DES MOINES — In a model caucus Friday evening, Iowans concerned about the climate crisis overwhelmingly cast their votes for Bernie Sanders as the best presidential candidate to lead America through the climate emergency, with the Vermont Senator receiving roughly two-thirds of the vote.
In the final vote tally, Sanders received 67 percent, Hillary Clinton received 12 percent, Martin O’Malley 11 percent, and 10 percent were undecided.
About 200 Iowans attended the model caucus, which took place from 7:00 – 9 p.m. in the auditorium of Central Campus high school.
Representatives from all three of the Democratic campaigns spoke on behalf of their respective candidates. Climate analyst John Davis and Jean Ross, the co-president of National Nurses United, spoke for Sanders.
“Bernie Sanders is the only candidate who has said climate change, the climate crisis, is the major issue of our time, and he is correct,” Ross said.
Tom Harkin, a U.S. Senator from Iowa from 1985 to 2015, urged the caucus-goers to support Hillary Clinton.
“Hillary said that she wants to make combatting climate change and accelerating the transition to clean energy one of her top priorities,” Harkin said. “I tell you, friends, she is committed to this and she knows how to get these things done.”
Martin O’Malley’s sister, Bridget Hunter, spoke on his behalf.
Other speakers included Jane Kleeb, the Nebraska activist who fired up the national effort to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline and was subsequently dubbed the “Keystone Killer” by Rolling Stone, and Ed Fallon, a former Iowa lawmaker and progressive talk-show host.
Organized by the national grassroots group The Climate Mobilization, the Climate Emergency Caucus is the strongest intervention into presidential politics yet made by America’s nascent “Climate Emergency Movement,” which calls for WWII-scale emergency action to save civilization from catastrophic climate change and ecological decline.
Fallon and other Iowans have asked all of the Democratic and most of the Republican candidates to sign the Climate Mobilization’s Pledge to Mobilize, which calls for a full-employment, WWII-scale mobilization to drive the U.S. economy to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 and restore a safe climate for humanity. So far, none of the candidates have signed the Pledge, committed to a net zero emissions economy across all sectors — a scientific imperative — or called for an emergency, WWII-scale mobilization to overhaul America’s energy, transport, and agricultural systems in years, not decades.
Davis, a volunteer for Sanders, told the crowd he would urge Sanders to sign the Pledge over the weekend.
“I will be contacting headquarters and making a very strenuous recommendation that Bernie Sanders become the first presidential candidate to take the Pledge,” Davis said.
On Nov. 5, State Sen. Rob Hogg, State Rep. Dan Kelley, and Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie signed the Pledge to Mobilize at the Des Moines Federal Building and called for a WWII-scale climate mobilization. Other Iowa elected leaders who have recently signed the Pledge include State Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad, State Rep. Marti Anderson, State Rep. Ruth Anne Gaines, State Rep. Mary Mascher, Johnson County Supervisor Mike Carberry, Iowa City Mayor Pro Temp Susan Mims, and Des Moines City Councilman Skip Moore.
The Climate Emergency Caucus received a good deal of press attention including:
Daphne Wysham: ‘He won’t be bought by the fossil fuel lobby’
Bernie Sanders recognizes climate change as the “single greatest threat to our planet”. That is why the “climate emergency caucus” in Iowa overwhelmingly voted to support Bernie Sanders, by 67%. His independence from corporate interests allows him to tackle other pressing issue of our time, like income inequality and taking on the 1% who profited from the bank bailouts. His courage, integrity and clarity of vision on critical issues like these make him a compelling candidate. [...]
The Pentagon has called climate change a “threat multiplier” for terrorism and everyone from the president to the Pope to the scientific community has called it a global emergency.
EnviroNews, Bernie Sanders Blows Away The Field in Iowa ‘Climate Emergency Caucus’
At a model caucus event, aptly named “Climate Emergency Caucus,” held Friday... Bernie Sanders not only won — he flat out smoked the competition — leaving both Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley in the dust. [...]
Salamon said The Climate Mobilization has succeeded in getting several state politicians and candidates to sign the pledge, but that they are yet to have a presidential candidate make the commitment. However, climate analyst John Davis, who was also advocating for Bernie Sanders at the gathering, said he would be “making a very strenuous recommendation that Bernie Sanders becomes the first Democratic candidate to take the pledge.”
Des Moines Register, Sanders a favorite at climate change rally