Bernie Sanders is ending his presidential campaign, he announced on Wednesday.
The Vermont independent senator’s 2020 bid started off strong. He narrowly missed first place in Iowa before picking up wins in New Hampshire and Nevada. All the while, his campaign continued to rake in millions in small-dollar donations and pack rallies full of supporters as he ascended to national front-runner status amid a crowded Democratic field.
Running as a progressive insurgent against Hillary Clinton in 2016, Sanders popularized ideas like “Medicare for All.” In 2020, however, a number of candidates backed similar policies, and he faced another prominent progressive in Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who was the first to propose canceling some student debt in April.
Sanders followed with a more far-reaching plan of his own in June. Warren surged above Sanders in the fall, right up until he suffered a heart attack in October. That — along with the high-profile endorsement by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., — revived his national polling numbers, and he remained in second place until Biden’s dismal fourth-place showing in Iowa, which propelled Sanders to front-runner status.
In his 2020 bid, the senator worked to broaden his support with Latino voters, and his coalition grew more diverse because of it. But despite years of outreach to increase his popularity among black voters, Sanders failed to earn their votes in large numbers. He also lost some of his white working-class supporters to Biden, a fracture of his coalition that cost him crucial votes in states like Michigan.
Sanders also stumbled with women voters, facing accusations of sexism in January after tensions between his and Warren’s campaigns spilled out into the open. The two progressives had largely remained allies while campaigning for the nomination, but a series of leaks to the media from aides and supporters of both senators accusing the other camp of dirty tricks and lying culminated in Warren saying in a statement that Sanders once told her he didn’t think a woman could win the presidency.
Sanders denied the claim, but he was hit with further criticism of his supporters — dubbed the “Bernie Bros” — after female union leaders in Nevada who spoke out against his candidacy said they were attacked by his fans.
His campaign officially stalled in South Carolina. Fueled by a crucial endorsement from Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., Biden won the Palmetto State decisively. The moderate wing of the party then consolidated around him — Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg both dropped out of the race and endorsed him — and Biden won 10 of 14 states on Super Tuesday.
A week later, on March 10, Biden dominated in five of the six states that voted, including Michigan, one of Sanders’ biggest 2016 victories, to grow his delegate lead over the Vermont senator. Sanders’ substantial losses in Florida, Illinois and Arizona on March 17 put Biden on an insurmountable path to the Democratic nomination.
A day after those contests, and with the next voting night weeks away, Sanders’ campaign manager Faiz Shakir wrote that the candidate was “going to be having conversations with supporters to assess his campaign. In the immediate term, however, he is focused on the government response to the coronavirus outbreak and ensuring that we take care of working people and the most vulnerable.”
In a message to supporters, Shakir was more pointed.
“No sugarcoating it, last night did not go the way we wanted,” he said of the March 17 losses. “And while our campaign has won the battle of ideas, we are losing the battle over electability to Joe Biden.”
Repost from the New York Times [Editor: Playing both “sides” and giving in to the supposed inevitability of crude by rail, this quote from the article: “Anticipating criticism from backers of the project that her opposition would cost construction jobs, she pledged to soon detail a clean energy policy that would put thousands of Americans to work repairing leaky existing pipelines and improving train tracks that carry oil by rail.” See Sen. Bernie Sanders’ unequivocal view on Keystone XL. – RS]
Hillary Clinton Says She Opposes Keystone Pipeline
By Trip Gabriel, September 22, 2015 5:35 pm ET
Hillary Rodham Clinton said on Tuesday that she opposed building the Keystone XL oil pipeline, revealing her position on an issue that divides two Democratic constituencies, organized labor and environmentalists, and that she has long declined to address.
In announcing her opposition to the project, a litmus test for grass-roots environmentalists and which her rivals for the Democratic nomination had already opposed, Mrs. Clinton said that the pipeline was “a distraction from the important work we have to do to combat climate change.”
