The president came to office claiming that climate change was one of the greatest threats to the world, and poured billions into subsidies and green slush funds. Out of this came a new breed of environmental activists with groups like 350.org, who chain themselves to buildings and call for the immediate end of all fossil fuel use, as well as a new breed of billionaire enthusiasts like Tom Steyer. This crew views even the Sierra Club as a sellout. Mrs. Clinton is left trying to explain her former support for the Keystone XL pipeline, and vowing she’ll never be so rational again.
Mr. Obama came to office on hopes that he’d heal lingering racial divides. Instead his Justice Department accused Republicans of using voter ID laws to “suppress” minorities, and stoked anger over policing tactics. We now have a Black Lives Matter campaign and campus protests that demand apologies and new black hiring quotas. Mr. Sanders includes a standard meditation on police brutality and racial inequality in all his stump speeches.
These movements and activists (who also embrace the gun debate, and the women’s-rights debate, and socialized health-care debate) are now the beating heart of the Democratic Party. And they are rallying around Mr. Sanders. MoveOn.org has endorsed Bernie. The liberal Nation magazine has endorsed him. Bill McKibben, the head of 350.org, has endorsed him. Jodie Evans, the co-founder of the antiwar group Codepink has endorsed him. Celebrity activists like Susan Sarandon and Mark Ruffalo are feeling the Bern.