Elections

Bernie Sanders’ Staffers Bail Out, Hook Up With Billionaire-Backed Green Group

REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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More than a dozen former Bernie Sanders presidential campaign staff members have decided to hook up with a green group funded and founded by mega-wealthy liberal Tom Steyer.

Zack Malitz, who headed-up Sanders’ digital organizing team and is now shifting focus to environmental group NextGen Climate, said he and other former Sanders staffers are bringing with them many of the techniques they used to organize the young vote during the Vermont senator’s campaign.

“Working for Sen. Sanders, I saw the incredible power of young people to reshape American politics and push a broad-based progressive agenda,” Malitz explained. “I’m excited to continue that work.”

Malitz said he does not know how many young people will ultimately vote, but said NextGen will work around-the-clock ushering them to the November ballot.

“We’re going to be trying to make the largest material impact we can on young people,” he said.

Millennials could be the key to the Democratic Party’s presidential hopes, as more people under the age of 30 voted for Sanders than for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump combined, according a new Tufts University study. This same demographic instrumental during President Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential victories.

Steyer, for his part, announced in early June that he is endorsing Clinton for president.

The liberal mega donor’s group also issued a press statement in April announcing a $25 million campaign to encourage young people to support and vote for green energy candidates in the November 2016 election

“We are determined that they will be a difference maker,” Steyer, the billionaire hedge fund manager who began his career at Goldman Sachs in the 1980s, told reporters during a conference call at the time explaining Next Gen’s decision to focus on schools.

NextGen justified its increase in donations by pointing to a 2015 poll showing 73 percent of young voters believe the U.S. should receive 50 percent of its energy from solar panels and windmills, among other renewable sources, by 2030.

“We need to make sure to carry on that momentum until November,” Steyer said in the phone conference about what he sees as the younger generation’s deference toward renewable energy.

NextGen’s collaboration with former Sanders’ staffers is a match made in heaven, as both consider fighting climate change a social and practical imperative.

Sanders made anti-fracking policies a cornerstone of his presidential campaign – writing in an editorial in April that fracking is “a danger to the air we breathe. It has resulted in more earthquakes. It’s highly explosive. And it’s contributing to climate change.” The self-proclaimed Democratic socialist was referencing Environmental Protection Agency studies that show fracking hurts water supplies.

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