She declared her position during a campaign appearance in Iowa and on the day Pope Francis, who has challenged the world to act decisively on climate change, arrived in Washington amid a burst of attention. An aide to Mrs. Clinton said that the campaign had briefed the White House ahead of her announcement.
Mrs. Clinton said that building the nearly 1,200-mile pipeline, which would carry heavily polluting oil from Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast, was not “in the best interest of what we need to do to combat climate change.”
Anticipating criticism from backers of the project that her opposition would cost construction jobs, she pledged to soon detail a clean energy policy that would put thousands of Americans to work repairing leaky existing pipelines and improving train tracks that carry oil by rail.
There are “a lot more jobs from my perspective on a North American clean energy agenda than you would ever get from one pipeline crossing the border,” she said.
Energy and policy experts have long said that the battle over Keystone XL is chiefly political, because the pipeline would have little effect on either climate change or the United States job market. A State Department analysis last year found the pipeline would not significantly add to carbon pollution, because the oil was already reaching refineries by other pipelines and by rail.
Asked repeatedly about the pipeline since she declared her candidacy this spring, Mrs. Clinton has said that because she initiated a review of the project while secretary of state, it was inappropriate for her to weigh in while the Obama administration studied the issue. While a member of the administration in 2010, she said she was inclined to approve it.
She declined to address the issue even when she rolled out the first phase of a plan in July to produce a third of the nation’s electricity from renewable sources like wind and solar by 2027.
“If it is undecided when I become president, I will answer your question,” Mrs. Clinton told a New Hampshire voter at the time who pressed her on the Keystone question.
She was criticized by Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a staunch pipeline opponent, who said, “I have a hard time understanding that response.”
Last week, Mrs. Clinton moved away from her careful neutrality, telling voters that she was “putting the White House on notice” that she would announce her position shortly, “because I can’t wait.”
In a statement on Tuesday, Mr. Sanders said he was glad Mrs. Clinton “finally has made a decision, and I welcome her opposition to the pipeline.”
Environmental groups also applauded Mrs. Clinton. “Secretary Clinton’s recent clean energy proposal, coupled with her opposition to drilling in the Arctic Ocean and now to Keystone XL, is both inspiring and exciting,” the League of Conservation Voters said in a statement.
Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor seeking the Republican nomination, said on Twitter that Mrs. Clinton’s pipeline opposition means she “favors environmental extremists over U.S. jobs.”
US taxpayers subsidising world’s biggest fossil fuel companies
Shell, ExxonMobil and Marathon Petroleum got subsidises granted by politicians who received significant campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry, Guardian investigation reveals
By Damian Carrington and Harry Davies, 12 May 2015 07.00 EDT
The world’s biggest and most profitable fossil fuel companies are receiving huge and rising subsidies from US taxpayers, a practice slammed as absurd by a presidential candidate given the threat of climate change.
A Guardian investigation of three specific projects, run by Shell, ExxonMobil and Marathon Petroleum, has revealed that the subsidises were all granted by politicians who received significant campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry.
The Guardian has found that:
A proposed Shell petrochemical refinery in Pennsylvania is in line for $1.6bn (£1bn) in state subsidy, according to a deal struck in 2012 when the company made an annual profit of $26.8bn.
ExxonMobil’s upgrades to its Baton Rouge refinery in Louisiana are benefitting from $119m of state subsidy, with the support starting in 2011, when the company made a $41bn profit.
A jobs subsidy scheme worth $78m to Marathon Petroleum in Ohio began in 2011, when the company made $2.4bn in profit.
“At a time when scientists tell us we need to reduce carbon pollution to prevent catastrophic climate change, it is absurd to provide massive taxpayer subsidies that pad fossil-fuel companies’ already enormous profits,” said senator Bernie Sanders, who announced on 30 April he is running for president.
