Warren’s “Empowering American Workers and Raising Wages” Plan Rises to Sanders’s Challenge

In August and September of 2019, Data for Progress covered Bernie Sanders’s Workplace Democracy Plan, a sweeping plan that set the bar high for presidential candidates who wish to court worker support and help grow the labor movement. (Check out parts 1 and 2 of the overview.) As our polling shows, the Sanders plan is broadly popular.

But if Sanders threw the gauntlet, then Elizabeth Warren is picking it up. Here we’ll present an overview of what’s different between the plans, what’s the same, and what’s absent in her “Empowering American Workers and Raising Wages” plan. Overall, Warren makes important and detailed additions to Sanders’s plan, but hers is also missing a crucial part: universal just-cause protection.

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Elizabeth Warren’s Environmental Justice Plan is Popular

Today, Elizabeth Warren released her plan to center justice in the fight against climate change. The platform, one of the longest and most thorough drafted in a policy-heavy campaign, builds on decades of organizing by Indigenous nations and communities of color. In the plan, the Senator commits to uphold the Principles of Environmental Justice drafted at the 1991 National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit—a touchstone document in the long fight against environmental racism. The plan would deepen and expand commitments made by the Clinton and Obama administrations to address environmental injustice in the day-to-day work of federal agencies. And, as part of Warren’s broad anti-corruption themed campaign, the plan takes aim at the fossil fuel corporations that have put elected officials on the dole and polluted the climate and our politics by sewing doubt about the scientific truth of global warming. The plan also shows the Senator’s commitment to advancing justice for working families and communities of color—a key pillar of a Green New Deal.

The Warren plan signals a broader shift within the Democratic Party towards a new consensus wherein justice is considered a core tenet of climate and environmental policy. Centrist politicians, think tanks and green groups have, for far too long, pushed an ideology of carbon supremacy—the notion that pollution and emissions should be isolated from broader questions of jobs, infrastructure, civil rights, Indigenous rights and justice. In February, the Washington Post editorial board said that serious policymakers should not “muddle” decarbonization with social programs that “divert money and attention from the primary mission.” And in a widely circulated 11,000-word “Open Letter to Green New Dealers,” Jerry Taylor, the President of the Reaganite Niskanen Center, was incredulous. “The climate is too important to be held hostage to political commitments,” he wrote. To test these rote hypotheses, Data for Progress polled key pieces of the Warren campaign’s environmental justice plan. As it turns out, voters support justice-oriented climate action.t

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