So, with only 11 days left until the election, Biden and the other Democrats are doing their job to clean up at exactly the wrong time.
“We’re not going to get rid of fossil fuels,” Biden told reporters after the discussion. “We’re getting rid of subsidies for fossil fuels, but we’re not getting rid of fossil fuels for long.”
President Donald Trump’s campaign spent the day rejoicing at Biden’s remarks, shouting in a call to the media on Friday that she had “put the nail in his coffin” in Pennsylvania. But in a sign of their confidence here in the presidential race, many Democrats in the decisive battlefield country, including those in the fracking country, are largely ignoring it.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a problem,” said Lieutenant-Governor of Pennsylvania, Democrat John Fetterman, who hails from the state’s western side, where fracking has been booming. “I think if you were primarily committed to or operate in the industry, you have already made your decision.”
The two 2020 candidates captured interest in the natural gas industry in Pennsylvania, the country likely to be the turning point of the Electoral College. Trump portrayed his opponent as hostile to fossil fuels, and saw an opportunity to get more votes in his strongholds in the western and northeastern parts of the state where there are many gas wells. Hoping to limit his losses in those areas, or even flip some of them, Biden has usually sought extra caution while talking about cracking and energy.
The Biden campaign meanwhile adopted a liberal green jobs plan large enough to satisfy progressive activists – and he made an effort to voice opposition to the ban on hydraulic fracturing, including during debates and a halt to the campaign in Pittsburgh earlier this year. His team said the country could achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 without eliminating fossil fuels through the use of tools like carbon capture technology.
However, Biden sometimes struggled to explain the details of his climate plan. He distorted his stance on fracking, which the Trump campaign used to make false claims. When asked in the 2019 debate whether there would be a role for coal and fracking in the Biden administration, he said, “No, we will – we’ll work on the problem” before his campaign later made it clear that he did not support the ban.
“It’s totally helping Trump, not only in Pennsylvania, but also in Texas, Ohio and many other major states,” said Charlie Giroux, a Pennsylvania Republican strategist who has worked on the presidential campaigns. “I think even Biden realized he got into it last night. You could see him trying to pull it back.”
Representative Kendra Horne of Oklahoma and Zochitel Torres Small of New Mexico, who represent fossil-fuel regions, quickly distanced themselves from Biden’s comments.
Torres Small said, “I do not agree with VP Biden’s statement tonight” Tweet. “Energy is part of the backbone of the New Mexico economy. We need to work together to promote responsible energy production and stop climate change, not demonize one industry.”
State Senator John Udyshak, a former Democrat who registered as an independent last year in the wake of major Republican party victories over his district in northeastern Pennsylvania, urged Biden to make his comments clearer when he campaigns in Lucerne County, state on Saturday. Yodishak endorsed Biden but repeatedly pushed him to embrace the gas industry.
“The vice president’s comment about ending oil and gas development in the near future definitely harms his chance of shutting down working-class voters in northeastern Pennsylvania and throughout Pennsylvania,” said Yudisak. We cannot exclude construction workers and the construction trade. We need to make sure they don’t feel forgotten. “
Democrats in Pennsylvania have expressed confidence that Biden’s immediate retreat means that the fundamental dynamics of the race will not change. Biden leads Trump in the state by 5 to 6 percentage points and few voters say they are undecided. Democrats believe Biden has already won some fracking supporters on the sidelines, as they had hoped. They also said hydraulic fracturing is not a major issue for suburban women that Trump needs to win.
It might have an impact in some of the rural counties here in southwestern Pennsylvania where Donald Trump would have actually won. “It might turn some voices over there,” said Mike Mikus, a Pittsburgh-based Democratic strategic analyst. “But based on all the surveys I’ve seen statewide, it’s not enough to fill the gap because it’s a very big gap.”
However, Mikos said Biden “was unclear last night when he answered him, which is why he had to treat him before he got on the plane.”
One factor that may complicate Trump’s campaign efforts to focus on Biden’s comments in a manner similar to the traditional Republican campaign in this position is Trump himself. Over the course of the year, Trump jumped from one line of attack on Biden to another, but nothing stopped.
Bobby “Mac” McAuliffe, director of United Steelworkers 10 in Pennsylvania, said that many of the oil and gas workers in the union have already seen their prospects hurt by the drop in fuel demand due to the pandemic.
“USW members in Pennsylvania are very concerned about the economy and whether it will recover after the thousands of Pennsylvania job losses that resulted from the continuing lack of federal leadership,” he said. “Our members have also indicated that their greatest concern is affordable healthcare, which remains front and center in this election between the pandemic still raging and the pressure to eliminate the Reasonable Care Act.
Markets are starting to turn towards dissatisfaction with oil and gas Big companies such as BP are planning to deepen the transition to renewable energy, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average de-listed ExxonMobil in August, and even before the recession caused by the epidemic, banks were avoiding heavy shale drilling operations. In debt, which consistently failed to fulfill its promises. yields. The energy sector, which largely consists of oil and gas companies, was the worst performer on the S&P 500.
If Biden is not influenced by his comments on Thursday, it could be in part because of his branding meanness. In 2016, Trump was seen as more moderate than Hillary Clinton, who was criticized for saying, “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of work.” Polls this year show that voters view Biden as more of a center than Trump.
After the debate, Robert Henan, second vice president of the Pennsylvania-based International Federation of Operating Engineers, said of Biden’s comments, “What the hell is this?”
But Henan said he’s sticking to Biden – and doesn’t think he’s going to lose members of the ranks because of his statements – because “I know he’s not going to harm the workers.”