Sanders, with representative Keith Ellison, recently proposed an End Polluter Welfare Act, which they say would cut $135bn of US subsidies for fossil fuel companies over the next decade. “Between 2010 and 2014, the oil, coal, gas, utility, and natural resource extraction industries spent $1.8bn on lobbying, much of it in defence of these giveaways,” according to Sanders and Ellison.
“Subsidies to fossil fuel companies are completely inappropriate in this day and age,” said Stephen Kretzmann, executive director of Oil Change International, an NGO that analyses the costs of fossil fuels. OCI found in 2014 that US taxpayers were subsidising fossil fuel exploration and production alone by $21bn a year. In 2009, President Barack Obama called on the G20 to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies but since then US federal subsidies have risen by 45%.
Tax credits, defined as a subsidy by the World Trade Organisation, are a key route of support for the fossil fuel industry. Using the subsidy tracker tool created by the Good Jobs First group, the Guardian examined some of the biggest subsidies for specific projects.
Shell’s proposed $4bn plant in Pennsylvania is set to benefit from tax credits of $66m a year for 25 years. Shell has bought the site and has 10 supply contracts in place lasting up to 20 years, including from fracking companies extracting shale gas in the Marcellus shale field. The deal was struck by the then Republican governor, Tom Corbett, who received over $1m in campaign donations from the oil and gas industry. According to Guardian analysis of data compiled by Common Cause Pennsylvania, Shell have spent $1.2m on lobbying in Pennsylvania since 2011.
A Shell spokesman said: “Shell supports and endorses incentive programmes provided by state and local authorities that improve the business climate for capital investment, economic expansion and job growth. Shell would not have access to these incentive programmes without the support and approval from the representative state and local jurisdictions.”
ExxonMobil’s Baton Rouge refinery is the second-largest in the US. Since 2011, it has been benefitting from exemptions from industrial taxes, worth $118.9m over 10 years, according to the Good Jobs First database. The Republican governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal has expressed his pride in attracting investment from ExxonMobil. In state election campaigns between 2003 and 2013, he received 231 contributions from oil and gas companies and executives totalling $1,019,777, according to a list compiled by environmental groups.
A spokesman for ExxonMobil said: “ExxonMobil will not respond to Guardian inquiries because of its lack of objectivity on climate change reporting demonstrated by its campaign against companies that provide energy necessary for modern life, including newspapers.”
The Guardian is running a campaign asking the world’s biggest health charities, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, to sell their fossil fuel investments on the basis that it is misguided to invest in companies dedicated to finding more oil, gas and coal when current reserves are already several times greater than can be safely burned. Many philanthropic organisations have already divested from fossil fuels, including the Rockefeller Brothers Fund whose wealth derives from Standard Oil, which went on to become ExxonMobil.
A spokesman for Marathon Petroleum said: “The tax credit recognises the enormous contribution we make to the Ohio economy through the taxes we pay and the well-paying jobs we maintain. We have more than doubled the 100 new jobs we committed to create.” The spokesman said the company paid billions of dollars in income and other taxes every year across the US.
“Big oil, gas, and coal have huge influence on politicians and governments and they get that influence the old fashioned way – they buy it,” said Kretzmann. “Through campaign finance, lobbying, advertising and superpac spending, the industry has many ways to influence candidates and government officials seeking re-election.”
He said fossil fuel subsidies were endemic in the US: “Every single well, pipeline, refinery, coal and gas plant in the country is heavily subsidised. Big Fossil’s lobbyists have done their jobs well for the last century.”
Ben Schreiber, at Friends of the Earth US, said. “There is a vibrant discussion about the best way to keep fossil fuels in the ground – from carbon taxation to divestment – but ending state and federal corporate welfare for polluters is one of the easiest places to start.”
Schreiber also defended subsidies for renewable energy: “Fossil fuels are a mature technology while renewable energy is nascent and still developing. It makes sense to subsidise technologies that are going to help solve climate change, but not to do the same for those that are causing the problem.”