Bernie Sanders Reveals His Own 'Green New Deal.' It's Just as Unworkable as Ocasio-Cortez's


When one of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ senior advisers was interviewed by The Hill and implied that Sen. Elizabeth Warren wasn’t stealing any of Bernie’s thunder by saying the two weren’t competing for the same pool of voters, I wonder how hard those involved had to keep from laughing.

“Their bases really are not co-extensive. His base is much more diverse, much more working class,” Jeff Weaver said. Chortles in the room were stifled as this was uttered, from all available evidence. Outside of it, well, probably not so much.

Let’s face some facts: Bernie Sanders is very much not the flavor of the moment, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that Elizabeth Warren is. If she’s not drawing a base which “is much more diverse, much more working class,” that hasn’t hindered her ascent in the polls.

And while some of that is due to Sen. Kamala Harris’ rise being arrested (pun unintended) by her second debate performance, a lot of it has come from poaching Sanders voters.

Part of this is because Sanders doesn’t have the novelty he had back in 2016. So here’s a way to reintroduce some novelty into the campaign: something called “The Green New Deal!” Nobody’s thought of that one before.

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The plan would involve “100 percent renewable energy for electricity and transportation by no later than 2030 and complete decarbonization by 2050 at latest.”

Here’s the thing, though: For a guy who wants to actually be president, Sanders’ Green New Deal 2.0 is just as unworkable as the first version.

So, as you all know by now, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposed Green New Deal has about as much chance of passing either house of Congress as Vermin Supreme’s promise of a free pony does. There’s a reason for that: it’s vague, it doesn’t accomplish any legislative goals and if it did, those legislative goals could cost as much as $93 trillion.

But Bernie’s got a better plan. And the advertised price-tag is, um, only $16.3 trillion. It’s a veritable bargain. It’s the state-college version of the Green New Deal.

Do you think that the Green New Deal is doable?

So, what do we get for that price?

The idea of a new Green New Deal is actually a pretty powerful one. You get the momentum of the old proposed accord with the additional benefit of, say, no language about cow farts. Or with air travel to Hawaii. See? Benefits.

This new plan solidifies Sanders’ position as the campaign’s biggest spender: “July Free Beacon analysis found that Sanders had announced $36 trillion in spending proposals since the start of the campaign,” Charles Fain Lehman writes in the Washington Free Beacon.

“His $16 trillion not only brings this total over the $50 trillion mark, but sails past the climate proposals of other candidates — topping Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (N.Y.) ambitious $10 trillion plan.”

But at least this Green New Deal will realize that the only realistic fuel that isn’t fossilized is nuclear and get — oh, wait, never mind.

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“This plan will stop the building of new nuclear power plants and find a real solution to our existing nuclear waste problem. It will also enact a moratorium on nuclear power plant license renewals in the United States to protect surrounding communities,” Sanders website reads.

“We know that the toxic waste byproducts of nuclear plants are not worth the risks of the technology’s benefit, especially in light of lessons learned from the Fukushima meltdown and the Chernobyl disaster. To get to our goal of 100 percent sustainable energy, we will not rely on any false solutions like nuclear, geoengineering, carbon capture and sequestration, or trash incinerators.”

Oh good.

Because wind, solar, geothermal and hydropower can meet the demand left behind by eliminating both carbon and nuclear. (Pro tip: They can’t.)

Because those things will stop two of the three biggest carbon dioxide polluters in the world from polluting. (Pro tip: They won’t.)

Because this will be a net benefit for the U.S. economy. After all, Sanders says that it will pay for itself within 15 years. (Pro tip: Whenever a Democrat says something will pay for itself through reductions in the defense budget, it won’t pay for itself.)

A Sanders administration will do this through “[m]aking the fossil fuel industry pay for their pollution, through litigation, fees, and taxes, and eliminating federal fossil fuel subsidies.” (Pro tip: litigation often doesn’t work out how you expect and there’s no way the rest can pay for itself over 15 years.)

Yes, the price tag is less, but that’s just what the candidate says the price tag is. You can usually add a solid 200 percent to that when it’s applied in the real world. But who cares? It’ll create 20 million new jobs, the Sanders campaign vouchsafes, so don’t you worry about that.

Please. This is one of the worst stunts I’ve seen by a candidate who claims to care about an issue actually doing something about said issue.

It’s a plan which will mostly shift the world’s carbon burden off to countries like China and India, which don’t really figure into Sanders’ planning.

It’s a plan which will be paid for by “[c]ollecting new income tax revenue from the 20 million new jobs created by the plan” and “[m]aking the wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share.” (No, really, he included that in the scheme.)

I have no doubt that whatever advantage Sanders will pull from this will be wiped out in days. There’s no doubt Warren will come out with her own version of the plan — probably something like the “Avocado New Deal” — which will be just as devastating in impact but sound a little bit more reasonable. And I have no doubt it’ll poach a few more Sanders voters.

But “[t]heir bases really are not co-extensive,” right, Mr. Weaver?

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture