Just What the Hell is the DNC Thinking?
In the midst of the Democratic National Convention, the Democratic National Committee introduced a platform devoid of language promising to end subsidies for fossil fuels. The DNC took it out of the draft that so many people had worked so hard on and agreed to in advance.
It’s difficult to think of a more effective way to alienate hundreds of thousands, possibly even millions, of Millennial, Generation Z, green and progressive voters.
Just what the hell is the DNC thinking?
Keep in mind, we’re talking about language that was already in the draft of the Democratic Party’s 2020 platform:
“Democrats support eliminating tax breaks and subsidies for fossil fuels, and will fight to defend and extend tax incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy.”
Which was similar to what the Democratic Party adopted in its 2016 platform:
“Democrats believe the tax code must reflect our commitment to a clean energy future by eliminating special tax breaks and subsidies for fossil fuel companies as well as defending and extending tax incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy.”
These kinds of paragraphs are the least of what should be in the party’s platform in relation to addressing the climate crisis.
All the DNC has said publicly so far is that “…including the language in the first place had been a procedural ‘error.’” It has offered zero explanation as to why it was considered an error or by whom.
Environmental groups are livid. Understandably.
Greenpeace Executive Director Annie Leonard summed up the anger and consternation concisely: “We are nearing global tipping points on climate, fires and extreme weather are killing people and devastating the economy, and the DNC can’t even accept an end to public subsidies for making it worse?”
The Sierra Club gave voice to feelings of betrayal – “Instead of reassuring the American people that the Democratic Party is committed to putting public health over corporate polluters, the DNC has quietly endorsed Trump’s recklessness.”
Even as the DNC took the red pen to one of young, green and progressive voters’ key concerns, centrist and conservative Democrats have bemoaned the fact that so few young people vote and that progressives might not go to the polls.
The party’s consternation is misplaced. It should look in the mirror, instead.
Furthermore, Democrats are engaged in voter shaming, telling young voters and progressives that if they sit out the election or vote third party they’ll essentially be voting for Trump.
I’ve been saying the same kinds of things.
While I am a green progressive and stalwart Bernie Sanders supporter, I’ll vote Biden/Harris on November 3. As I’ve written repeatedly, priority #1 has to be ridding this nation of Trump, his enablers and their autocratic proclivities, and we can’t afford to take the risk of another four years of them by not voting or voting third party.
I still believe what I’ve said, more strongly than ever. But, c’mon DNC. Seriously!
And, again… WHY?
Why create this issue and exacerbate fissures in the shaky alliance between young people, environmental groups, progressives and the Democratic Party?
Some sources suggest the DNC’s flip-flop is tied to its approval a couple of years ago of a “… resolution from Chair Tom Perez that reversed a DNC policy prohibiting it from accepting contributions from fossil fuel PACs.”
I certainly hope that’s not the case, but at this point I gotta say: the DNC has not given young voters or progressives much reason to believe otherwise.
Thankfully, Joe Biden’s campaign immediately reaffirmed its dedication to eliminating the exorbitant subsidies that fossil fuels industries and companies have been receiving year after year for decades.
Stef Feldman, policy director for the Biden campaign said, “Vice President Biden’s commitment to ending fossil fuel subsidies remains as steadfast as it was when he outlined this position in the bold climate plan he laid out last year. He will demand a worldwide ban on fossil fuel subsidies and lead the world by example, eliminating fossil fuel subsidies in the United States during the first year of his presidency.”
I sure hope so.
Look, DNC, you want young and progressive voters? Pay attention to what we’re saying. Take action to address our concerns. Do not undo what you’ve already promised. Do right by us.
Meanwhile, if you’re wondering how to regain some faith, there’s a quick and easy solution.
Put the anti-fossil-fuel language back in the platform. Now.
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Featured image graphic by Pete Linforth via Pixabay.