Fossil Fuel Phaseout is Popular

In late August,, Bernie Sanders’ proposal for a Green New Deal heavily featured his plans to take on the fossil fuel industry. He joins a growing number of 2020 presidential contenders who are proposing to phase out coal, oil, and gas production and to put workers and communities first in a transition to a new economy. 

Of the 18 major Democrats remaining in the race, sixteen have taken the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge to reject campaign contributions above $200 from fossil fuel company executives, PACs, and lobbyists; thirteen support ending new fossil fuel leasing on public lands; and twelve support eliminating all fossil fuel production subsidies and tax giveaways.

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The Workplace Democracy Plan, Explained (Part 2)

Last week, we published part one of a two-part analysis of Bernie Sanders’ “Workplace Democracy Plan.” The eighteen-point plan, released in mid-August, proposes a wide-ranging overhaul to American labor law that would change the face of work in America.

Here’s the final nine points of his plan, explained. We’re getting into some of the heftier parts of his plan, so settle in for some reading. Overall, the second half of Sanders’s plan continues to be a radical step forward. Most importantly it would strongly strengthen the positions of workers to wield power through collective action while making it harder for employers to suppress union activity. It would also ensure that all employees have protections that are sorely lacking. Where the plan falls down is in a half hearted attempt to respond to some of the centrist criticisms toward Medicare for All. 

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Comparing July Candidate Support in the 2020 Democratic Primary: Building Support Rankings

In an unwieldy field with upwards of 25 candidates, asking survey respondents to choose a single candidate greatly limits our understanding voters’ preferences. This is especially true early in the race when voters are actively considering several candidates. Instead, what could one infer if surveys asked voters to rank the candidate field rather than merely ask for a top choice? For example, would candidates like Senators Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren float to the top? Or would former Vice President Joe Biden appear even more dominant when taking into account ranked preferences?

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Americans Want to Reallocate Military Spending Toward Diplomacy

While Kamala Harris’ attack on Joe Biden’s busing record drew the most media attention after the first Democratic debate, one of the most overlooked disputes from the debate concerned foreign policy.

When asked about whether he’d end the war in Afghanistan, Rep. Tim Ryan argued, “We must have our military engaged to the extent they need to be.” Immediately, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard jumped on his answer, countering, “We have to bring our troops home from Afghanistan.”

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The Workplace Democracy Plan, Explained (Part 1)

Last week, the Sanders campaign unveiled a wide-ranging plan to overhaul American labor law. If enacted it would be the most dramatic change to labor law since the 1947 passage of the anti-union Taft-Hartley Act, and would arguably match the changes from the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA, or “Wagner Act”) in scope and ambition.

But what does his plan actually mean for workers? Well, we’ve got you covered. Here’s part one of a breakdown of the eighteen points in the Workplace Democracy Plan. We’ll start with the first nine points of the plan, and explain it point-by-point.

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A Minimum Wage for Maximum Results

Congress has not raised the federal minimum wage since 2007 and today it remains at a meager $7.25 per hour. This makes it the longest period of time without an increase in the minimum wage’s 81-year history. As inflation erodes the purchasing power of the dollar every year, the minimum wage drifts further from a realistic, livable wage. 

The Fight for $15 began in 2012 when a few hundred fast food workers in New York City walked off the job to demand $15 per hour and the right to unionize. Now, a once radical idea of a $15 minimum is becoming reality, in states like New York, California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, and the District of Columbia.  

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NYC’s “Green New Deal” Law Should be the Law in Your City, Too

In New York City, the top source of climate pollution is the energy use of big buildings. To combat this, the city recently enacted a transformative law requiring buildings to slash emissions 40 percent by 2030 and over 80 percent by 2050. Meeting these requirements will involve upgrading buildings to high energy efficiency, which, in practice, can require everything from switching to LED lights and better insulation to temperature sensors and controls tied to better HVAC systems. 

The new law covers the city’s 50,000 largest buildings—those over 25,000 square feet. Starting in 2024, these buildings will need to get below pollution-per-square-foot limits tailored to specific types of buildings. These pollution limits will ratchet down in 2030, requiring more pollution cuts, and then again in later years. By 2050, the law will achieve 80 percent pollution reductions through energy efficiency (in combination with a greening electric grid). 

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Fossil Fuel Phaseout is Popular

Last week, Bernie Sanders’ proposal for a Green New Deal heavily featured his plans to take on the fossil fuel industry. He joins a growing number of 2020 presidential contenders who are proposing to phase out coal, oil, and gas production and to put workers and communities first in a transition to a new economy. 

Of the 18 major Democrats remaining in the race, sixteen have taken the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge to reject campaign contributions above $200 from fossil fuel company executives, PACs, and lobbyists; thirteen support ending new fossil fuel leasing on public lands; and twelve support eliminating all fossil fuel production subsidies and tax giveaways.

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2020 Democratic Electorate Shows Broad Agreement on Priorities

As part of our ongoing analysis of the 2020 Democratic primary, we asked a large sample of Democrats to allocate 100 points to different characteristics they want to see in the Democratic nominee. Giving respondents a fixed amount of points to allocate reveals priorities not easy to capture with standard polling questions or even ranking. Last fall, we wrote a series of posts using this method, which revealed that Democratic voters’ priorities are surprisingly uniform, despite the fact that the party has a demographically and ideologically diverse base.

The characteristics that respondents ranked included personal characteristics like past experience in politics, candidate demographics, policy positions like taxing the wealthy and climate action, and characteristics related to the candidate’s perceived electability.

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One Reason We Haven't Passed Gun Reform: The Senate

The lack of action to stem gun violence is one of the most tragic consequences of the dysfunction in our political system, and over the last several weeks there has been another string of mass shootings connected to white supremacist and misogynist ideologies. Much of the lack of action can be explained by the simple fact that Republican leadership has no interest whatsoever in protecting the public’s health or safety. That’s not the whole story however, and like most issues, American’s views on gun control are fairly complex. 

We explore this using a survey of 2,000 adults conducted by Pew Research in August 2016, which contained a battery of questions on various gun control proposals. Pew makes a lot of their survey microdata available to the public (which you can get from their website), and we used this to model opinions in each state using a method called multilevel regression and poststratification (MRP). The state-level estimates of support for each issue are shown in the interactive map above. 

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