Republicans scoffed when Bernie Sanders said in a debate that climate change was the biggest threat to America’s national security. But of course, that didn’t deter the Vermont senator from keeping climate change a key portion of his laser-focused stump speech.
With “People Before Polluters,” the Sanders campaign doesn’t try to criticize the “nonbelievers.” Instead, the ad is trying to draw a distinct contrast between his stance and his primary rival’s, Hillary Clinton.
Of course, with Sanders sticking to his word of never issuing an attack ad, the narrator doesn’t mention Clinton by name. But an email to supporters released in tandem with the ad specifically called out Clinton for her past support for fracking and tied it back to her donations from Wall Street.
Big Oil: Second Only to Wall Street on Bernie’s Hit List
“People Before Polluters” works on two fronts – attacking Big Oil for contributing to climate change and highlighting his environmental policy positions.
The ad opens with shots of Sanders speaking at a Keep it in the Ground rally. A deep-voiced narrator proclaims that Sanders has “the courage to stand up to Big Oil – because he won’t take their money” – the first subtle swipe at Hillary Clinton.
An email from the Sanders campaign did directly call out Clinton on this issue saying she “left the campaign trail for a high-dollar fundraiser at a hedge fund” that was also a “major investor in fracking.”
Secondly, the ad addresses Sanders’s commitment to fight climate change, and his opposition to fracking and the Keystone XL pipeline. We see a yard full of stacked, rusty, unused pipes as the narrator touts that Sanders’s position has “never waffled.” Another subtle hit against Clinton.
Can Bernie Out-Left Hillary on Climate?
By moderate standards, Clinton and Sanders have largely the same outlook on climate change (and if you are a Democratic voter, you’re probably happy they at least can agree on its existence).
As voters head to the polls today for Super Tuesday, Clinton is expected to sweep most of the primaries today. But any wedge issue Sanders can use to run to the left of Clinton will at least be popular with his base.