Froma Harrop commentary: Hey Gen Z, you're not in charge
Summary: Should Republicans take control of both the House and Senate in the midterms — a distinct possibility — Americans wanting a forceful program to curb climate change may get less than nothing. Politics is not a game for children.
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The Sunrise Movement didn't get what it wanted. Because its young climate activists have been led to believe they are supremely important to the Democratic Party, they are very disappointed that more of their demands were not met in the final infrastructure deal.
"I'm really enraged that we have a Democratic trifecta and they haven't delivered for us yet," Lauren Maunus, 23, Sunrise's advocacy director, told Politico Magazine.
And herein lies the dilemma posed by militants on the left. Their leadership refers to the Democratic Party as "they" rather than "we." And their tantrums against fellow Democrats , if anything, make it harder to get any progressive measures passed.
The Sunrise Movement is a creature of a few House lefties who played, and lost, an extortionate game to tie passage of the popular infrastructure bill to the Build Back Better social spending package. After months of accomplishing neither — while tearing down President Joe Biden's approval ratings and making Democrats look dysfunctional — the infrastructure plan limped over the finish line.
The final product didn't devote as much money to addressing climate change as they (or this writer) would have wanted, but it did include billions for: public transportation, power lines to accommodate renewable energy, a network of electric vehicle recharging stations across the country and more.
Nonetheless, six Sunrise-backed House members staged a protest against it. Sane Democrats should primary every one of them: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, Cori Bush and Jamaal Bowman.
May we suggest a change in tactics? It took a bit of political naivete for Sunrise executive director Varshini Prakash, 28, to tell Politico Magazine in May: "We're kind of at the strongest that we have ever been. We're doing more rallies and demonstrations and actions."
Everyone was very excited about the rallies, demonstrations and actions, but they were directed at Democrats. This didn't stop Democrats from losing a pile of House seats in the 2020 election. Sunrise activists may have helped the opposition through theatrics and the habit of gluing all kinds of woke paraphernalia to their messages.
Five Sunrise exhibitionists recently went on a hunger strike outside the White House, supposedly pressuring Biden to magically deliver them more action on climate. Imagine the worry that those precious bundles would miss a few meals.
Last June, Sunrise leaders planned for members to get arrested outside the White House. Mission accomplished, one of the Sunrisers boomed into a microphone, "What we just did is f---ing amazing. We just shut down the White House!"
Again, this was a Democratic White House , and the protesters, according to Politico, didn't seem to get any demands met. Also, Biden has been as much a tiger on climate as any Democrat can be, given the political realities.
By the way, chanting "F--- Joe Manchi n" in a parking lot is not very effective. Joe Manchin does not seek Sunrise Movement's approval.
Not that the activists have noticed. Maunus beseeched Manchin "to look us in the eyes and tell us that his actions will be responsible for millions more deaths around the world." Oh, honey. I don't think he's going to do that.
Manchin's enormous power stems from the Senate being split 50-50. The left fringe should think about that when it freaks out voters in purple states who could give Democrats more secure majorities. The radicals it endorses win in places that would have voted for Democrats anyway while providing material for Republican attack ads directed elsewhere.
Should Republicans take control of both the House and Senate in the midterms — a distinct possibility — Americans wanting a forceful program to curb climate change may get less than nothing. Politics is not a game for children.