How the Democrat Establishment Assimilated the Enviro-Radicals
One of the progressive fronts on which the Progressive movement within America's left has attempted to make headway to power is on climate change legislation. Thanks to generous liberal donors, an education system that bows to consensus rather than debate, and gullible media organizations desperate for that hot new youth movement to attract viewers, these new environmentalists have had endless coverage despite their agenda largely being a loser at the ballot box. However, after a whole primary campaign of flexing about their influence on the youth vote, their leaders have officially bowed and kissed the ring of the Democratic Party. The Sunrise Movement, led by Varshini Prakash and their congressional standard-bearer, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), have officially yielded and joined in with the corporate Democratic establishment to take part in a "climate change task force" of Bernie Sanders– and Joe Biden–supporters ahead of the Democratic National Convention.
Busting Down Nancy's Doors
Those who can think back to those heady days of late 2018 after the midterm election might remember scenes of yellow- and green-clad children and adolescents crowding hallways and offices on Capitol Hill. These activists, affiliated with the Sunrise Movement, were trying to force the Democratic caucuses in the House and Senate to adopt the Green New Deal (GND). This development was duly reported on November 13 by Ryan Grim and Briahna Joy Gray of The Intercept and echoed elsewhere. Gray would later become the national spokeswoman for the Bernie 2020 campaign. In Sunrise's tweets, Prakash and Ocasio-Cortez took turns before entering Capitol Hill standing on a folding table as the latter said, "I'm gonna take the table because we are busting down the doors."
At the actual sit-in that day, Emma Vigeland (who by what I'm sure was total coincidence is also Grim's co-star on The Young Turks' Rebel Headquarters YouTube channel) interviewed Ocasio-Cortez as journos from CNN looked on. She asked questions like this: "Can you talk about how your Marshall Plan for the Green New Deal would actually jump-start the economy?"
Emma Vigeland interviews AOC during the Capitol Hill protest. (Video link for embed)
Ocasio-Cortez and her three woman-of-color progressive colleagues, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, and Ilhan Omar. known as "The Squad." were at the time trying to force the GND down the throats of Pelosi and the broader Democratic Party. This proposal, just like everything about the new green movement, was an exercise in political theater. The actual Green New Deal wasn't even public until released on February 7, 2019, three months later. But that wouldn't matter for the media, because obviously, if all of these fresh-faced kids were sitting on the floor of Pelosi's office, they must really be changing something. Prakash was profiled by Vice a few days later including aesthetic photos worthy of Vogue. A month later, Prakash was given a guest op-ed in Teen Vogue. She was later interviewed by The New Yorker, and Washington governor Jay Inslee wrote her profile in Time magazine's "Next 100" in 2019.
The Climate Non-Debate that Never Happened
The best decision of the Democratic National Committee in 2019, perhaps the only good decision, was to reject the demand by Sunrise and its allies for a "climate debate" as part of the 2020 presidential primaries. Conveniently, their protest in June 2019, situated at the DNC headquarters, was covered by Ryan Grim again. Those confused might ask: "Isn't a climate change debate what is needed, given the degree to which Americans across the political spectrum disagree about anthropogenic global warming?" Rest assured that this was not what they were talking about. The debate was going to be about not the science, but rather for the candidates to mimic the emoting of the young protesters on the national change. Tom Perez of the DNC, perhaps in a rare moment of strategic foresight, recognized that if such an event were to be televised, many of the candidates would be exposed as eco frauds — faux environmentalists that accept fossil fuel donations. Such a disaster had already befallen one prospective candidate who had been a DNC rising star. In the spring of 2019, Beto O'Rourke was repeatedly called out for accepting donations from energy executives. The day of his announcement, the pro-GND news site Grist.org began attacking his record. On May 1, Prakash dismissed his climate plan as "moving the goalposts." The hectoring helped take O'Rourke's poll numbers from a high of 9.5% on April 4 all the way back down to 3.8% by the beginning of June, from which he would never recover.
But by September, many of the candidates had agreed to a concession of holding a climate change town hall in lieu of an unsanctioned debate that would have earned the ire of the DNC. The first of them on CNN on September 4 was a seven-hour massive ratings dud. The next week, I wrote an article in The Federalist exposing it for having been loaded almost exclusively with activists from the Sunrise Movement, 350.org, and other affiliated groups among the questioners. Some of the activists had their affiliation masked by CNN, as they were labeled "doctoral candidate" or "progressive organizer."
Ol' Joe's Democrat sheepdog Jamboree
The climate activists consistently failed to move the needle in any of the polls, as Joe Biden remained the leader for most of the polling periods apart from February–March 2020, when Sanders took the lead after victories in New Hampshire and Nevada. On January 8, Sunrise formally endorsed Sanders. As late as March 9, Sunrise was "mobilizing to stop Joe Biden," calling for strikes and moral protests. A profile in Boston Magazine claimed that "Varshini Prakash is trying to save Boston from Climate Change." But like all else with the movement, this was just cosmetic posturing, as by April, Sunrise had signed on to a letter distributed by NextGen America outlining the conditions for Biden to earn their support. NextGen's founder and president is Tom Steyer, a billionaire and former rival candidate of Sanders and Biden.
Coincidentally, Steyer endorsed Biden the very same day, perfectly encapsulating how this was, like all the other moves by the faux environmentalists, empty rhetoric. On April 23, Ocasio-Cortez officially tipped her hand and revealed in an Instagram livestream with Fat Joe that she would be voting for Joe Biden. With both her and Prakash joining the climate change task force, the full circle of progressives being sheep-dogged by the DNC has been upgraded. In 2016, Bernie got five delegates to the DNC platform committee ahead of the convention, including Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Cornel West, and green guru Bill McKibben. Putting aside the fact that their ideas are terrible combinations of pseudoscience and identity politics, the only function they served was to be the seal of approval by progressive "leaders" for the Hillary Clinton–led ticket that would silence Bernie delegates using noise machines and eventually caused their walkout. Now progressives can look forward to the new youth-infused 2020 version of progressive betrayal as Ocasio-Cortez and Prakash grin for the camera in Milwaukee, if the convention even happens, and think about how awesome it is that Grandpa Joe Biden has such glamorous new pawns.
Ray McCoy is a freelance writer, civil libertarian blogger, and mechanical designer. He lives in Ohio. His work has also been featured in The Federalist American Greatness, AnthonyBLogan.com, and National File.