he was vice president.

Why it matters: Earlier on Thursday, Hunter Biden's former business partner, Tony Bobulinski, released a statement saying Joe Biden's claims that he never discussed overseas business dealings with his son were "false."