May 14, 2020 - Energy & Environment

The intriguing arrival of the Biden-Sanders task force

Ben Geman, author of Generate

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

Go deeper

Updated Jun 2, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden: George Floyd's last words are "a wake-up call for our nation"

Former Vice President Joe Biden meets with clergy members and community activists during a visit to Bethel AME Church in Wilmington, Del. on June 1, 2020. Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images

Vice President Joe Biden is calling George Floyd’s dying words “a wake-up call for our nation,” and criticized President Trump’s decision to unleash tear gas on peaceful protesters outside the White House, in a civil rights speech from Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Biden in the address drew a sharp contrast between himself and Trump, whose first remarks addressing nationwide unrest Monday highlighted law and order, extreme demonstrations of militarized “strength” and other blustery threats.

Trump's troubles grow, spread

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Trump is confronting the most dire political environment of his presidency, with his support dropping fast from Texas to Wisconsin, even among his base of religious and older voters. 

Why it matters: Top Republicans tell Axios that Trump's handling of the nation's civil unrest, including his hasty photo op at St. John's Church after the violent clearing of Lafayette Park, make them much more worried about his chance of re-election than they were one week ago.

Social media takes on world leaders

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Social media companies are finally beginning to take action on posts from world leaders that violate their policies, after years of letting them mostly say whatever they wanted unfiltered to millions of people.

Why it matters: Government officials are among the users most likely to abuse the wide reach and minimal regulation of tech platforms. Mounting pressure to stop harmful content from spreading amid the coronavirus pandemic, racial protests and a looming U.S. election has spurred some companies to finally do something about it.